I do not mind a messy sock drawer, I can leave a bed unmade for days, I discard rejected outfits at the foot of my bed like a petulant teenager, and I have gotten a ‘talking to’ from Mr. Muddy Kitchen on more than one occasion for a used strand of dental floss hardened onto my sink basin like someone’s long lost iPhone 3 charger cord, but dang if I can’t stand a single germinating onion seed flung 1/8″ off course. That just doesn’t work for me.
Hello, my name is Jennifer Solow, and (in addition to my OCC) I am a Neurotic Vegetable Gardener (clap, clap).
So, as you might imagine, I am seriously excited about my newfound discovery: Seed Tape. And if you suffer from my particular disorder, you will be too.
Okay, so here’s the deal: the tape comes with pre-measured marks and with adhesive (already on there!) that holds just about any ordinary seed in place. The entire length of tape can be planted in the ground, seeded by you, whenever you feel like it. The tape then dissolves and the seeds are left to do their thing. I mean, hello!?
Why is this so great, you ask?
Imagine – me sitting on my ass, perhaps in my pajamas, in my comfy office, in January, February, March…hell, whenever! I meticulously place my seeds exactly where they need to go, hang them on a hanger in my office closet until I’m ready, then plant, in about 30 seconds, in the garden, in situ.
This was particularly great this year when April’s normally tolerable outdoor temperature turned unseasonably fra-eeeezing and I found myself amidst the charming snowflakes of, like, FEBRUARY!! Instead of freezing my paws off, I simply tweezed my seeds onto my seed tape, lounged around my fireplace, sipped sherry, lounged some more, then voila — planted my entire spring planting in minutes — without freezing my rosebuds off.
Of course, April food is a lot like November food, with lots of junk from the pantry, the last of the curly butternut squash, duck breasts from the freezer and glasses of yummy red vino. The good part is that I actually adore November food – duck breast, fatty junk, squash-something…all delightful! Even in April.
Duck breasts should sit in a puddle of salt in a pie plate for a while before searing, or so says Martha, for about 30 minutes, no more.
I don’t sear duck breasts too frequently so I forget the best way to do it every time. I always return to Martha, who seems to know best when it comes to poultry.
The first think to pop up in my garden is rhubarb. I always do the conventional thing and stew it up with a few strawberries, but the fact is, I love the rhubarb itself and always eat the rhubarb blobs out and forget about the other stuff. Rhubarb is divine.
It’s April. Too cold to plant. Too cold to get dressed. Too cold to wake up too much.
SEARED DUCK BREASTS WITH JUNK FROM THE PANTRY
A fair puddle of coarse sea salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small shallot, finely diced
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
7 ounces Bing cherries or a few spoonfuls of jam from the pantry
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
10 twists on the black pepper mill
1/2 tablespoon very cold unsalted butter