We joined a community garden again this year. We really enjoyed our experience at the communal garden we were a part of three summers ago but it was just too far away from our home for us to want to join again. When a farmer in a neighboring town, only about ten miles from where we live, opened up his land to the same community program that oversees these gardens here in Germany, we jumped at the chance to join in. We were lucky to get a strip of the garden near the end which makes watering easier, since it’s close to the water tank, but we actually haven’t had to water all that much in the past few weeks because it’s been raining quite a bit around here lately! The nice thing about having a plot in a community garden is that the farmer who owns the land tills and plants the rows for you and then the rest is up to you. We also have tools and watering cans at our disposal, that we all share so we don’t have to bring our own every time we come. Water is also provided, which can be a big burden if you don’t have a source nearby. A shared garden is a nice concept if you don’t own your own land or have a large yard, which is the case for us right now. Being part of a community garden has allowed us the luxury of being able to grow our own produce, on a large scale, without the expense of having to own land and all the equipment that you would need in order to maintain it. Anna has really been enjoying our trips to the garden lately too!
Do your tomato plants look as bad as mine do this time of year? But do they still have plenty of partially ripe and/or unripe tomatoes on them? This weekend I plan to harvest all the tomatoes that are left on my wilted plants and bring them inside for a little TLC. I’ll leave the ones that aren’t ripe yet on my window sills to ripen and the others, which aren’t as flavorful now as their lovely predecessors were, are going into the oven for a makeover. It is amazing how wonderfully delicious tomatoes become after half an hour to forty-five minutes in a very hot oven. It’s quite a transformation. But don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself you’ll be surprised!
Tomato & Eggplant Soup
Slightly adapted from Tartelette
About 10 medium sized Tomatoes (or lots of Cherry/Grape Tomatoes)
2 large or 4 small Eggplants
1 large head of Garlic
Salt and Pepper
Heat the oven to 450° F or 230° C. Wash and cut the top end off of each eggplant and then slice them in half the long way. Wash and cut the tomatoes in half and cut out the hard core near the top. Line a baking sheet with parchment (baking) paper and place the eggplant and tomatoes cut side up on the tray. Cut the top off of the garlic so that you can see the inside of each clove, but don’t cut too much off! Place this on the tray with the others. Cover everything with a liberal amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 30-45 minutes until everything is golden brown and soft. Let everything cool slightly, until you can handle the garlic. Remove the garlic from its casings and then carefully transfer everything* to a blender (in batches) along with the drippings from the pan. Blend until smooth. Add a little bit of water if the soup is too thick in the blender. Serve garnished with sun dried tomatoes and/or a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.
*You can easily remove the skins from the tomatoes at this point and if you prefer no bits of skin you should remove them before transferring everything to the blender.