The weather these last two days has felt entirely different than it has all summer long. Rather than dense and blistering hot, the air feels light, tickling our skin and sounding chimes as it whooshes by. Piper and I put on hats as we walked out back to assess the current situation in the garden. What we found looked unfortunately grim. Overripe peppers, rosemary singed at the tips, and two half eaten pineapples (though not by us). A while back, you will remember we planted all sorts of herbs and greens; now I must admit that halfway through the unforgiving Florida summer most of our plants withered under the hot sun. I hope the change in the air signals a more temperate season ahead, where we may try our hand in the garden once again, but with more success. Honestly, if we can clear the area, I wouldn’t mind plugging in some plants that have already been started. We have had success with starter plants in the past. Older plants would be easier to maintain and would get us out enjoying the garden sooner.
Now that our girl is asleep, I’m eager to peruse The Art of Simple Food some more. I love the tiny illustrations that accent her recipes, though what I love the most in truth is Alice Waters’ depth of knowledge and her straight forward manner of writing, which makes cooking and learning technique very approachable. I’m sure employing her tips will make me a better and more well rounded cook, and at the least more knowledgeable about some cooking curiosities that I’ve harbored for a while. For example, Waters expounds upon the simplest of techniques that we perhaps take for granted as home cooks, such as how to cook rice, pasta, or polenta (and how just a ladleful of that starchy pasta water can add flavor and cohesion to a sauce), how to cook fresh and dried beans and the best cookware to use in doing so, and how to stock a natural foods pantry and use local farmers’ markets in order to make delicious meals at home whenever you want. I’m off to read now — until next time!