planning for next year…

estimated 3 min read

One activity I looked forward to when we purchased our home with outdoor space over a year ago, was the ability to plant some seeds and watch them grow. I’m not very interested in planting flower seeds and watching them.

I want to grow things I can eat.

This past year has been trying to schedule in caring for a garden and reigning in the desire to plant some of everything. For one, I don’t have that much space. Second, I don’t have that much time, no matter what I want. I crammed two flower box containers full of herbs — rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, basil, dill, and chives. I put them on the deck. Most nights at least one of those items found its way into dinner. We will talk of the tomato another day.

As I begin another season of leaf battle, it is time to think about next year. Sadly I am pretty sure that I missed garlic planting, I didn’t even acquire my garlic (Anne did, I wish her luck and garlicy happiness).

We need to replace the split rail fence, so my planning for next year’s growing space is more up-in-the air than it was a few months ago.

I’ve been pulling books out from here and there in a desire to find inspiration, for what I want to cook tonight and for the next year. The following three are helping me reach these goals and I recommend each highly and think they each deserve a spot on your bookshelf. I borrowed mine from the library and hope someday to acquire copies of my own.

Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager HandbookDesigning the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook
by Jennifer Bartley
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Combine a gardening history book with gorgeous photos and useful hints and summary charts and you will receive 222 pages of hard covered inspiration. This is not a book for the gardener looking for an easy fill in the blank guide. This is an educational resource that will help you learn and design the kitchen garden that works for you and your space.

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for TodayBall Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today
by Lauren Devine
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This is the book on canning for a reason. If you want to do it, or want to give a gift that is sure to be appreciated and well used, this is The Book.

Gluten-Free Girl and the ChefGluten-Free Girl and the Chef
by Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern
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Recently (or again), I’ve been in a cooking slump. When I saw this was released I remembered Shauna offering glimpses of yumminess and delight as she and her chef readied the recipes for publication.

Well, it works. While I’ve yet to cook from it, I am once again doing more than boiling water and adding gluten free pasta to the pot.

Why does it work? Gorgeous photos, a layout one can cook from, and a nice feature I really enjoy — suggestions. I am terrible at pairing one dish with another and we often end up with a main dish of X and a salad. Not very well rounded, all in all.

It works best in that it made me really hungry for many different dishes: pasta with anchovies, lemon, and olives, watermelon gazpacho (of course I’d learn of this in October), fig chutney, garlic flan, crusty bread, and smoked salt caramel ice cream.

Do you notice something? Right, that’s the point. Not everything here screams gluten-free. I agree with Shauna. Living gluten free doesn’t mean no. It means YES!

A note of caution: the Ahern’s are carnivorous so if mere mention of any meat, or in particular certain times of meats or shellfish make you squeamish, you’ve been warned.