Monday, September 13, 2010

Midnight Beauty Seedless Black Grape

Midnight Beauty table grapes

I saw these in the supermarket the other day and only bought them because they were advertised as being 30% off (1.38€ for half kilo). I like grapes, they are great with a platter of italian cheeses and nuts, but as an everyday snack, grapes are not my favorite fruit. Midnight Beauty changed all that as they are the sweetest black grapes that I have ever tasted anywhere, and they don't have seeds!

Midnight Beauty table grapes

I found out that these were developed by the agri-business company Sun World under registered trademark which means that growing them in my garden will never happen. No seeds, no seedling, and being a hybrid guarantees that I wouldn't get the same plant anyway.

Midnight Beauty table grape

Friday, September 10, 2010

There must've been a partridge in my pear tree

Nashi pear-ling

...and it took a couple of bites out of the fruit.

Nashi pear halves

It's been 3 years since we planted the nashi pear tree but this is the first year where fruit, just 2 of them, has successfully managed to hang on and ripen. The tree stands at 3 feet tall - a little too small and still a lot too immature as I can't imagine how the branches could even support a normal-sized fruit. The texture was like a cross between crisp apple with pronounced graininess, but the flavor...it was amazingly sweet and was so intense that it tasted like apples, pears and roses all into one. Even at such a petite size, the pears were incredibly juicy.

Mornings have been a cool 14-16°C and warms up to a mild 23°C by late afternoon. I'm still picking about 5 pounds of tomatoes and a pound of beans each week. So far, 35.5 kilos/78+ pounds of tomatoes harvested. The green tomatillo plants have finally slowed down and I'll be freezing them for future use.

September harvest

Average daytime temperature: 23°C / 73°F

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A totally vegan lunch

This idea of an entirely vegan meal came to mind when my cousin introduced me to homemade vegan hotdogs. Hotdogs that aren't made with meat? Are you kidding me? That's when I learned a bit more about wheat gluten, and how you can turn it into tasty faux-dogs with just the right amount of seasoning and spices. Who would've thought it possible? I'm glad she had extras to give us. The rest of the dishes were put together from our garden harvest. Beets, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes. I have to be honest that everything tasted GREAT, but for us, nothing bests a generous platter of italian cured meats. Put it this way...red wine tastes much better with salame and cheese!

Quest'idea di un pasto interamente "vegan" mi è venuta in mente quando mia cugina mi ha iniziato all'hot dog vegan fatto in casa. Hot dog che non sono fatti con la carne? Stiamo scherzando? In quel momento ho imparato qualcosa in più sul glutine del grano, e come si può trasformarlo in gustosi faux-hot dogs con la giusta quantità di condimento e spezie. Chi l'avrebbe mai creduto possibile? Sono contenta che lei ne aveva di extra da darci. Il resto dei piatti venivano dal nostro orto. Barbabietole, fagioli, cetrioli, pomodori. Devo essere sincera: era tutto gustoso, ma per noi, e' sempre meglio un bel tagliere pieno di salumi italiani. Mettiamola così...il sapore di vino rosso va molto meglio con salame e formaggio!

Beets, beans and cukes
Roasted beets from the garden is truly a taste sensation.

Vegan hotdog
Like my cousin told us...it's what you put on top that makes hotdogs taste great.

Tomato tasting trio
Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tomatoes every day.

Affettati for lunch
Italian affettati no ka oi!