Now that it looks like this
and all the "leafers" are about to roll through town... and the garden is a little less busy than it was in say July... (maybe thats b/c it started to rain all the time which naturally compells me to remember all the reasons that I don't have time to have nearly an acre's worth of gardens...) though it is far from "over" - we still have celeriac, rutabagas, carrots, kohlrabi, broccoli, kale, winter squashes, brussels, parsnips, leeks, even some peas...some huge savoy cabbages... a whole technicolor line-up of beets, broccoli...the garlic will get planted in a few weeks... woah, now that I am writing this, I am beginning to panic - I haven't been out there for a week and I am having nightmarish imagery of waist-high weeds taking over...
The most fun part of harvesting (digging up the potatoes) is done -- all of the potatoes are dug and in the basement...
So it might be time to start reliving summer?
...oh those radishes... but no, we'll wait until the depths of November to vicariously re-live the fleeting firefly and mojito moJOJO infused summertime season...
Right now it is time for me to get my act together and post at least a photo, if not a recipe and a photo, every day. Seriously.
How about that for today? This is what you get when you put the camera in panorama mode and snap a pic of a four-year-old running toward you and then notice how killer the sky looks and tell aforementioned (jumping) four-year-old to check it out, right as you attempt to snap the middle pic of your panorama! They move quick, those little nippers! And they say "Auntie Jojo isn't this sunRISE is amazin'!" And I think to myself yes indeed! This "sunRISE" with prosecco and best friends and fresh clams over a fire and a boatride sure is much more amazing than the average 2x per week 5am-husband wakes-up-to-go-milk-cows-and-I-feel-way-too-guilty-to-stay-in-bed-so-I-shuffle-down-to-the kitchen-and-sink-myself-into-my-maple-syruped-coffee "sunRISE"...
That was last weekend on the cape. We dug some serious clams and reeled in some beauty bluefish. Four-year-olds also like raw clams, did you know? (I think they probably also like rubberbands dipped in salt water...)
We roasted some over the fire and then steamed some others and made a killer coconut-lemon-sweet-hot dipping sauce. The sauce was the boss that weekend - we also threw together some parsley-fied aioli with a formidable quantity of garlic and poured it over the fresh bluefish and roasted it on a bed of leeks. It was nothing short of sublime, took all of 10 minutes to throw together and I have wanted to repeat that dinner every night since. In a bind, fresh out of prosecco...or wine or anything else, Budweiser even got a second chance that night and in a little tiny glass accompanied by all of that freshness, I no longer regarded it as the worst beer ever, I rather enjoyed my 2 ounces.
But we don't live by the sea.
That's for sure. So, rather than clams, we dig potatoes. Did I mention that I really really really like digging? I like digging ditches... I got a little carried away a couple years ago...
And decided all of the gardens (nearly a whole acre total) would need to be transformed into raised beds... and I proceeded to dig trenches throughout (see above, the woodchips are sitting in the trenches) creating an "English gahhhden"-style layout with a round center (though the Brits would have DEFINITELY utilized strict and exacting measurement standards...whereas I am not a Brit but rather an eye-baller and used my feet as measurement tools.) And then... my nickname became "Herc" and I went further and planted way too many potatoes, more for the fun of digging them up, rather than actually eating them because they are sort of boring for my taste... (however we will change that with the upcoming recipe!) But then I discovered a much better way to plant them... that does not actually involve digging, which means:
a) you have a much lower chance of suffering pitchfork casualties... which we won't go in to...
