This is otherworldly. I’m still astonished. After trying the roasted tomatoes, fresh from the oven, I declared them the best thing I’ve ever eaten – something I’ve never said, or even thought to think, before. It’s a ludicrous concept – the best thing I’ve ever eaten? Best meal is measurable, maybe. But best single thing? It seems preposterous, but, surely, after trying just the tiniest little charred tomato-bit, I knew. Combined with the lustrous toasted baguette, perfectly crisp yet chewy, along with the smooth, cool Greek yogurt and nuttiness of the flax seeds, I knew I had created something truly remarkable. And I’m so proud for having dreamt it up while staring, blissfully and witlessly, at the garden saturated with fog.
Top Note Tonics is a new Milwaukee company producing unique concentrates (with some seriously favorable flavor options) that I inquired to about helping design more intricate recipes. Their main institution, it seems, is beverages but as soon as you lay eyes on the sweetly designed bottles, your mind, and palette, will start to wander. They generously gave me two flavors to play with, hand-delivered right to my front porch, and play with them I will. Here is their website: TopNoteTonic.com #TopNoteTonicRecipe
2 very large, ripe tomatoes of exceptional quality (cut into small pieces)
1 tsp dried ginger
1 tsp coriander pods (smashed)
1 tsp fennel seeds
4-5 sprigs bronze fennel leaves for garnish
1/3 cup flax seeds
1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
baguette (homemade or otherwise. I personally love this recipe)
(optional) 1 tbsp Top Note Bitter Orange concentrate (sub fresh lemon or orange juice)
Preheat oven to 400. Toss the tomato pieces with the dried spices as well as olive or avocado oil and salt+pepper. I can’t remember how long I roasted them for, at least 1.5 listens through of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly soundtrack (so 2 hours? until the kitchen smells so good you have to remove them from the oven to devour them!). Mix yogurt with the Top Note Bitter Orange concentrate (or citrus of choice) and add to the tomatoes, then garnish with flax seeds and fennel leaves. Toast bread with a mixture of olive oil and butter.
As one of the neighbor’s stated yesterday, the garden looks like it’s on steroids. After returning home from a short little romp in the woods (the Kickapoo Valley Reserve specifically, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been in Wisconsin), we came home to be totally amazed by its growth in just 3 days. 99% of it is started from seed, we’ve watched it push out from beneath frost-crusted soil, and now we stare at it for lengthy, heat-stretched afternoons, harvest from it morning and night, yet it still dumbfounds us by its reach.
Visible in the above pictures: we currently have about 30 heads of lettuce (and another 30+ in the back and 30+ more in the front on the way, just babies now) which we steal leaves from every day. Between 5-10 large, proud kale plants and probably 50 or so carrots.
In the pictures below: a snap pea flower and start of the first peas, countless beets, wonderful bok choy, bush beans, 4 each of romanesco, cauliflower and red cabbage, Oxheart carrots that are true to their name (they’re about 3 feet tall)
Finally the very back garden plot which contains, mostly, more of the same. Chives, 30 or so baby lettuce/greens plants including pak choy and swiss chard, more bush beans, the last of the radishes, more carrots and beets. And the beautifully rich and content compost pile with it’s rogue pumpkin patch, as usual. Last year we ate more pumpkins/squashes than ever so our compost pile is FULL of their seeds. I’ve pulled hundreds (not even exaggerating) of little pumpkin seedlings out of the garden and front buckets (in the picture posted you can see at least 20 seedlings) In the parts of the compost pile with less traffic, the seeds grow wildly and have produced, the last two years, 4-5 different types of squash/gourds. Also our washing area along with a rain barrel we found in the trash yesterday!
The front is less far along but is home to most of the herbs. All of the planters we’ve found in the trash, the only time I’m thankful that people can be so dense and wasteful. We have bronze fennel, four planters of thyme, oregano, sage, sweet mace, lavender hyssop, cumin, chamomile, thai basil, rosemary and dill. We also have like 12 towering arugula plants, even more baby lettuces, edible flowers like marigolds and nasturtiums, pansy, lobelia, snapdragons, icelandic poppies, sunflowers, lupine, zinnias, milkweed and lots more I can’t remember right now. The porch is super messy but I’ve come to terms with the fact that it /likes/ to be messy.
If you’ve made it all the way to the bottom of this post – thank you. There’s a lot of pictures and that’s with me holding back, if you can imagine. Come get a bunch of greens if you’re in the area!