This past Mother's Day, I planted a little garden. Nothing fancy, just a tiny plot designed to be manageable for someone born without benefit of green thumbs. Vining tomatoes, eggplants, bush beans, herbs. Radishes, carrots, and a single St. Nickolaus grape tomato plant.
I did all the things gardeners are supposed to do: pull weeds, stake slender stems, venture out at midnight with tweezers and flashlight to pull an appalling array of slugs and bugs off my basil. And now, lo and behold, it's starting to pay off!
What an amazing thing it is to put a few minuscule seeds and shivering seedlings into the chilly soil of spring and see, just a few weeks later, an actually edible bounty emerge. It's so strange and wonderful to be this involved in process of feeding myself and my family. (Slugs and bugs notwithstanding.)
St. Nickolaus grape tomatoes growing . . .
I've reached an uneasy peace with the bunnies, who have pretty much left my new crop of cilantro alone in favor of the carrots that emerged once the radishes finished. I don't know what the groundhog eats, but he's there to stay, too. The giant moles have uprooted two pepper plants and an eggplant, but they supposedly keep the beetle population down, so they're here to stay as well. The hornworms . . . well, that's a story for another day. Suffice it to say, the good Lord has provided this organic gardener with a solution to at least one of her pestilence woes - no tweezers required.
Ripening on a sunny countertop . . .
Avocados patiently waiting for the tomatoes ripen
And finally, with ripe tomatoes and cilantro from my own garden, a basket of ripe avocados, and sweet red onion on hand, this salad came together for lunch one afternoon. In the unlikely event that you have leftovers, you might like to do as we did: Just mash the salad up with a little jalapeno sauce and use it to top off grill-sizzling cheddar burgers.
Ah, the joys of gardening.
Savory Avocado Salad
2 ripe avocados
1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lime
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
Bibb lettuce leaves, hollowed tomatoes, cilantro sprigs for serving (optional)
1. Peel and pit avocados. Dice and place in medium mixing bowl. Halve grape tomatoes and add to avocados in bowl.
2. Sprinkle chopped onion and cilantro over the avocados and tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir gently to combine.
3. Cover salad and let stand for 30 minutes - in refrigerator or at room temperature - to allow flavors to blend. Serve on lettuce leaves or in hollowed-out tomatoes. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro, if desired.
Mixing it up . . .