b) less work
c) no potatoes left behind
d) they look better! (well in my experiment anyhow) ie: less "scabby" (EW, horrendous word) exteriors
So it looks like I am going to have to find something else to dig because I am throwing in the towel on the traditional way to plant potatoes (ie: the "trench" method)
The "new way" goes like this:
prepare garden bed ie: loosen up the soil gently with a pitchfork or a broadfork, then take your potato seed (pieces of cut-up organic potatoes with at least one "eye") and plant about an inch into the soil. Cover with soil (just a wee bit) then pile at least eight inches of mulch on top (leaves, hay, straw). Water everything well. As the potato seedlings emerge, keep adding mulch around them. When the green bits die, it is time to harvest! All you have to do is pick up the mulch layer and voila'! you will see beautiful potatoes sitting there. Collect them. Then make this:
That is a good idea for many reasons, among them: it is easy, efficient, fancy, versatile and most importantly, there are SO many cooler things you can do with potatoes aside from mashing them (I think mashed potatoes are lame, which doesn't mean you are lame if you like them, I'm just being honest)
So if you don't have one of these awesome (as long as you remember to USE the finger guard and not lose the finger) slicer units or a fancy-schmancy mandoline (which you might be a lot more likely to lose the finger with...) then an old fashioned knife will do just fine. The thinner you slice the 'tato the better though.
The 1/3-eaten galette pictured above, was probably the simplest one I have ever made - just potatoes, olive oil, butter, salt, pepper and a little parsley. That is because it was the middle of winter and Wild Bill the infamous duck-who-thinks-he-is-a-cow had already hammered through the kale plantation and there wasn't a leaf of sage to contemplate... Today, I am going to make a purple potato & sage galette... and I'll talk about 15 other ways to galette-ize your dinner...
Purple Potato & Sage Galette (with or without kale...or any other accoutrement you wish to add!!)
2 lbs potatoes (I do not like the color purple but I think purple potatoes are cool but you can use any color!)
6 tbsp butter (ish), melted
Salt, black pepper(about 2 tsp of each..but TASTE and adjust to your palette)
Fresh sage (or rosemary) leaves (about 3 teaspoons if you are the measuring type ;)
**Kale option - about 1lb of kale leaves (not including the tough ribs and stems) chopped roughly & sautéed in about 2 tbsp butter with a generous amount of garlic (4-5 cloves) until tender
1. Peel potatoes if they have ugly exteriors, or leave the skin on if they look good.
2. Place a 10 or 12 inch cast-iron skillet on your stove top and brush bottom & sides with melted butter to coat nicely.
3. Using your cool slicer unit or an old fashioned sharp knife, slice the potatoes as thin as you can - we're talking paper-thin
4. Start arranging your slices in the skillet - I start from the center, as this layer will eventually be the top of your galette
5. Continue fanning out your potato slices to the edge of your skillet.
Lookin' pretty sweet I think...
6. Dab a bit of evenly spaced butter strategically on top of layer 1 and sprinke with salt and pepper and herbs. (If you are doing kale, this is when you take 1/2 of your tender sautéed kale and layer it on top of the potatoes.)
7. Repeat steps 4-5, creating layer two of lovely concentric potato slices.
8. Press the galette down with a spatula and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs and then spread the rest of the kale on top if you are doing kale.
9. Repeat with the third layer of potatoes.
10. Turn on heat to to medium-low and cook for about 30-40 mins, making sure that the bottom doesn't burn
11. Invert galette onto flat plate (you are bound to have a plate that will fit right on top of the galette, inside the skillet and with an oven mitt on and a quick flick of the wrist, flip the skillet onto the plate and then slide the galette back into the skillet, uncooked side down and brown for another 10-15 mins.
12. If you like the way your current top layer looks then garnish with some fresh herbs (crispy sage leaves would be nice or just some fresh parsley as I did below... If you have a sneaking suspicion that the other side of your galette might look better, execute your new flip trick again and check out the more recently browned side and decorate that one.
This is a SIMPLE simple dish, yet elegant and quite delicious. Serve a wedge for breakfast with a poached egg balancing on top and garnish with chives and sour cream... or better yet add a bit of caviar...
And of course, as all of my fave dishes are, this one is incredibly versatile - you could replace the kale with some thinly sliced butternut squash... oh, and another bonus is that it is even good at room temp.
Please let me know if you try it or what you think or what you want to hear about...and when you want to start "re-living" summer...