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Chef's Hat: The harvest begins

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For the past couple of weeks I have been happily harvesting beans, cucumbers, carrots and fresh herbs from my small garden.

A couple of people have contacted me and asked if the mild weather we had earlier has had an effect on vegetables plants, especially tomatoes. I don’t know about other area gardens, but I have already eaten two luscious tomatoes and have several more that are in the orange-ish stage and about to turn red. There are also dozens more green tomatoes on the vine that are just starting to show signs of ripening.

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So, no, in my opinion, the cooler weather has not had any bearing on vegetable plants. However, that being said, there are many factors involved in healthy plants: too much water or not enough water, too much food or not enough food, bugs and, in my yard, dogs running through the garden.

But, all in all, I must admit I am quite happy with the vegetables that I have been picking, cooking and eating.

For me, this is a great tomato year with lots of the large, juicy fruits sitting on the vine. So I decided to dig out some old recipes I have not done for awhile. Years ago I came across a Toasted Tomato Salad recipe. I was sure that recipe was in a green spiral notebook I’ve had for 20-plus years. Naturally, when I went to look for the book I could not find it. After taking all of the cookbooks out of the cupboard it was found hiding under a magazine. Then, as luck had it, the recipe was not in there.

So not willing to give up I tried looking through a couple of three-ring binders. No such luck, either. Then, in sheer desperation, I tried looking through a pocket in one of the binders where I put recipes that needed to be filed.

Yes, there it was! So I am happy to share this with my readers. It is easy and can actually be an entire meal.

Something just a tad bit unusual, at least in our area, is Maque choux. It is a traditional dish from southern Louisiana and like many Cajun or creole type recipes, you can mix and add whatever you have on hand. This makes a great side dish for pork, beef or chicken.

So ready, set, harvest! Happy eating.

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