Look what I found! What are they, you ask? They're seeds! Lots and lots of seeds! Tomato seeds, zucchini seeds, pepper seeds and lettuce seeds. There are even packets of unidentified seeds that will have to be planted before I can learn what they are. Aren't they wonderful? They may not be pretty, but to me, they are more precious than gold. Why am I going on and on about a pile of dried up old vegetable seeds? Well, allow me to explain.
A few weeks ago Chez SGCC held a huge garage sale. It was a long time coming! In preparation, Mr. SGCC and I spent a ton of time cleaning out our garage. While weeding through boxes of things that were long ago forgotten, I came across a dirty old plastic bucket filled with several jars, envelopes and zip lock bags filled with - you guessed it - seeds. I knew that I hadn't put it there, so I asked my sometimes-better half about it. What he told me blew my mind!
Most of my regular readers know that my dear father passed away in November, 2006. A few months later, my mother invited all of the "men" in the family, (my brother, uncle, some cousins and Mr. SGCC) over to go through Dad's plethora of tools, gadgets and assorted other "stuff" in their garage. She wouldn't need them anymore.
Dad had been a contractor by trade and was also an avid gardener. Mr. SGCC stood by and let everyone else scoop up all of the shiny new toys, many with the store tags still attached. He had his eye on something else. In the corner, sad and forgotten, sat a banged-up, rusty old toolbox. It looked ancient! The box was filled with a bunch of equally banged-up, rusty old tools. It was my father's very first set of tools that he bought over fifty years ago when he first came to this country. These were the tools that he actually used. Those were the tools that Mr. SGCC wanted.
You see, once he became older and more successful, my father usually hired someone to do the repairing and fixing up. He continued to update his collection with lots of new things because.....well..... because that's what men do. Even so, he always preferred his old tools. They were comfortable and familiar. They fit in his hands just right. I suspect that they were also a sweet reminder of where he began and how far he'd come.
Back in that same corner of the garage, covered with dust and cobwebs, Mr. SGCC also found that old bucket of seeds. They were the seeds that my dad had carefully preserved out of the harvests from his garden. They were the seeds that he dried in the sun and was saving, waiting to plant during the next growing season, except he never got the chance. Mr. SGCC knew that I would want to have them.
I remember how touched I was when my husband brought that toolbox home. He knew how much it would mean to me to have it. I lovingly ran my hands over each tool, remembering all the times that I acted as my father's "assistant" as a little girl, handing him his hammer or his screwdriver as he puttered around the house. Holding those tools was like holding a piece of him close to me. I guess I was so caught up in my memories that I never heard Mr. SGCC tell me about the seeds. And for all that time, I never noticed them sitting in our garage.
Of course, I know what I have to do. I have to plant those seeds. So, as soon as it gets a bit cooler, I'll clear a little patch in my garden and sow my seeds of love. I don't know if anything will actually grow. The seeds are over two years old. But, wouldn't it be wonderful if something did?
My father grew all sorts of wonderful fruits and vegetables in his garden. He had the Midas touch! The most sought after of his crops were his tomatoes. There were always several different varieties growing, each as sweet and juicy as could be. Among them, we had beefsteaks for sandwiches, Romas for sauce and cherries for salads. Long after I was married with my own garden to tend, I'd make frequent trips, with basket in hand to stock up on Dad's ripe, plump tomatoes, fresh from the vine and still warm from the sun. I'd tried my hand at growing my own, but somehow, they never tasted half as good.
I was so spoiled all those years! Now that he's gone, I have to buy my tomatoes like the average schlub. Decent ones are almost impossible to find around here, even at the farmers' market. When I do come across some good ones, I almost always opt to use them very simply in a salsa cruda (raw sauce) or a salad.
I made this fresh and vibrant Edamame & Heirloom Tomato Salad several weeks ago to go with my Misoyaki Salmon. I used some beautiful heirloom tomatoes of assorted shapes, colors and sizes. I tossed them an a light lemon-miso vinaigrette along with steamed edamame, scallions and a chiffonade of shiso leaves. It made a lovely accompaniment to the salmon. There are no hard and fast measurements for this dish. As with most of my salads, I just throw in what I have and toss it all together. Hopefully, the next time I make it, I'll be able to use my own tomatoes, grown with love from my fathers seeds.
Edamame & Heirloom Tomato Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette (Printable Recipe)
2 pounds assorted ripe heirloom tomatoes
1 pound steamed and shelled edamame
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh shiso leaves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon light miso paste
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Put all salad ingredients into a bowl. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon juice and miso paste. Whisk in the canola and sesame oils.
Toss salad with the dressing and serve.
BLOGIVERSARY BASH UPDATE!!!
Submissions for the 1st Annual SGCC Blogiversary Bash have been rolling in. My mouth has been watering as I've been going through them. This is going to be one fabulous buffet! Thanks to all of you who have already sent in your entries. They are wonderful!
There is still plenty of time to RSVP for the party. You can find all of the details here. I'd love to see you all there. The more, the merrier!
The other day, I told you about the Flip Ultra Video that I'll be giving away to one lucky guest. I've also got some other great party gifts lined up, and I'd like to reveal a few more of those to you now.
Christopher Styler's Working the Plate: The Art of Food Presentation is a step-by-step recipe manual for home cooks interested in making their dishes look as good as they taste. In the book, Styler describes seven distinctive plating styles, from Minimalist to Naturalist to Dramatic, with several examples of each. Each plating suggestion is accompanied by clear instructions and color photos of step-by-step instructions and finished plates. The book also includes essays on plating from ten leading chefs and recipes for the dishes featured. Working the Plate is sure to be a great addition to any food blogger's library!
Who hasn't heard of Martha Stewart's Cookies? It is fast becoming an indispensable resource for bakers. Cleverly organized by texture, this book contains 175 recipes and variations that showcase all kinds of flavors and fancies with detailed recipes and lush photos. Just in time for the Holidays, one lucky party guest will take this one home!
With football season upon us, everyone will want this great cookbook. Team by team and city by city, the NBC Sunday Night Football Cookbook celebrates the special dishes, unique flavors, and most famous chefs of the NFL's 31 cities. Among the all-star chefs contributing recipes are Daniel Boulud, Jean-Robert de Cavel, Christopher Wilson, Susan Goss, and more. No tailgate party would be complete without this culinary playbook, and it could be yours!!!
Now, if all this isn't enough to spur you into action, I've still got a few more tricks up my sleeve to be revealed later. The thing is, you can only be eligible to win one of these party gifts if you bring a dish or drink to the party! So, what are you waiting for?