Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's not always the gardener working

The thing about a garden is, it's a lot of work. But it's not always the gardener that's working.

In March and April, it certainly is the gardener-- the dirt, unfortunately, doesn't shovel itself. I actually love the spring prep work-- clearing out the winter debris and hunting through the mulch for the first sprouts. This is the time to plan new beds or reshape old ones. To amend the dirt and start watching for overwintered spinach, turnips, parsnips, onions and leeks to isolate for seed saving. So this is grunt labot time.

In April and May, the seeds and starts go in-- time for stoop labor, and still the gardener's workload. We anxiously track the rain and the temperature, the frost and the wind, and watch for the first little beans elbowing their way through the dirt, and trying to remember which brassica that is poking its heart-shaped cotelydons out (because you just know you forgot to label it).

In June the work tapers off. Oh, we keep finding stuff out there to keep us busy, but we're fooling ourselves, because from planting to harvest, there's really nothing to do-- we pass the heavy lifting off to the plants themselves, and to their insect and bird and wind pollinators. In June in the internet age, most of the gardening is happening on line in panicky "why are my tomatoes so small" posts.

There's still not that much to do in July-- thanks to the neighborhood rabbits, I, at least, have no beans to harvest; they've harvested them all for me. (It doesn't seem fair that I leave some for them but they don't leave any for me.) There's a little bit of planting as the spring vegetables like peas and greens and radishes are ending-- time for the fall roots and the last-gasp try for broccoli. The herbs are starting to go a little wild, so there's cutting and preserving to start.

But for the most part, I can sit back for a couple of weeks, sip some mint tea in the heat, and wait for the goddess work her magic.

Goat cheese crackers
10 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 T honey
3 T sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T kosher salt

Beat the goat cheese, honey, salt and butter together until smooth. Add the flour and beat until well blended. Divide the dough in half or thirds, and place each half on a piece of waxed paper about 18-inches long Gently roll the dough back and forth, using the countertop as a base, to crate two 12-inch logs or 3 8" logs. Wrap each log in waxed paper and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days; it should be very stiff.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C) for thick crackers or 300 for the thin ones. Take one log out of the refrigerator, and using a serrated knife, cut it into 1/2-inch thick slices for a crumbly, shortbread-like cracker, or as paper thin as you can for a crisp cracker. On an ungreased baking sheet (or lined with parchment) place the slices 1-inch apart. Repeat with the second log, keeping the unused dough refrigerated until needed.

For the thicker crackers, bake for 30 minutes then turn and continue baking until the crackers are a rich golden color, 15 to 20 minutes more. For thinner crackers, bake 25 minutes then check the color. Should be an even golden brown. Add time incrementally until done. Transfer them to a cooling rack and let cool completely. They can be stored in an airtight container for about a week or in the freezer for up to six months. These crackers will not be quite as crisp as my regular cracker recipe.

1 comment:

  1. LOL, my garden is so ripe with weeds I have a ton to do. Visitors welcome. :)