Monday, August 07, 2006

Our Garden Grows!

Margy and I have a tiny yard out back, and each year our garden has become more ambitious. Last summer we had a potted sungold tomato plant, which would yield, oh, about three grape tomatoes a week. We also grew green beans, at an equally stingy production rate.

But this June Margy put in a proper garden bed, and it's made a big difference. It contains two cucumber plants and three tomato plants (two sungolds and one that produces little red guys), plus some "hot" peppers, which so far have been disappointingly mild, and a bit of parsley. We also have long beans and assorted herbs growing in pots and little plots around the place.

All summer I'd been waiting to get a good cache of tomatoes so I could make a clam sauce like ones we had in Naples, where the tomatoes are cut in half and added right at the end, so they get hot but don't break down much. That day finally came.

It's amazing to note the difference between tomatoes you grow yourself and ones that have traveled from great distances to reach the supermarket. There's no comparison in terms of flavor and freshness. Our little specimens explode in a tangy burst of tomatoness, and that characteristic held up in this sauce. But even supermarkets can get some good stuff at this time of year, so I recommend throwing a bunch of halved tomatoes into any oil-based pasta sauce for a colorful change of pace.

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