Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Super fresh summer: the simplicity and joy of tomatoes and basil

In the depths of February, or March, I sometimes find myself daydreaming of specific pinpoints of summer....the sensation of a warm breeze on a bare arm, flip flops, simply being outside all of the time....but always on this list are warm weather flavors, especially tomatoes and basil.

This year we are having the most success growing basil than ever before. In the past, we've failed miserably at it, with basil limping along and not growing much or quickly going to flower. This year? I waited until mid July to plant basil starts, and once they went into that whiskey barrel, off they went. I'm simply pinching the top leaves for every harvest, and the plant rewards me with more and more every time. Basil needs warmth, and that means to simply wait until our cool Pacific Northwest summers kick into gear. Patience.

The other evening I lived one of those wintertime daydreams for summer. In my flip flops and with Wink by my side, I ventured into the garden to harvest a few things for dinner. We had a guest that evening, and a fresh baguette and mozzarella in the house. Cherry tomatoes and basil were easily gathered, and I couldn't but help take a photo.

Fresh picked appetizers

Simplicity of joy, yes. But to live the daydream, however small or huge it may be, is always rewarding, and to enjoy that moment for exactly what it was, made me smile.

A few moments later? We had this:

What became of those tomatoes and basil

Simply splashed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a few grinds of black pepper and a pinch or two of fumeƩ de sel, the simple ingredients combined to fulfill a winter's daydream. We gobbled them up on the back patio, made a toast to summer, and drank in the warm moment. Oh happy summer.


6 comments:

Carmel said...

So you just pinch off the flowers and the top? Mine has been doing well, but it doesn't sound like QUITE as well as yours. It gets lots of good sun and is in a large box, so it should be good on that end. Any other tips?

Grace said...

What a great post, LeAnn. The tomatoes and basil photos, both before and after, are exquisite. Your prose captured the mood of summer so well. Well done!

Mom said...

Grace said it all.
Hugs, Mom

Anonymous said...

So jealous! Our planned summer crop of tomatoes and basil simply fried in the hot southeastern heat early in the summer. No amount of watering, pleading, or coaxing would bring them back. Now we're hoping that maybe we can try a fall harvest ... if it ever cools off!
Lee Ann

Best Wishes, Marie said...

so fresh and tasty.

Cassy said...

Such a healthy veggie salad.
Please forgive me as I will copy and paste your words that inspire me "Simplicity of joy, yes. But to live the daydream, however small or huge it may be, is always rewarding, and to enjoy that moment for exactly what it was, made me smile".

Glad to have read your post.

Cassy from Acoustic Guitar Lessons