It’s October, and the bulk of the vegetable garden is finished for the season. Of course, our herbs are still going strong on the deck, and we’re still pulling out ripened tomatoes, but the soil beds are now empty. For our first year, we didn’t do too badly. Here’s a recap.
Although last winter wasn’t particularly cold, it was really long – snow persisted through March, and this meant that nothing happened in the garden until early April, when I built the raised bed. Emily’s mom Diane had given us a gift certificate from White Flower Farm, so we ordered potatoes, leeks, zucchini, cucumber, garlic, shallots, and a selection of herbs. I also picked up some carrot seeds from the supermarket. The farm sent us plants when they were ready, so from early April I planted each set of vegetables as they arrived.
The garlic and shallots were apparently doing very well, until we returned from our three-week trip to the UK and found them rotted. Our theory is that they got too wet. I do want to try again with both of these, since we use them all the time in cooking. Garlic can certainly be planted in fall for an earlier harvest, so I’ll get the raised bed ready to plant again probably around late October. We picked up a few bulbs of hardneck garlic some weekends back from the Cold Spring farmers’ market; I’ll try diverting these cloves from the kitchen table to the garden bed in a few weeks. (What’s funny is, some of the “failed” garlic I abandoned in June is now re-sprouting there. I don’t know if it will yield anything, though.)
For me, lamb is definitely hit or miss. I either really enjoy it or really, really, really don’t. There is very little middle ground. If it’s too gamey, I don’t like it. Overcooked, blech. Undercooked, even worse! Needless to say, I’ve made some expensive lamb mistakes.
What I’ve realized though, is that ground lamb is not only much less expensive than other options, but it’s also a lot easier to handle. Matt loves lamb chops, so I’ll make them once in a while on a special occasion, but lamb burgers are a much more affordable indulgence.
I used to make lamb burgers with more of a North African flavor thing going on (lots of spices like cumin, cinnamon and paprika) but the way I like them best is more Mediterranean. Lots or herbs, like rosemary and mint. Very lemony.
To be honest though, the star is this Feta-Yogurt Sauce that is so simple to make, but so good. I always make extra so we can have it on grilled vegetables (it’s killer with roasted eggplant). We’ve used it as a dip with pita chips or sliced cucumbers. This recipe makes about 2 cups, which is enough to top 4 burgers with maybe a little extra. If you happen to have a tater-tot on hand that accidentally falls into a bit of this sauce, you’re in for a treat.
***WARNING*** This will be your dog’s face as you eat this burger. Do not give her any (because burger is too good and onions and garlic are poisonous to pups!) She MAY have captured a tater-tot though.
Maybe it’s just me, but for years I was completely intimidated by the idea of poaching eggs. I could make them pretty much any other way but poaching… um, no. I attempted it a few times and ended up with watery egg drop soup. Gag.
The thing is, I really like poached eggs and I didn’t want to have go out for brunch every time I craved them. So I read a bunch of cookbooks (this was pre-internet, you iPhone babies), practiced a few techniques and now… perfect poached eggs, every time.
I’m telling you, it’s easy peasy as long as you do a few things. One, don’t use boiling, bubbling water. A gentle simmer is the way to go here. Two, crack each egg into a little cup or ramekin first. Makes it so much easier to plop in the water. Three, swirl. I’ll explain that one later.
What you’ll need:
A deep, wide skillet (something like this)
Ramekins or little cups for your eggs
A wooden spoon
A slotted spoon