Pandemic Stress Cooking

This year seems simultaneously quick-moving and interminable. Some days it feels like 2020 will last forever, and yet it’s difficult to believe we’re already nearing the end of October. Time has become meaningless during this pandemic. I’m half convinced we’re living in some terrible, alternate timeline.

I haven’t felt much like knitting lately, so I’ve been focusing my energy on my garden. A fair bit of joy over the past months has come from my tomatoes and pepper plants. We’ve had an unexpectedly great harvest this year; we also vastly overestimated the amount of tomatoes two people can reasonably eat.

A lot of tomatoes of varying shapes and colors, ranging from softball-sized yellow-orange to slightly larger, red, and irregularly shaped, sit in a large wooden bowl. Freshly washed, droplets of water shine on their surfaces.

That is one day’s harvest. One. Day. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the bowl is small – that wooden bowl fits over my whole head, and most of those tomatoes are about the size of a softball, with some being quite a bit larger. We had similar harvests nearly every day for two months. We made fresh sauces and ate fresh tomatoes, we froze some fresh tomatoes and made sauces to freeze for the winter, and we gave away a bunch to neighbors… and still, I have never eaten so many tomatoes as I have this summer.

Pasta covered with bright red sauce with chanterelle mushrooms and sprinkles of garden fresh oregano sits in a white bowl with blue embellishments.

One of my favorite dishes we made with the tomatoes was a sauce that incorporated fresh chanterelles from the UP and oregano from the garden. It was delicious.

We’ve had a fantastic harvest of cherry tomatoes and jalapeños, plus a decent number of habaneros. Alas, I have no photos of those… for the most part, the peppers went straight into our cooking and the cherry tomatoes went straight into my mouth. I did, however, remember to snap a quick picture as I was making lunch today.

Dark red cherry tomatoes that have been quartered and diced white onion, avocado, and jalapeño sit in a clear glass bowl.
The dark red cherry tomatoes, white onion, avocado, and jalapeño have been mixed in with cooked quinoa.

I cooked the quinoa with some vegetable broth, garlic, and cumin; after it was done, I drizzled in a dressing made with olive oil and fresh lime juice before mixing in the fresh ingredients. Trust me, it tasted every bit as wonderful as it looks.

Now that the mornings have turned chilly, our harvest has slowed significantly. I’m already planning next year’s garden… probably with a few less tomato plants.

Sorry, I don’t have exact recipes for anything. I cook like I knit, i.e. I pretty much make it up as I go. While I’ve learned to take notes while knitting, I haven’t managed to bring that habit into my cooking.

Published by lakeboundknits

Designing knitting patterns is a tangible way to express myself. Each pattern is a reflection of part of my soul and contains bits of my joy, sadness, fears, and hopes. My heart belongs on the shores of Lake Superior and most of my pattern designs are inspired by life "Up North."

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