It has been another great bird week in the garden. There is a large hawk who has been on rodent control early in the morning, a flock of geese visiting in the meadow and an assortment of sparrows enjoying the sunflower seeds.
One of my favorite Jim Harrison poems is called “Counting Birds” in which he confesses that he has been counting birds since he was a child. Here is the ending:
“On my death bed I’ll write this secret
Number on a slip of paper and pass
It to my wife and two daughters.
It will be a hot evening in late June
And they might be glancing out the window
At the thunderstorm’s approach from the west.
Looking past their eyes and a dead fly
On the window screen I’ll wonder
If there’s a bird waiting for me in the onrushing clouds.
O birds, I’ll sing to myself, you’ve carried
Me along on this bloody voyage,
Carry me now into that cloud,
Into the marvel of this final night.”
–From The Theory and Practice of Rivers (Clark City Press)
One of summer’s highlights is fresh watermelon. However, the watermelon found in stores are often not as ripe or sweet as homegrown watermelon. Melons sold in grocery stores are often harvested on the early side, well before they reach their peak maturity. This early picking diminishes their sugar content as well as nutritional value. I hope the melons that you are receiveing in your share are bursting with flavor.
What to expect to find in your bin this week:
and in the buckets:
Here are a couple of pictures of some garden helpers picking zucchini.
Tomato and Watermelon SaladSAM SIFTON YIELD 6 to 8 servings TIME 15 minutes
4 to 6 large tomatoes, ideally heirloom varieties, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
1 small seedless watermelon, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup feta cheese, torn into large crumbles
Combine the cubed tomatoes and watermelon in a large, nonreactive bowl and toss gently to combine. Add salt and let stand 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare the dressing.
Whisk together the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the cheese to the tomatoes and watermelon, then the dressing, and toss gently to combine.
Broccoli PestoMARTHA ROSE SHULMAN YIELD1 1/4 cups TIME 20 minutes
½ pound broccoli florets
2 garlic cloves, peeled, green shoots removed
1 cup basil leaves, tightly packed
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 ½ to 2 ounces (1/3 to 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan, or a mixture of pecorino Romano and Parmesan, to taste
Steam the broccoli for 6 minutes, until very tender but still bright. Remove from the heat, rinse and drain on paper towels.
Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop in the garlic. When the garlic is minced and adhering to the sides of the bowl, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the broccoli and the basil to the machine and turn on. When contents are finely chopped, stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn on the machine again and drizzle in the olive oil. Purée until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste and the grated cheese, and process until well blended.
Transfer to a bowl and serve as a dip, spread or sauce with pasta. If serving with pasta, this amount will be plenty for a pound of pasta. Thin out with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water before tossing with the pasta.