“ . . . Never was there a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom . . . ”
- Mary E. Sangster
A LITTLE MAY MADNESS!
photos by vel
“In Springtime, love is carried on the breeze. Watch out for flying passion or kisses whizzing by your head.”
Emma Racine deFleur
TAKE A TRIP WITH ME!
The song lyrics were, “someplace under the sun.” It all happens in May. We prepare for summer. Wash down the patio, scrub the grill, replace worn parts. Start the list of friends with whom to share those warm afternoon lunches on the patio, and those wonderful evenings under the stars. Let’s go! May wonders are celebrated around the world. Remember Maypoles and dances, flower baskets, ribbons and music? For some young people these are not memories but only fairy tales. But May remains the month for merrymaking. May is the month for fairies, elves and wood nymphs.
Yes! “Get the Sunday travel section and take a trip with me!” Let’s go!
“ . . . Light of many dyes,
the air is all perfume . . . ”
- Thomas Hood
MAY IS BEAUTIFUL
Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Armed Forces Day – We have many days for which to be grateful in May. Flowers, fragrance and light, lilacs, roses and tulips, apple blossoms and hay. These are scents that keep us glowing.
TULIPS AND STRAWBERRY BLOSSOMS
GARDENIAS AND PINK ROSES
“ . . . Green is the fresh emblem of well founded hopes. In blue the spirit can wander, but in green it can rest . . .”
BAY LAUREL, VERBENA & BASIL
WHAT’S UP IN MAY?
What are we growing this year? Number one on my list is Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), the herb revered in some cultures as having holy qualities. It is at once calming and energizing. The flavor is minty and spicy. Then will come the “uh huh” herbs, such as aloe vera, rosemary, parsley.
“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray you, love, remember.”
Rosemary has traditionally been associated with memory. Modern studies suggest that oil of rosemary oil has a chemical attribute that can improve the lives of people with memory loss. Ancient Egyptians used rosemary in various ceremonies. Today we use rosemary mostly for the aroma and fantastic flavor it adds to culinary dishes. We will be growing lots of rosemary at MyPotagers.
Lemon Verbena, Lemon Grass, Shallots, Basil, Beets, Arugula, Onions, Parsley, Thyme, Mints, Roses, Lemon Balm, Chives, Perilla, Peppers, Rosemary, Tarragon, Savory, Garlics, Oregano. First in. First out. Ready to go! Ready to grow!
HERBS FOR LIVING – HERBS FOR LIFE
We’ll be growing and using lots of greens this season along with cucumbers, tomatoes and salad herbs. Being healthy naturally is easy. The chives are here! Use them now when they’re fresh and young.
Chives are not fussy. They love the cool. They love the hot. They love the warm and wet. This is probably the easiest herb of all to grow. It will never disappoint you. Very much like an old love who turns up after years of absence, and makes it seem like “yesterday.”
Sometimes a chive breaks away, shows up in another place in the garden and just grows and grows. Don’t you wish love was just like that! This is a garlic chive that wanted to grow alone. Of course its companions did the same. Delicious when it happens.
GARLICS & ALLIUMS
I love herbs that are predictable. These are two. You plant them with love and care, and they come up, on schedule. Try doing that with a people person. See if results are the same? Garlics do not like competition and will show up on time, all the time. Plant them and leave them alone. Watch for results. Alliums? They just pop up, amuse you and are gone.
WHAT’S GROWING – NOW SHOWING
Things that go away in May, but enchant you nonetheless. The forsythias turn green, the daffodils disappear, the hyacinths fade away, all springtime temporary loves. But in their place . . .
We’re ready to plant. Morning visits to nurseries are the most fun! Babies-in-waiting. Love about to bloom. Because it’s May! All because it’s May! May! May! And Love is in the air you breathe . . .
BASIL AND LETTUCE
LEMON GRASS, DILL, TOMATOES
“Someplace under the sun . . . ”
Now is the time for taking out the pots and seeds. Plant, water, grow. We begin the season anew, fresh and clean. The perennials lead the way. Now we follow. Gather the seeds and begin.
Don’t forget to plant fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) this season. You’ll be using it for many dishes all summer long. What to order? What to plant? I’ve already decided. Number one, there will be no peas in the garden this year. But there will be Dutch shallots and onions. I’m ambivalent about the tomatoes of last season. But who can resist? There will be tomatoes! Lots of tomatoes!
This is the season when produce begins to look marvelous. Choices are many. While we wait for the garden to flourish, choose fresh and good from the markets. Watch for produce that was recently grown and not flown from too far away. Check labels for local produce.
Bouillabaisse notwithstanding, this is a lovely soup. When time is at a premium this soup is quick and easy. The vegetables that you put in are the base for your broth. First, have your fishmonger fillet and skin a flounder. Salt and pepper the fish with fresh lemon juice and some fennel. Sliver the fennel bulb and place under the prepared fish. Season with thyme and if you like the flavor, some Bay seasoning.
Heat the tomatoes that you have prepared. If you’re lucky you will have some tomato sauce leftover from summer last. Cook sauce separately and have ready.
