Hyssop is the Least of My Problems

July 28, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Rob Gardner

I got tomatoes that did not really survive the trip back up from Urbana.  I got the Mom of Dakota, Molly-the-Eat-Local-Dog’s good friend, giving us u-pick Michigan blueberries a day after we u-picked our self a host of blueberries from Pontious Farm.  I got a bunch of onions from Pontious ’cause they’re a lot easier to pick than blueberries.  I got a tub of fresh Prairie Fruit Farms goat cheese a few minutes after I got a tub of fresh sheep’s milk cheese ’cause my wife was complaining that “we had fresh sheep’s milk last week.”  And I have a Mom, and if I don’t eat the wine jelly she made soon, she’s gonna be just as unhappy.  Will hyssop go with any of it?

That Pontious Farm, they have a big herb patch.  There is, not very well displayed, in the buying shed, a diagram of the herbs.  Or you can do like me, just go around pinching a tip here and there to see what seems good.  So, this crazy green leaf with blue flowers with an intense taste of licorice and not a little dab of sweetness.  What the hell was it.  We picked a bunch–you pick as many herbs as will fit in the size baggie you grab.  Hyssop it finally turned out.  Also in our bag parsley, thyme, mints, dill, rosemary, tons of lemon balm that we mistook for sorrel, “wild” marjoram, and then later when I discovered we missed the whole basil patch, a smaller baggie filled with three or so kinds of basil.  After that we hit the fields for the aforementioned berries.  We also picked up a few summer squash, even fewer cucumbers, and fewest gooseberries.  And the onions, which are easy to pick.  But not the purslane.  I weeded their herb garden for them, grabbing several bunches of purslane, that I figured was mine for the grabbing, only to forget it before leaving.

The U-pick materials went in the car with our fare from the Urbana Farmer’s Market, reputedly the biggest in the state.  From that market we got plenty of tomatoes, an melon called only, “Asian”, summer squash, shallots, flat Saturn or donut peaches, a gallon of blackberries, rocket, cilantro, and did I mention tomatoes?  Oh, and walnuts that were at the market but may or may not be really local; we got conflicting reports.

Good thing I did not buy anything from Chad at the Eli’s Cheesecake Market, being to schmoozy that day.  He did let me take home the clincher sized beet I had used to decorate our booth at the market.  Later on Thursday, I picked up the week’s CSA with cucumbers, summer squash, purple kale, green beans, potatoes, apricots, and summer apples.

That beet, at least the greens from that beet went into Thursday dinner, a mixed vegetable pasta medley, using previously grilled and marinated veg (summer squash, eggplants, onions, jalepenos).  Friday night, we steamed the green beans and some potatoes (not the latest potatoes but some older “new” potatoes) and dressed it with a Lebanese style garlic sauce.  We also had tomato-feta (Wisconsin feta) on imported whole wheat rusks.    A veggie Shabbat after last week’s porky repast.

Before the new stuff came in, we made a wonderful meal of leftovers.  Re-heated the grits and sauteed kale.  Put the two in small casuelas, added a fried duck egg (Wettstein’s) and topped with a cherry tomato/jalepeno/onion salsa fresca.  This should be on the menu at Mado.  Mado is the reason we did not eat at home on Tuesday, as we ate big steak there.

So far this week, I’ve made my Greek salad for lunch one day.  For the next day’s lunch, I expanded things, I combined the Greek salad with the leftover green beans in one efficient bowl.  Beyond eating much Greek salad, I am not sure what else will be on the menu this week besides my problems.  Check back next Monday to see what I and the rest of the Local Family did.



  1. Paulette Gardner says:

    Unhappy no, disappointed maybe.

  2. More about hyssop.

    I’ve got anise hyssop growing on my deck (a gift from the Digital Tasting at Lockwood, as mentioned in The Local Beet). Yesterday, I used some of it as a dill-substitute in Paulette Gardner-inspired pickles. Haven’t tried pickles yet (because they’re still pickling).

    Trixie Pea used someof our anise hyssop as a garnish for pankow-dusted, pan-fried Mulefoot Hog chops and said it was quite tasty.

    • trixie-pea says:

      Yes! Panko’d Mulefoot chops cooked just past medium rare with an herb salad on top which included the anise hyssop, arugula, dill, and other salad lettuces from the farmer’s market–tossed in a sherry vinaigrette. The hyssop brought a sweetish, lady-like quality to my pork chop.

      Delicious–thanks again for the hook-up, David.

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