Do you know what you get when you combine Farmer Jim and a trip to Walmart?
Yes, WPFF has its own set of action figures now. Farmer Jim maintains they are in place to create some colorful visual interest for his new product FlysightTV (aka WPFFCam). I maintain it is because he is A Boy and (speaking as the mother of two) no Boy can resist a stand of raised vegetation without peppering it with action figures for a good old-fashioned jungle fire fight. I'm STILL finding GI Joes in my perennial beds at the Nine-One-Four.
And because he is A Boy and An Engineer, Farmer Jim also attempted to create a zip line from his backyard fence to the tomato cages for the Bendy Boys, but they would have nothing to do with it.
My diatomaceous earth bunker is working like a charm. A new crop of mesclun and carrots are slowly emerging, heads intact, thank you very much. I harvested the last of my arugula yesterday as it was slowly going to seed. We'll see you again in the fall when it cools a little, my peppery friends (not that it's particularly warm right now).
It was an arugula kind of week at the dinner table. I served it up three or four different ways but I would have to say the high points were the WPFF White Pizza and an arugula pesto, courtesy of Rachel Ray, and adapted into a cream cheese cracker/sandwich spread by yours truly:
From farm to table: Not your everyday pesto spread
1/4 c shelled pistachios (I could only find the type that were already roasted and salted so that's what I ran with)
1 c packed arugula leaves
1/2 c packed basil leaves
1/2 lemon, juiced (I threw in a dusting of lemon zest as well)
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed (Rachel calls for just one. Wimp.)
1/3 c olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 c light cream cheese, softened
Pinch of red pepper flakes
If using raw pistachios, toast them up lightly in a skillet over high heat. Be careful not to scorch I hate it when that happens.
Throw the toasted nuts in a blender along with the arugula, basil, lemon juice and garlic. Blend thoroughly, then slowly oozle in in the olive oil while blending till you have a thick pesto.
Take about a 1/3 cup of the pesto and combine with the cream cheese and red pepper flakes, adding cream cheese as needed for a nice smooth spreading consistency. Flavor with a little lemon juice, salt and pepper if you think it needs it. And there you have it -- a tasty arugula pesto cracker/sandwich spread.
Note: I'm using the remaining pesto to coat a pork loin that we'll grill tonight. Eat your hearts out!
On all other fronts, despite the lackadaisical weather we're suffering through, things are looking good. I have buds on the heirloom tomatoes! and they're losing the "Poor pitiful me" flop. I'll be nudging the blossoms along with a blossom set spray (I know, I know, it's not officially organic but it's the only way you'll get tomatoes in this dang region unless you have your own hot house.) Japanese eggplant, corn, fennel -- check, check and check. I'm thinking potatoes or peppers may go in the space vacated by my arugula.
So yesterday, I awarded all this agrarian good behavior with a dressing of fish fertilizer. Fish fertilizer has my mom's plant food of choice for years. Plants totally dig it, even though it reeks to high heaven. In fact, some years ago, when we still using The Back Forty as a soccer pitch, the Wonderfully Patient Spouse and my two boys very politely asked me to cease and desist with the fish fertilizer as it made the backyard smell like a tuna cannery. Sigh. What we do in the interest of sports.
Anyway, the plants were very happy and I don't think WPFF smelled any different than it did before the fish fertilizer application. At least there weren't any outraged phone calls or e-mails from my partner in crime, Farmer Jim.