In the Garden: May

I've tried to start this post on three separate occasion already. I've been easily distracted by well, nothing. I just wasn't sure how to start it, so I'm just jumping in!

May in the garden has been good. The tomato and tomatillo plants are doing their thing and making me smile. All but one of my tomato plants has fruit on them at this point, though nothing is ripe and ready. I visit them everyday, sometimes twice a day looking for a sign of that first blush of red. I stare at them and practically will them to turn red. I'm pretty sure my neighbors think I'm weird. Oh well. I'll have tomatoes and they won't. Well, I'm assuming they don't. I haven't been nosy enough to stare into their backyard recently. My husband frowns upon me doing these things. Something about not being rude? Isn't that the whole reason to have neighbors though? Not the be rude part, but the peering into their yards part.

Our tomatillo plants are also being very productive and I think we'll have our first tomatillo ready to harvest soon. Very excited about this. I was worried about the plants for a bit, because we had some ninja insect leaving behind holes in the leaves. I suspect it was a caterpillar, but I can't say for sure. The only critter I found was this guy.

I found him under a leaf and put him in a glass jar, so I could take him by the local plant nursery for the bug folks to check out. Turns out they had never seen anything like him/her before. They figured it was a caterpillar of sorts and the poor thing might have been infested with parasites. They put it under a microscope and then projected the image onto their computer. They are not fooling around. I was hesitant to view it under the microscope, but I gathered up the courage to see it. Gross and sad. One of the bug folks said we should have interspecies compassion. I immediately felt guilty. Poor thing. But sorry, you can't have my tomatillos. Needless to say I left it at the nursery, because I don't want it in my garden and the bug folks were completely enthralled by my mutant friend.

Besides the tomatillo and tomatoes, everything else is looking good. Herbs are going gangbusters. Carrots and beets are holding on and the squash is coming along. My only concern at this point are our three eggplants. Eggplants thrive on heat, but we've had a cooler spring this year in Texas. I am definitely not complaining. It actually felt like we had a spring folks! Like over a couple of months, not just a few weeks of kind of nice weather. My eggplant on the other hand may not have appreciated the cooler temps so much and may be a little stunted. Temperatures have started to creep into the 90s this past week, so we'll see how they fair. 

One more thing. I planted a lot of basil. Like a lot. I may have gone crazy with the basil seeds. Whether I get a lot of basil is a different story. I'll keep you posted.


Simple French Toast

Salve: : a remedial or soothing influence; something that soothes or heals.

That's what cooking does for me. It soothes me. It heals me. It's simple and honest. It's what I turn to time and time again. When life is good and when it's bumpy. 

Life continues to have it's ups and downs for me as I settle into its current reality. I don't really know how to describe it, because it just is what it is. It's not great, but it's not bad either. Even that description doesn't sound right. Oh well.

I knew I needed to cook this morning, not in the "because we need to eat" way, but in the soothing way. I decided to make french toast this morning for Nathan and me. I had some french bread leftover from Friday's night get together with some dear friends I've made in the past year. (There's another balm*) I'm embarrassed to say this, but I actually looked up a recipe because it's been years since I made french toast. I turned to the Joy of Cooking (appropriate title) and it didn't let me down. 

French Toast
from the Joy of Cooking

This is a halved version of the original recipe. 

1/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt (I used a pinch)
Pinch of cinnamon (my own addition and optional)
4 slices of french bread or white sandwich bread
Butter (or Earth Balance Buttery spread)

Heat a skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-low heat.

In a shallow bowl combine the first six ingredients and whisk until well incorporated.

Next, dip both sides of the bread into the egg mixture. You want to soak them, but not too much or they'll fall apart. 

Butter the skillet and then place the bread on the skillet. Brown each side until golden brown and serve hot sprinkled with powdered sugar, maple syrup and fresh fruit. I took some frozen raspberries and popped them in the microwave for about 2 minutes until they got warm and fell apart. 

*Good friendships. I've always treasured them, but I'm not always the best about making room for them. I'm learning and have some good friends to remind me and set an example.