Digging Things That Are Ugly

(Subtitled: In which I wax poetic about heirloom tomatoes by way of a 50-year-old Mike Nesmith quote, to no one’s surprise)

At the end of an episode called “The Monkees Take Manhattan,” there is an interview with the 4 actors/musicians. This was a common way of dealing with an episode falling a minute or two short. In this case, one of the most memorable moments in the clip, for me at least, is when Mike Nesmith goes on a ramble about “digging things that are ugly.”

I often quote this, and think of it even more often than  I utter it. Tonight, I found that phrase popping into my head as I held a gloriously, beautifully “ugly” heirloom tomato.

Every now and then, posts about “ugly produce” and food waste make the rounds on facebook. All I can figure is that we, as a society, are usually so removed from our food sources that we’re used to cookie-cutter grocery store tomatoes, so people balk at a tomato with dark ridges on the top.

They miss out on the real beauty:

We had a simple, satisfying, summery dinner tonight. Turkey and chicken burgers and hickory smoked gouda, with tomato and Sol Salad Mix from our share from today. Sides of flax seed tortilla chips (a Trader Joe’s obsession of mine) and a big bowl of cherry tomatoes rounded out the meal.

 

“Veggie Madness”

That’s the way I usually put CSA prep on my to-do list. I turn into a kid in a candy store or an overactive puppy – SO MANY VEGGIES. WHAT TO DO WITH ALL OF THEM?!?

Often, I take a picture of the week’s share laid out on my table. It’s a great way to really see and enjoy the abundance. I didn’t do that this week, though I did get a picture of the wagon loaded up with my kid and my share…

Tuesdays are tricky for dinner. CSA pick up starts at 2 pm. We often don’t know what’s coming in the share until Monday evening or Tuesday morning. Add in an active preschooler, and there’s not a lot of time to work my magic on the share and turn it into a complete dinner. I try to make an easily accompanied protein that I can make fit into whatever vegetable landscape I end up with. Today was one of those days.

I made “Beer Chicken.” I’ve long since lost the link where I learned to make Beer Chicken, but the author of that blog post asserted quite heavily that she was not providing a recipe, but a method of preparing chicken, up to you to customize. This redefines easy: take chicken thighs, place them in the bottom of the slow cooker, sprinkle them with spices of your choice, pour in one bottle of beer, then cook on low for 8 hours.

It works. Every time. Tonight was smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and a little kosher salt. The beer was 16 Mile Tiller Brown.

DELICIOUS.

On-site today, there were plenty of jokes about taking a break from salad. We’ve finally hit deep summer, where lettuce stops being abundant thanks to the heat. I genuinely did not expect to find myself going home and making… well… a salad. But we got arugula, and it was delicious! Arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, walnuts… and we dressed it with a homemade dressing: parsley, basil, garlic, oil, garlic vinegar, brown mustard, and maple syrup. YUM.

I intend to typically include a list of what’s in the share. You’ll get that in tomorrow’s post; tonight, I’m very tired. I’ve been munching some ground cherries and sipping some wine while writing this post. I have blanched carrots to get in the freezer, kale to chop and freeze, and then it’s off to bed for me. Look for a list of the bounty, an explanation of what the heck ground cherries are, and a dinner featuring eggplant tomorrow.