Monday, August 19, 2013

Endlessly Eating

Blackberries at Last
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Blackberries in Coffee Yogurt with Coffee (Redundant)
Woodchopper's Blackberry Jam
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Prepping Zucchini Boats
Asian Hamburger Stir Fry Stuffing
Four Boats, Enough to Feed the Navy
Frozen Blackberries in Prosecco
My hands smell like Berry Kix. It's that berry-so-sweet smell that overwhelms commercialized products from cereal to hand-soap. Only, my hands are saturated with the real deal; I'm picking blackberries.

It's the season of endlessly eating, when berries bloom on brambles, peas appear overnight and cucumbers replace cucumbers. Twice now I've picked a monster zucchini as if my plants are sneaking steroids. In the beginning, I said I was farming dirt. Well, I'm eating what that dirt unleashed.

Peas while I water, cucumbers with coffee to clean morning breath and blackberries in my Brown Cow "cream-top" yogurt. Today I picked my first tomato, one of the Russian heirlooms. It became breakfast, too.

I'm saving cucumbers to make another batch of pickles or maybe I'll just make cucumber dip with cream cheese and dill. That's the beauty of food flowing from the garden--so many possibilities. The fate of the berries, however, are predestined to freezer jam.

Grendel stays by my side as I glean; brambles stabbing my t-shirt and tearing at my finger tips. I feed him an over-ripe berry and he lolls it around his mouth, chewing lightly. He swallows and looks at me for another. Any spent berry becomes Grendel's treat. His sister, Bobo is pointing at grasshoppers and not interested in the picking. Setting down the bucket, Grendel dives muzzle first and I have to wrangle it away from his gobbling maw. He never liked raspberries, but blackberries he adores.

Unlike the prolific raspberries, the blackberries are slow and few. I learn to look for the dark ones that seem to have fatter bulbs as they slide off easier into my hands. By the time I've picked through all the brambles, I have just enough for a single batch of jam. I toss a few into a flute glass and set it aside in the freezer for later. The Jam I call, "Woodchopper's" because I will use it to gift my son-in-law who helped us chop winter wood last year, and perhaps the jam will encourage more chopping this year.

Digging through recipes I decide to bake a chocolate zucchini cake and make stuffed zucchini for dinner. The recipe I have is heavy on the Italian flavor--tomato sauce, oregano and Parmesan cheese. I don't feel like Italian; I'm craving Asian flavors. I have a recipe for an Asian hamburger casserole and decide to make up my own "Asian Zucchini Boats."

First I prepare some rice with garlic, about a cup's yield. Next I make a stir-fry with hamburger, sliced baby bella mushrooms, celery, red onion and the insides of the big zucchini and crook-neck that I just harvested today. For seasoning I add equal parts soy sauce to rice vinegar and sprinkle the mix liberally with French tarragon. I only have four "boats" to stuff with my mixture but they are so big as to fill a cookie sheet and weigh five pounds. When Todd is closer to home, commuting back from work in Moses Lake, I'll bake the boats at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. A complete meal.

In the meantime, I have run my route of watering the garden, roses, berries and weedy-grass that we mow into lawn. Time to retrieve my flute with the now frozen blackberries and add Prosecco, a sparkling Italian wine. And, I'll nibble some more cucumber slices.

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