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Chef's Hat: The harvest begins

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.

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.