September 26, 2004

Fall Garden

Before we left on vacation, we were sure to put in our fall garden. We'll be watching the radishes, lettuces, arugula, mixed greens, and beets mature as our tomatoes and peppers wane. Thankfully, we'll be harvesting from our winter garden through December, ensuring colorful and healthy salads in the coming months.

Posted by david at 10:27 PM | Comments (1)

September 25, 2004

Food In Austin

We just got back from Austin, TX where we traveled for the Austin City Limits music festival. Whenever we're dining in an unfamiliar town, eating is always an adventure. We tend to use my parents' on-the-road restaurant guide-- if it's crowded, then our chances of finding decent food is better.

This leads me to a funny story. Using this theory in one of their many excursions around the country, my parents pulled off the road in the middle of one afternoon and booked a room at a motel with a restaurant attached. Mom was excited to see that the parking lot to the eatery was packed and, therefore, was really looking forward to dinner. Unfortunately, they discovered the restaurant had been closed for some time and was actually a used car lot. No plan is fool-proof.

We were lucky in Austin this trip. We managed to eat at several good restaurants, tex-mex eateries topping the list. First on the venue was El Sol E La Luna, a little family owned eatery with live music and highly recommended mole sauces. We don't have a good noodle house in our area, so in downtown Austin we were delighted to discover Noodle-ism. The tex-mex just got better, when up the street from the first place we found Guero's Taco Bar. Their vegetable-seasoned chicken made their enchiladas special and their guacamole was very fresh-tasting.

Posted by linda at 04:31 PM | Comments (2)

September 06, 2004

Salads From The Lawn and Garden

At our house, a salad is never a lonely section of iceberg lettuce. Our garden offers greens of several varieties, from arugula (aka rocket, as I've heard it called in the south), mixed lettuces, and herbs. Added to the greens (and also from our garden) are a seasonal combination of: green onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, several varieties of pepper, carrots, beets and radishes (I'm sure I'm forgetting something...). These make up a standard salad for us.

To keep things interesting, we often add avocado (I wish we had a Haas avocado tree), some grilled chicken, boiled eggs, or anything leftover in the refrigerator. My wife has even been known to collect young dandelion leaves and put them in the salad. A unique addition to our summer salads is nasturtium leaves and flowers. This edible plant adds a peppery bite (not unlike arugula, and its showy flowers look as good as they taste.

Summer salads are a staple for us. Relatively quick to prepare, they make us feel like we are doing a great thing for ourselves by eating a healthy meal of food we've largely grown ourselves.

Posted by david at 10:38 PM | Comments (2)

September 02, 2004

My Father's Vegetable Garden

All this talk about fresh fruit farms and vegetable gardens makes me think back about the garden of my childhood. My father grew up farming and picking cotton in South Carolina. His time in Japan during WWII influenced his plant choices in our suburban garden.

His true passion was his vegetable garden. It started out modestly enough, but expanded every year as he experimented beyond tomatoes and peppers. By the time I was in high school, the entire side yard (which was quite expansive) had been usurped in pursuit of vegetables.

Along with the outward expansion of the garden came an upward expansion consisting of pea vines, bean poles and corn stalks. Every evening after work, my father would disappear behind these layered curtains of foliage and it was my job to hunt him down for dinner. The day I caught him grazing freely in among the beans and peas, I realized why we never had a decent enough harvest of these to accompany our meat and potatoes.

Today, I have a better appreciation for the green tranquility of his creation. Nothing replaces the satisfaction of fresh produce grown in my own garden. It reinforces my belief that consuming the freshest food possible not only supports our health but feeds the soul and buoys the spirit.

Posted by linda at 08:59 PM | Comments (1)