Shooting Blanks

Mr. StripeyGood thing the bank didn’t get busted on Mr. Stripey. ‘Cause the dude didn’t do diddly. Planted in rich organic soil, topped off with a handful of natural fertilizer, Mr. Stripey produced thriving happy greenery and cheerful blossoms throughout July and August.

By September he was ailing and all the blooms, bankrupt.

For lack of a better theory, the soaring temperatures probably didn’t do much for the poor guy and likely caused a serious (but unsurprising) case of blossom drop. Still, it was quite the let-down. This weekend he was ripped from his ginormous pot (the root system was vigorous, indeed) to allow the remaining plants on deck just a few more rays of sun.

Yo, Adrian!

Gold Nugget: Champ
Gold Nugget: Champ

In case you hadn’t gathered, POD hails from the city of brotherly. South Philly, in fact.  And while POD 2010 hasn’t been as victorious as this gardener would like, there have been some unlikely successes (hello, super-melon that may or may not have been a Charentais) and a few survivors. Hello, Champ.

Gold Nugget: The Final Round
Gold Nugget: Back in the Ring

Most notably this hideous, battered, and aging gold nugget cherry tomato. Let’s hear it for the champ. Nearly four pounds of tomatoes were harvested and Champ can take most of the credit.

Although he appears to be begging to be put out of his misery, it looks like he’s got one more trip to the ring left in him: the 20-some fledgling tomatoes just may make it to harvest.

This determinate’s a keeper. In fact, POD’s swearing off the indeterminates and is gonna’ stick to the underdogs next year.

Some Like it Hot

HarissaBetween all the peppers that have arrived courtesy of Greensgrow’s CSA and POD’s two thriving bird chili plants, some creative concocting has been in order.

Latex gloves donned, (seriously, don’t forget protection) a peck of peppers were sliced and diced to come up with this fiery modified harissa (adapted from the great Casa Moro cookbook).

4-6 long hot red chilies, seeded and minced finely
a generous handful of bird chilies, seeded and minced finely
sea salt
3 heaping tsp. caraway seeds, ground
3 heaping tsp. cumin seeds, ground
4 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled
1/2 tsp. tomato puree
1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 tsp. smoked paprika
4 tbs. olive oil

  1. Process the hot peppers with a pinch of salt, half of each of the spice seeds and the garlic until smooth. Very, very smooth.
  2. Add the roasted peppers, the rest of the spice seeds, the tomato puree, and vinegar, and blend some more. Smoooooth.
  3. Transfer to a non-reactive bowl and add the olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle the paprika on top of the oil and stir. Taste, and season with more salt, if necessary.
  5. Harissa keeps well in the fridge, but you’ll want to cover it with some olive oil to seal it from the air.
  6. Blend them with a pinch of salt, half of each of the spice seeds and the garlic until smooth. Toss in the minced bird chilies and process some more.