Trumpet Shaped Flowers, Pumpkins, Salsa

Today I noticed some new flowers blooming in the garden, some lovely late summer trumpet-shaped blossoms. Of course we see lots of hummingbirds visiting these flowers, but I also like to watch the bees climb in and tunnel down to the nectar. I looked up why flowers form this tunnel shape, and it has to do with the flowers evolving to direct the pollinators to exactly the right spot in the flower. If the shape is a narrow tunnel, there's only one route to the goods. The bees can't help but get covered in pollen.

The pumpkins are looking beautiful. They are smallish, maybe as large as a volleyball. I've never grown them before, and while the vines are seriously too prickly to handle, the fruit production is very satisfying. These have a lovely network of veins, I wonder if they will eventually become fully orange, or stay lined? These are a variety that can be used for cooking OR carving. Homemade pumpkin in our pies this year.

This is a lousy picture, but the tomatillos are looking like fairy lanterns. I squished one, and there is nothing inside yet. I guess the fruit grows in the protected wrapping. I can't wait to taste one. This is another vegetable I've never grown before.

I made salsa again today. Six large tomatoes including juice and seeds, two jalepenos (ribs and seeds removed because I'm a wimp), one anaheim chili, half an onion, a large handful of cilantro, lime juice, and plenty of salt. This time I chopped it all by hand rather than using the food processor, and I liked the chunky texture much better.

I enjoyed it on a taco salad tonight, while the rest of the family had tacos. Collards from the garden were the base of my salad. (Barbara, if you're reading this, yes, that is the pottery bowl you gave me 20 years ago, I use it ALL THE TIME.)

I also realized my stock bag in the freezer was full, so that meant it was time to make bone broth. I put bones, offal, carrot tops, veg peelings, whatever I've got, in the pot, and cover it with water. I add a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to help leach the nutrition from the bones. And today I also added lots of herbs from the garden.

I cook my broth for two days and nights, in the oven at 225 degrees. This causes all of the gelatin/collagen to leave the bones and get into the broth. (The bones should crumble when it's done.) Then I strain it, and we have Italian Wedding Soup (meatballs, greens, and parmesan) or homemade Pho, with pork, greens, fish sauce, and rice noodles. We all look forward to this meal, and there's always leftover broth for other recipes.

Summer cooking, simple and delicious.