Category Archives: Gardening the hard way

Potato and Green Bean Salad with Smoked Trout

This afternoon I harvested the first green beans from the garden. Just the thing to add to the potato salad a planned to make for dinner with new potatoes I picked up from the CSA on Saturday. As I stood there watering the garden I decided it was time to finally open the can of smoked trout I bought at Trader Joe’s a few months ago and didn’t know what to do with. Next time you go to Trader Joe’s pick up a few cans of smoked trout. Then you can make this delicious (if not very photogenic) salad, which is the perfect thing to eat for dinner on a 90 degree day.

Boil some halved or quartered new potatoes. I was surprised to find that mine were bright pink all the way through. During the last minute or so of cooking throw in a handful or two of green beans.

While the potatoes are cooking make a little vinaigrette with some white wine vinegar, grainy mustard, olive oil and salt and pepper. And maybe a little squeeze of lemon.

When the potatoes are tender but not mushy and the green beans are bright green but still a little crunchy drain them and run them under cold water for a minute or two. Toss the potatoes and beans with the vinaigrette and put them in the fridge for a little while to cool off a bit.

Meanwhile, finely chop a handful of chives and parsley and little lemon zest. When the potatoes have cooled down to more or less room temperature, drain a can of smoked trout and add it to the salad. Sprinkle the chopped herbs and zest over the top.


In the Garden

One very cold Saturday morning back in March I stood outside in a long line to sign up for a community garden plot. In exchange for about twenty bucks and two hours of community service you get a 20 x 20 foot plot in which to grow whatever you want, and many friendly neighbors who will offer you extra seedlings they don’t have room for, water your garden when you go on vacation, and tell you how nicely your peas are coming along. Not a bad deal. Continue reading


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Meg and Paul have turned a small strip of dirt along side their driveway and planter on wheels into an impressive vegetable garden. The rolling bed lives in the driveway, and can be moved to allow the car to come and go from the garage, making the most of the only sunny patch of their yard. After seeing their thriving summer squash plants two weeks ago, I sent them a link this roundup of squash blossom recipes. Continue reading

A fig tree grows in Brooklyn

Here I am. Sorry for the prolonged absence. Two weeks ago I moved into a new apartment. The cookbooks are still in a box but I unpacked the last of the pots and pans today. This new place has it’s flaws, not least of which is the wood paneling in the kitchen, but it also has it’s charms. There’s a big old porcelain double sink in the kitchen and a claw foot tub in the bathroom. And there’s a food co-op a couple blocks away and a farmers market just down the street on Sundays. I think I love co-op bulk bins even more than I love farmers markets.

Anyway, back to the apartment. When I came by the place to sign my lease in September, the landlady took me around to the back of the house to show me where the trash cans are. Then she told me she needed to show me one more thing. The fig tree. She made sure I knew how to recognize a ripe fig and insisted that I help myself. Well I nearly died.  Growing up I never knew anyone who had a fruit tree. I don’t think I even realized that one could have a fruit tree. I fairly recently became aware of this phenomenon of the backyard fruit tree and I’ve been preoccupied with the notion of having one ever since. Living in an apartment building with not a patch of dirt anywhere in sight, it seemed like an unattainable dream. Continue reading