garden update


I am not sure why, but I have simply not been compelled to write a garden update this year. It's real lunacy given how much I depend on them when I'm garden planning each winter.

Honestly, I think I've been waiting for some real bad weather or frankly a reason to sit in front of my computer for an hour... but neither has happened. That being said, if you want to know about the storage box options for my office shelves... I've got you covered. I researched the heck out of that.

The garden this year has been successful, more so than I anticipated... and as a result I'm consistently behind in my pruning and harvesting. I am also a real big fan of several of the new varieties that I planted this year.

  • Blush - first to ripen! Incredibly productive plant. Like I have so many ripe tomatoes and no idea what to do with them. If they were red, I would just make a whole bunch of sauce.... But yellow sauce? I'm not sure about that.
  • Tomatoberry - 2nd to ripen! Holy heck is this also thriving... in spite of all the care I do not give it. This plant is in the back row of my garden so I never make it all the way there for pruning before having to start over the next week. Love the shape of this babe.
  • Chocolate Pear - 3rd to ripen! Very cute... and also productive. 
  • 4th of July - always a favorite! The fruit size is perfect. This will always be in my garden.
  • Red Currant - This plant is going bonkers. I had no idea how well it was going to do. It always seemed so tiny and weak... but sweet lord, I have so many teeny tiny tomatoes. They are really cute. I would highly recommend this plant each year cause its fun.... Just try harder to control it :-)
  • Black Truffle - I'm eagerly awaiting this one to ripen. The fruits just started to turn in the last couple days... so I'm getting close. It is always my favorite tomato plant. So much flavor and not the rough look of a traditional heirloom.
  • Tangerine Mama - These babes are big. Like, real sizeable fruits. I picked one a couple weeks ago for a lady dinner that I had. In hindsight, it wasn't quite ripe... because now they have this incredibly rich looking orange yellow color. It worked in the salad but wasn't the "best" for a caprese salad.
  • Big Rainbow - This was a real mixed bag last year. I think I only got ONE tomato... and this year is shaping up to be a minor improvement over that. I've got a big one that is ready to be harvested so maybe I'll get one more after that. It's such a shame because this is such a GORGEOUS sliced tomato. It is one of the most beautiful ever.

Others that I have no report on right now:
Pink Berkeley
Mr. Stripey
Tasmanian Chocolate

Ok, the rest of the veggie garden updates:

  • Snap peas. I fought the good fight with the bunnies earlier in the season. After fencing off most of the garden, the peas came back to life. I only got a couple weeks out of them.
  • Eggplant. This is incredibly productive... but I can't seem to give it away. Nobody wants baby eggplants.
  • Green Egg Squash. So far so good. I think covering the entire garden in weed fabric has helped to keep the pests at bay. Squash will keep for several months so I'm slowly building a stash that I can eat in November. Win.
  • Delicata Squash. This was a late add to the garden from my aunt. Several blossoms but no squash yet. 
  • Peppers. They were majorly struggling when I had them planted in the garden. I think in late June / early July I moved them into pots and moved the delicata squash into the garden. They aren't as productive as my dad's peppers but they are doing better.
  • Kale. Solid so far. I've had a few bugs on them so some leaves have been eaten up by that. I should be better about freezing this for the winter. 
Next steps? I'm going to try and can some sauce in the next couple days and perhaps freeze some kale. I also have a lot of eggplant and it would be great to find a home for some of that. Maybe I need to make my first ever batch of eggplant parm? Maybe.

blueberry walnut mini pie


This is the story of a last minute dessert. A dessert with the best of intentions that went from idea .... to failure... to success. Dare I say, an even better success than it would have been it everything had worked out.

I invited my friend Ann over on Saturday for dinner. I lured her over with the promise of fresh buratta and garden tomatoes. Since that did not feel like enough of a meal, I wanted to "whip up" a dessert real quick. Although I have a healthy stash of ice cream sandwiches in the freezer, I kind of wanted to show Ann a good time. Not a "do you want mint chip or funfetti frozen yogurt ice cream bar?" time.

I've made galettes several times before and they've been incredibly easy. The first time I made one, I also made my own ice cream. The most "complicated" part is making a pie dough but if that stresses you out, you can just buy a pre-made crust. But when I was grabbing some last minute prosciutto at the store, I didn't think it was necessary to grab an emergency pie crust. Silly me.

So what happened? I think the dough just didn't get enough time to set in the fridge. As soon as I started to roll it out it was too soft and started to break apart. I quickly pivoted and grabbed my ramekins and made mini pies. They came out so great. 

A few things:
  • This dough is next level delicious. The combination of cinnamon and walnuts with blueberries is amazing.
  • Make sure you top the crust with ample sugar. This isn't the place to cut back in life. You are already eating pie.
  • You are nuts if you serve this without ice cream or whip cream. It is borderline required. I grabbed some cool whip to keep life easy. 
Here's how it goes.
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10–15 minutes; let cool. Pulse nuts in a food processor until the consistency of coarse meal. 
  2. Add flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon and pulse just to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces remaining.
  3. With the food processor running, drizzle up to 4 Tbsp. ice water and mix, adding another tablespoonful of water if needed, just until mixture comes together. 
  4. Gently pat dough into a 6"-diameter disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.
  5. NOTE: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 1 month.
Filling and Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Toss blueberries, cornstarch, lemon juice, and ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured to just about a 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick.
  3. Depending on your interest in precision, you can either cut a circle of dough for your ramekin or just piece it together with your hands. Either way, grease your ramekins and then fill the bottom of your ramekins with dough. 
  4. Cook ramekins in the oven for about 15 minutes until the dough begins to puff up a bit. 
  5. Fill each ramekin with the blueberry mixture and then top with more of the dough. 
  6. Brush dough with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
  7. Bake until crust is dark golden brown and filling is bubbling, 40–50 minutes. Let cool before serving.
  8. NOTE: Mini pies can be baked 1 day ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
Shopping List
½ cup walnuts
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into pieces

Filling12 ounces blueberries (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
All-purpose flour (for surface)
2 tablespoons milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream
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