This past week has been strange for me. This past Monday was my last day at Oklahoma State University. And, although I’ve only worked there eight years, I also attended grad school there for my master’s degree, and again for my doctoral degree. I’ve spent more time at OSU, therefore, than in any one of the homes Mick and I have owned. And so leaving there was a bittersweet event.
My garden, however, was a constant in my life and very therapeutic for me during this time. I returned to it every day and the growth of the plants, the production of new vegetables and the continued needs it required of me was familiar among the change…and that is a good, good thing.
I’m so grateful for the jumbled mass of English peas that are now providing sweet and tender early morsels for our salads. I pick them and then put them in my pockets to carry back to the kitchen, but sometimes they don’t make it to the house. Rather, they leap into my mouth, as if possessed by an uncanny lifeforce and are eaten raw, whole and rapidly.
This week has also been about “fails,” however. I made a little video of my garden to give you a tour, and now cannot figure out how to get the video file from my Android phone to my new Macbook Air. Fail score = +1. I purchased some beautiful Stilwell strawberries last week from the Urban Agrarian and made strawberry-balsamic-black pepper preserves. The taste is delightful, but the pectin level was too low, or I didn’t cook them down enough. Either way, I have a batch of delicious tasting, runny preserves on my hands. Fail score = +1/2.
And, I had to thin all my cabbage plants so I got this GREAT idea to make stuffed cabbage rolls with the big green leaves. What I didn’t realize is that cabbage outer leaves are much tougher than the main portions of cabbage heads, so although I cooked them for 45 minutes, they were still tough when I pulled them out of the oven. Fail score = +2 (for all the time and work I put into them). Total fails this week? At least +3.5 points worth. Where do I get the point values? From thin air, just like I get some of my great cooking ideas…and some of my really, really bad cooking ideas.
These brilliant ideas gone good OR bad usually start with these three questions:
1. What does my garden have to offer this week?
2. What do I have in my freezer that needs to be used?
3. What does the local farmer’s market have in season to help the situation?
The total sum of these answers always gets me my ideas for weekly food to feed my family. But not always are those ideas as brilliant as they seem in my head when they are born.
Therefore, this post is dedicated to all the garden fails of the world. I’m going to show you what I loved about my cabbage roll dish, and what I simply couldn’t endorse. Here we go: Continue reading My Little Victory Garden: Brilliant Ideas Gone Bad