Garden + Olive

July 3rd, 2011

Have you noticed how many new businesses are named SomeThing + SomeOtherThing? Who started that? Why is it so popular? I have no idea, but I do know that garden produce + olive oil = (really easy) (really tasty) meals. You might say “well, that’s obvious“, but I never thought of it as a defined concept until I read Extra Virgin by Annie Hawes. She writes:

…thanks to all those insistently ripening eat-me-now-or-I’ll-rot vegetables, we have at last understood what it is about the olive that has made it such a symbol of peace and plenty for the last couple of thousand years. The olive is magic: if you have olive oil…you can transform virtually calorie-free greenery into nutrition-packed sustenance.

…we’re too lazy to bother going all the way down to the shop. So, go down to the orto instead to see what it dictates for lunch: return with some tomatoes, a fistful of basil, a few zucchini. Boring? But cut the zucchini in strips lengthwise and stick them on your griddle; when they are a bit translucent and brown-stripey, chuck them in a bowl with some garlic and olive oil, a crumpled thyme twig. Leave a few minutes for the flavors to mix. Mmmm, as we English so ludicrously say.

No zucchini here, alas, but we continue to get a few ripe tomatoes every few days. The seedling onions are starting to make bulbs. And I don’t have fistfuls of basil due to poor planning, but due to poor cultivation I do have enough volunteer basil plants to snip some leaves (poor + poor=OK sometimes).


'Yellow of Parma' green onions, purple basil, (l-to-r) 'Ceylon', 'Matt's Wild Cherry', and 'Jaune Flamme' tomatoes

Chop it all up, add olive oil, salt and pepper and you have a vegetable dish to serve.

Tomato + Olive Oil

tomato + olive oil

I made this twice this past week. Once as described and next substituting a mature “potato onion” and chives for green onion and basil.

Olive oil + garlic + herb also makes a pretty good seasoning for steamed vegetables or a dip for bread or a base for a marinade. Smash a couple cloves of garlic with the flat side of a knife, put them in a small microwavable bowl, add a few sprigs of some herb, add enough olive oil to cover, and then microwave for a very short time on low power. You don’t want to cook the garlic and herbs, just heat them enough to release their flavor into the oil. For the amount I make, that would be less than 30 seconds on medium or low power. Last night I used this technique twice. First with rosemary as a sauce or flavoring for steamed new potatoes, and second with a mix of thymes (variegated lemon, Provencal, Lemon Mist) as a marinade base for chicken breast on skewers. The rest of the marinade was a splash of basil vinegar (from a previous year) and ground white pepper and ground Korean red chili pepper.

That’s about it from here for this week’s Garden to Table Challenge at Greenish Thumb. I hoped to have green beans soon so I could write about something besides onions and garlic, but while we were away last weekend the critters settled into the garden and chewed off all the bush beans.

Bean Devastation

deer + rabbits = no beans

I’m attempting to prevent further chewing by mulching with thyme and fennel prunings. Let’s see what happens.

9 Responses to “Garden + Olive”

  1. Diana says:

    Beautiful tomatoes and dish.

    • entangled says:

      Thank you! We’re so happy to have tomatoes this year. Last year when the weather was so hot and dry we harvested very few tomatoes.

  2. SwimRay says:

    I bet they tasted as god as they looked. They are all still green here.

  3. Kate Parker says:

    The tomato dish looks delicious. I wish that I had planted tomatoes after seeing your blog. I have enjoyed my trip through your blog … the wildflower meadow video is beautiful.

    The Dianthus superbus are starting to bloom and I always think of you. Last year, I planted various different superbus seeds and am curious as to what they will look like. Some of the foliage is narrower and brighter green so I’m wondering what the flowers will be like. (There’s a website that has a lot of different superbus seeds.)

    It is great that you continue to blog regularly. I’m hoping to get back into it. I miss it. Hope you are having a good summer.

    • entangled says:

      It’ll be interesting to see how your D. superbus turn out. I have one more packet of dianthus seed that I haven’t got around to planting – I think it was from Chiltern Seeds. I’ll check out your link just as soon as I finish typing this.

      I had internet burnout last summer and fall too, but after a rest I was ready to take it up again. Great to see you back!

  4. Wendy says:

    lots of delicious sounding ideas here! Yes, I’ve noticed lots of plusses everywhere.

  5. Before we had the fence around the garden, I had to put agro-fabric (summer weight) over the beans to have any. Rabbit would just decimate them. But apparently, if they did not see them, they left them alone. I would remove the fabric during the day once the plants flowered so the flowers could get pollinated.

    And there is still time to plant a bush bean crop for the Septemberl (mine are going in tonight)

    oh! to your + olive oil, I would also add: + finely minced fresh garlic!

    • entangled says:

      We’re considering a fence. This year was the first time the beans were completely chewed off, but most of them resprouted and are now flowering. I was thinking of making a fall sowing after I dig the onions – I hope that’s enough time for them to mature. Maybe I’ll avoid the Mexican Bean Beetles that way too. The pole beans are growing and flowering, but so far I only see one tiny bean.

      + garlic = great idea!

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