John Lyons
United States

As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it. ~Buddy Hackett

Lyonsy — those are some beautiful figs. I had some fresh off the tree in Northern California at a friends house. They were divine. We grilled some with steak, chopped some with salad, and mostly eat them as a snack when ever we pleased. How do you eat yours?

Ate my first Kadota figs today. Honey sweet and grassy flavour. They herald the beginning of late summer.

I found out tonight what the definition of a great tomato crop is..

I was half way through making a dish and needed tomatoes, ran into the front yard (I am removing the lawn and slowly replacing it with veg,grasses, flowers, and shrubs etc) in my bare feet with no flash light and just shoved my hand into the tomato plant and grabbed two cylindrical objects. back in the light of the kitchen I had manged to get two perfectly ripe San Marzano tomatoes. I love growing food in Southern California.

A little photo of my tomatoes and crooked neck squash taken today.

Yellow Brandywine, Black Japanese (from Estonia actually!), San Marzano and Lemon Boy. Lemon Boy is not an heirloom but a terrific tomato to grow.

— John

With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures and some books, I live without envy. Lope de Vega


Your pear tartin looks divine. My neighbors have a pear tree and they will be ripe very soon. Would you mind sharing your recipe.

Here is my infamous Pear tartin…

I do not have a recipe per se…other than a classic pate sucree (from Larousse gastronomme) and a cast iron skillet. I use Bosc pears (8-6 if very large) as they hold shape. Put sugar on skillet over super low heat..maybe 1 ½ cups and let it melt slowly taking care to not let it burn..if it even slightly burns ..toss it and start again. Peel. ½ and core pears and keep in lemon water to prevent browning. When sugar is melted place pears ½ side up nestled into one another..pack them in as they shrink during cooking..fill centre with two ½’s Add about ¼ cup lemon juice (Meyer if you can get it and just a little zest..the zest is my quirky addition!) and about 2 tbls butter. Cook pears in skillet on stove for about 20 mins until the juice released has evaporated and the caramel sauce is bubbly. Cool. Have pate sucree chilled in fridge for at least an hr..so make it first.

Roll out (about ¼ inch not too thin though) and place on top of COOLED pears..other wise it will begin to melt and holes will appear. Press pastry down gently around edges. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 30 mins until pastry is lightly browned. Remove and do not flip over until just about to serve..it will ruin the crispy texture of pastry if allowed to sit in juices. Heat over skillet for a min if it has cooled a lot to release it prior to flipping.

I’m getting hungry just looking at these pictures! Oh what I could do in the kitchen if I had a golden garden like this. Your clients are very lucky indeed.

What’s growing in my garden you ask? Let me show you pics of my most recent potager. It may not be my garden it is growing in as this is growing in a clients garden.

I planted:

Box 1 (Starting left to right from hedge) Canary Sage Tomatilla Verde Black brandywine Tomato Lemon Thyme Lemon Basil “Mrs Burns” Sage “Bergarten” Green Bunching Onions Sweet Italian Basil x 3

Box 2 Tomatilla Verde Zapotec Pink Ribbed Tomato Brandywine Heirloom Artichoke Musk Melon Crenshaw x2 Stevia Winter Savory Italian Parsley Green Bunching Onions Sweet Italian Basil x 3

Box 3 Bronze Fennell Lemon Boy Tomato Green Zebra Tomato French Tarragon San Marzano Tomato x 2 Oregano Jalapeno Peppers x 2 Long Sweet Italian Peppers x 3 Chives

Box 4 Arugula x 2 Marjoram Sungold Tomato Sweet Million Dill Chives Beans x 5

Lyonsy, what is coming up in your garden?

A French gourd from my garden.

and this is what compost does

It’s all in the soil.