Frog’s Garden Heaping with Tomatoes!

FrontStoop Living on Main Street in Cold Spring has been a gift. It’s a charming town where we’ve fully savored getting to know residents and merchants. We’ve brought friends and family to visit our corner of the world for 6 years now. Needless to say, all that visit fall in love.

Last week we had an experience new to us. We made dinner with the produce of our neighbor’s garden. WHAT, a garden on Main Street?

Side gardenShoeOur neighbor, Phillip, affectionately called Frog, has a killa’ garden in a tiny plot of land- tucked between the back of a bar, the street, and the back of our apartment.

Frog, who is the honorary mayor of our quaint village, has 10 green fingers. Visitors are always checking out his sidewalk dressing. What they don’t know is that Frog’s sense of humor is hidden on the side street- with plants coming out of boots. Behind these boots and a tall wooden fence is Frog’s secret garden. He tends to a half dozen different kinds of flowers, and then there’s the produce. Eggplant, peppers, peas, herbs and tomatoes galore!

CIMG4330Last week Frog invited Michael and me to pick our own tomatoes. We entered, bucket in hand, and 45 minutes later, we had one of the most satisfying meals of the summer.

Here’s the recipe- take advantage and be fully mindful of the CIMG4327 CIMG4331last of the summer tomatoes at your local farmers market. Once they’re gone, we do a tomato fast until late next summer… when they reappear in our local farmers markets.

Frog’s Late Summer Garden Pasta – feeds 5

1T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 hot pepper, minced
1 cup white beans, rinsed
1 ½ quarts cherry tomatoes, halved – or 3lbs tomatoes, large dice
2 oz white wine
hot pepper flakes
s&p, to taste
2 oz chicken stock (or pasta water)
2 oz Serrano ham, thinly sliced (optional)
5 oz roast chicken, diced (optional)
1 cup chopped basil
2 T chopped tarragon
5 oz whole wheat penne pasta (cooked til al dente) – I make the whole box, and use the last of it for a quick meal.

Heat the garlic in oil under low-medium heat in a sauté pan for about 5 minutes. Add hot pepper and white beans, turn up heat to medium high. Toss a few times, cook for a minute, and add the tomatoes. Sautee until they surrender their juices, and the juices cook down- about 7 minutes. Add wine and stock (or pasta water) and simmer for a couple of minutes- the juices will thicken just a tad. Add s&p, pepperflakes, ham and chicken. Incorporate. Add basil, tarragon, and parm. Toss with pasta… and save room for seconds!

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