Thursday, August 17, 2006

I cannot paint, I cannot play the piano, but there are two things I do to express myself. I write and I cook.

I love to cook, I am at my most relaxed, creative, happy and engaged when I am cooking.

This summer I wanted to cook with the freshest possible vegetables and herbs. So I cleared a patch of land, about 200 square feet, in my parent's suburban New jersey home and I planted a garden. I made my weekly pilgrimage from Manhattan to not only see my parents, but to weed, fertilize, water and cajole my garden to life.

In doing so I found a new love. The sun on my neck, the diry in between my fingers, the smell of the growing plants, bliss.

The bounty has been overflowing the last three weeks. I have harvested eggplant, squash, red and green bell peppers, tomatoes, chili peppers, jalapenos, mint, oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley.

I have made magnificent eggplant parmesan, fried zucchini, tomato and onion salads, home made nachos using my own chili peppers, jalapenos and tomatoes. I have served the bell peppers in a garlic dressing along side my roast chicken topped with goat cheese and oregano. All in all I have cooked about 10 meals with the food I have grown.

The freshness can't be beat. From the vine to the plate. No artificial coloring to make it look better, no pesticides, no human hands, no travel. Just vegetable and herb heaven. I learned a lot about growing this year and plan to expand my enterprise next year.

In the mean time I have at least 3-4 more weeks of harvest to enjoy before I head back to the supermarket.