After work today, I opened the front door to head into the garden and found myself face to face with a hummingbird. Well — practically face to face. We were maybe four feet apart, and it was magical. There were two of them at first, flitting around one another, but one flew off as soon as I stepped out. The other remained for a good five seconds, seeming to stare right at me, before taking off for the safety of a nearby branch.
I love that we’ve creating a safe environment for wildlife by filling our yard with native plants. We do supplement with a hummingbird feeder, but our fast-moving friends also love to sip from bee balm and swamp milkweed, too. Steven has a little “office” in the corner of the living room right by two windows, and he’s constantly sending me photos and videos of the critters he spots throughout the day. We see both ruby-throated and rufous hummingbirds (the only two found here in Maryland!), and I’ve identified a particular branch where one of them likes to perch between feeding sessions. More often than not, if I look out the window and toward that branch, I’ll see a little one resting there. So sweet.
We had another heavy rainstorm this afternoon, and apparently it was strong enough to knock over my tomato cages — I had to fix up two of them. Yikes! I harvested a nice haul of green beans and a handful of cherry tomatoes while managing to avoid being absolutely savaged by the mosquitoes. (I think I only got bitten once.) It’s funny; I have terrible luck with full-size tomatoes, even though I plant plenty of them every year. There are a few growing now, but they’re still green and it’ll be a meager harvest. But my cherry tomatoes (of various types!) go bananas every year, and I had tons of volunteers this spring. I won’t complain; fresh tomatoes of any size are orders of magnitude tastier than any you can get at the grocery store. Eating them warm from the vine is one of summer’s greatest pleasures.
Those green beans went right into the dinner pot, metaphorically speaking. Well, I guess literally speaking, too — I cooked them in the same pot as the rice noodles I was making, for efficiency’s sake. I also lightly pan-fried a block of tofu and served it all with this fantastic garlicky black pepper sauce. I’ve been digging sweet and spicy sauces this summer, and this one’s a winner. I used Earth Balance rather than olive oil, reduced the soy sauce a bit, and substituted a large shallot for the red onion. I also used a bulb of fresh garlic (harvested from my garden last week!) rather than the 10 cloves called for because fresh, uncured garlic tends to have more of a kick than what you can buy at the grocery store. Delicious and surprisingly filling.
I’d love to hear your go-to sauce for simple meals; please share if you’ve got one! I like this one, too.