Kitchen Garden

  • Soupe au pistou is a garden in a bowl

    Soupe au pistou is a garden in a bowl

    In summer so many vegetables beckon from the garden it’s hard to choose, so I make soupe au pistou. Every country has its multiple-vegetable soup. In Italy you’d make minestrone. What makes this French Provencal one a treat is the last-minute addition of basil, garlic and olive oil, pounded into a paste in a mortar.

  • Ancient tool takes different forms for the job at hand

    Ancient tool takes different forms for the job at hand

    “The man who joyfully cleaves his ancestral fields with the hoe … will never be persuaded … to cleave the sea,” wrote the Roman poet Horace in his First Ode. During Horace’s time, the first century BC, forged iron hoes were numerous and varied, from heavy, mattock-like tools to the more slender sarculum, which had

  • Growing your own artichokes

    Growing your own artichokes

    The artichoke is a formidable vegetable. Armed like a cactus, the spiny globe is as much a challenge as a temptation. You must peel away many sharply pointed scales to reach what Pablo Neruda called “the peaceable dough of its green heart.” But the reward is great. The heart is silky-tender when steamed or boiled,

  • Let vegetables speak for themselves

    Let vegetables speak for themselves

    Gardeners and cooks make excellent bedfellows. Likewise, farmers and chefs, judging from the number of restaurant menus that honor the producers of their vegetables, meats and cheeses. An affectation? A fad? I think not. It reflects a passionate interest in how food comes into being. Farmers, in turn, love to see what chefs do with

  • Preserving tomatoes to enjoy all year

    If I had the self-discipline of a Zen Master, I could walk out to the garden on a late summer day, pick the most perfect tomato for lunch, then make compost out of all the others too numerous to consume. At heart, I believe in living from moment to moment in the garden, eating only,

  • Stop the rot: avoid sordid messes in fridge

    When you pick a fruit or vegetable, it is still a living, breathing thing. It respires, taking oxygen from the air and releasing carbon dioxide. But it can’t live indefinitely. A peach, lettuce or bean, once cut, can no longer make food by means of photosynthesis, and begins to draw down its stored reserves. It

  • Sifted compost ultimate luxury

    If compost is the Holy Grail of organic gardening, what’s the holier than thou? Sifted compost. What you want in making perfect mature compost is, of course, organic matter so fully broken down that the original ingredients — whether straw, weeds, kitchen scraps or goat droppings — are no longer recognizable. Finished compost looks like