Broil or bake your fish. I prefer to broil quickly for this dish. When ready have soup ready. Ladle soup into warmed bowls. Place fish on top. Add slices of bread. Top with the rouille. Drizzle just a little olive oil. And? – Serve it forth.
Don’t forget the rouille.
MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN! MAKE SOUP! LET’S GO!
Cut up vegetables
Onions, celery, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, carrots, celery, lemon, parsley, thyme, ginger, fresh chicken broth (optional.)
Have starters ready – Some fresh bread, some olives, some sun-dried tomatoes.
Prepare martinis – Chill glasses
To prepare this bouillon: Have ready and cut up, onions, lemon, carrots. Mix and sauté ingredients with herbs. Add 2 cups chicken broth, and a cup of white wine. There is nothing complicated about soup. Use whatever vegetables you have on hand.
SALMON WITH FRESH FENNEL & CELERY
It is not easy to resist the call of fresh fish. Salmon can be boring if not seasoned or prepared well. To prepare this dish, buy fresh salmon, season well with thyme and fresh lemon. Line the pan with fresh fennel, shallots, celery and lemons sliced very thin. Broil quickly or bake in 400 degree oven till fish flakes easily.
CHICKEN FRESH FROM THE FARM
If you’ve ever tasted a freshly prepared chicken you have a memory of what chicken should taste like. Friend Janice takes me back to the farm with a newly plucked, freshly dressed chicken directly from a local farm.
You’ll not need much to enhance the flavor of this fresh “catch.” I like to season a few hours before roasting. Salt and pepper lightly. Sprinkle with thyme and a little paprika. Drizzle a little lemon juice and olive oil over pieces. Place chicken on a bed of celery, onions and lemon. Roast at 350 degrees until skin is golden and crisp. Slice and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Serve it forth with a composed salad.
TOMATOES FROM WOODWORTH FARMS!
RIPE – RED – READY
Woodworth Farms are first each year with tomatoes. What a treat to have good-tasting tomatoes so early in the season! Just when we are planting, Woodworth farms is producing and plucking the sweetest tomatoes. From now till the end of summer we have bounty from Woodworth.
QUICK APPLE TART
With Lady Pink Apples
MORE BAKED APPLES
YOUR KITCHEN – YOUR GARDEN – YOUR TABLE
TEA FOR ONE
A healthy indulgence? Tea for one is as exhilarating and satisfying as tea for two or more. Chamomile, Citrus, Lavender, Sage are among my favorites on those days when work calls, and when there is no one around. Journey to serenity, next stop tranquility. Doing tea is fun and relaxing.
Take advantage of all the flavors available to you for teas: Jasmine, Earl Grey with the flavor of bergamot, the Rooibus teas for energy or tranquility, the Chamomiles (matricaria recutita) Lavender, (Lavandula officinalis) Lemon Grass, (Cymbogogon citratus) Peppermint, (Mentha piperita) – Hot or cold, investigate the flavors of teas this season.
First to do, boil water. Let it rest. Have containers for filtering tea ready. Make as much as you like for cold or hot service.
Of course if you wish to have a ceremonious experience, add delightful finger sandwiches, patisseries, scones and clotted cream, jellies and folded meringues, well . . . ?
“ . . . Hail, bounteous May, that doth inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing,
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long . . . ”
- John Milton, Song on a May Morning
YOUR TRENDY BATH
“The world’s favorite season is the spring,
All things seem possible in May.”
- Edwin Way Teale
COMING OUT IN MAY!
A belief: One should wash one’s face with the dew from May Day morn to obtain lasting beauty.
Some herbs are purported to be itch-relievers. Aloe Vera, Chamomile, Oatmeal.
Need water? Not only to enrich the garden but also your skin. Take a dip, not any place but direction garden. Inspiration from the garden produces a rainbow of healthy fruit and herbs. Grow it here! Put it there!
Whether from the cosmetic counter, the vitamin shop or the supermarket shelf, you’ll be using herbs to help rehydrate after months spent indoors. It’s time to restore and refresh. Caring for body and soul is essential to good living. Plants, flowers, herbs, powders, oils, perfumes make for restorative hygiene and leaves you feeling clean and well-groomed. Bathing your way to bliss is in your hands.
MAY IS BEAUTIFUL
Edward Guest, in his poem about planting a garden, wrote:
“If it’s drama that you sigh for, plant a garden and you’ll get it. You will know the thrill of battle fighting foes that will beset it. If you long for entertainment and for pageantry most glowing, plant a garden and this summer spend your time with green things growing.”
Are we sure he wasn’t also talking about love? Love of gardening, love of life, love of loving? Whichever is your passion, pursue it vigorously. Be tired by it. Be stimulated by it. Be happy with it. Love and never tire of it . . . Love for always. Garden until your knees hurt.
Burn some sage to attract wealth. Eat thyme to promote good health and prevent nightmares. Plant some aloe vera to guard against evil. Talk with fairies – It’s May! Anything goes . . . tra la . . . vl
“Love springeth and flourisheth in lusty deeds . . . in the lusty month of May”
Sir Thomas Malory
To all our troops,
At home, on land, or faraway at sea