Recipes, recipes, recipes

Hopefully the last of the snow


It is bright and a mere 30 degrees this morning, a good sign. Yet there’s still plenty of snow on the ground in my garden.

There are days when I think that gardening is like cooking is like painting.  My husband gets upset when I grind pigments with the kitchen mortar and pestle and when I borrow the double boiler to cook glue. This morning I am mixing potting soil with water in his pasta cooking pot. But don’t tell.

This is because of the time I ruined his favorite enamel pot when I decided to make charcoal following a 15th century recipe from Cennino Cennini. Fill the pot with straight, quarter inch width twigs of willow, wrapped in little bundles with a wire; seal the pot (lute it) with clay; and place it in the embers of a fire, with more embers piled on top. Cook slowly over night. Well, the pot was destroyed, but I got some fine drawing charcoals!

We’ve been happily married for twenty five years. Poor man,  I use the kitchen for almost everything creative I do.  Most of the time the materials aren’t toxic.

Transplanting and planting

I am transplanting the exuberant Bok Choi, which begs to go outside under a tunnel. Not yet. Recipes, recipes, recipes. “Mix six cups of water with nine quarts of soil.” I  estimate – how many quarts of soil in a pasta pot and how much water?  Out come the measuring cups, the spatula, and a tiny silver spoon that used to belong to John’s grandmother. It is the just right size for spooning in potting soil around the seedlings I have pricked out, their delicate roots dangling for a second. Will this work? I finish the bok choi seedlings, all twenty of them, and then go ahead and plant some leek seeds with the silver spoon for good measure.


I order a few more seeds over the computer. There are never enough, and these are seeds for things I have never grown, that Barbara loves to grow: Fava Beans, Lemon Grass, and Epazote.  I am hoping to expand my cooking palate. Just like she expanded mine earlier this spring with the bok choi.

My friend Vint writes from Connecticut; he is going to share some tomato seeds with me: one variety came from tomatoes in a friend’s patch in Germany, and the other variety came from a friend’s mother’s garden in Italy.  I call my friends Margy and Jordan.

First Snowdrops

We’re planning our communal raspberry patch over supper this evening. Not only that, they are going to order chicks and one turkey for me: they have offered to share their henhouse. Perhaps I’ll name the turkey “Snowdrop”. We’ll eat the turkey for Christmas.

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4 Responses to Recipes, recipes, recipes

  1. Barbara says:

    I can just imagine John’s face when he took a look at your charcoal-making adventure! Aiyiyi–I would have a hard time with you in my kitchen, too, if you were putting paints in my pots and pans! Soil is okay. Pigments? Are you trying to grow purple snowdrops? Orange bok choi?

    I look forward to seeing how you like growing favas, lemongrass and epazote. I can’t imagine my garden without them. Next you’ll have to try za’atar! Bu perhaps you will get so carried away by your berries and poultry that you won’t be able to return to the vegetable and herb gang in the wee raised beds…

    • Kate says:

      Usually what I do — in terms of paint related activities — in the kitchen is NOT toxic….. and mixes with water and soap…. Poor, poor John

  2. farfalle1 says:

    What fun to be transplanting your seedlings. And what fun to be trying new and, to us, exotic plants. We picked up some lemon-grass at a local Asian market recently for a recipe L wanted to do – why it’s not grass at all! It’s twiggy!! Speaking of which, too bad John lost an enamel pot to your charcoal endeavor – but it’s all for a good cause. L recently told me about cooking a pig the same way – in a special pot, on charcoal, cover with dirt, leave over night. He had charcoal the next day too – but that had not been his intent.

    • Kate says:

      I figured Louis would have had some similar adventures…. though I haven’t ever made a drawing with his kind of charcoal! We were expecting a Nor’easter today but I am happy to say it has not materialized. Tomorrow John and I will go ahead with our original plan: to build two tunnels to go over two of our raised beds. Then we can get some plants into the ground earlier than ever. Barbara does this in many of her beds. You should check out her website: OPENVIEW GARDENS.COM Not only that, she has amazing recipes for lemongrass.

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