Garden report: Just imagine excited shrieking and jumping up and down.

This has just been one of those weeks, already, and I know I say that a lot but the contest last weekend made it so my sleep patterns are all wonky and since I have to do regular-person things now, like get up and feed the cat and go to work, it’s meant becoming really tired and regressing arthritically, which I am hoping I’ll be able to quell with tonight’s powerfully good sleep.

The contest and general chaos of our lives has also meant it’s been awhile since we were at the garden. You know what? I think gardening somewhere other than where you live is maybe the best way to do it, because every time you go it’s a surprise. A thrilling one, because every time we go now we’re pulling food out of the ground and taking it home, and today’s delights included carrots, a few beets, and my first two lemon cucumbers, which I am as proud of as if they were spiky little children.

Now, I know the carrot doesn’t look like much, and they all sort of look like that, but the thing is we didn’t follow the directions on the back of the seed packets because we were all, “WHATEVER! We know better. Pour them all into this short row here! Yay we’re gardening!” So a lot of our stuff is stunted due to growing around, under, or on top of its neighbours. Nick thinned the carrots out, and I did the same with the beets, so we’re going to let the remaining veggies go a little longer and see if they do better now that they’re not so crowded.

The cucumbers are the things I’m most excited about. They taste just like regular cucumbers, which is to their advantage, but they look really cool. I am currently eating them sprinkled with coarse salt and they are everything I hoped they would be.

I think my favourite thing about this summer has been this garden, and the joy will just keep on going now that we’ve planted root vegetables and celery that promise to mature sometime this winter.

I think I’ll ease off these run-downs on the progress of our muddy plot for awhile, as even Nick gets tired of my enthusiasm sometimes. But as we get more and more things, I’ll be sure to tell you all about what we’ve done with them. There will be exclamation points. And maybe some sentences in all-caps.

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Roasted tomato pizza.

We’re getting to the best time of the year now. The tomatoes that were so bright and lovely a few weeks ago are now mottled and sweet, and they beg to be roasted low and slow or stewed down for sauces, and since the air outside has cooled a bit I have no reason not to but oblige them. On Alana’s advice, I roasted a whole bunch of field tomatoes last week and stuck them in the freezer, but I still had a few romas, a hankering for bread and cheese, and a resurgence of old lady disease in my limbs, hands, back, and left big toe that made me not want to put in a lot of labour.

This post is mostly pictures, because I made my focaccia bread for the crust (all the ingredients up to the flour, plus salt – the recipe will make two pizzas if you’d prefer not to make one gigantic one), made pesto for the sauce, and roasted tomatoes for hours and hours to put on top. And then cheese. It’s also short because we made a trip to the garden … let’s just say this is a two-post night. (I know. I’m excited too.)

The aroma in the apartment was amazing, and a valid argument for always working from home. Tomatoes develop a sweeter taste as they roast down, but they smell almost meaty, with a lusty musk that is distinctive to this exact moment in the tomato season. Capture it while you can.

You can see how the light changed as the hours past while the pizza slowly came together. The focaccia crust isn’t the sort of thing you’d make on a weeknight ordinarily, but if you’re in no rush it’s perfect for homemade pizza.

There’s a lot to be said for homemade pizza, whether you dawdle over homemade, buy the dough from your favourite take-away place, or just get frozen dough from the grocery store. The advantage to using dough over a premade crust (other than not having to eat something that pretty much tastes like cardboard and has weird speckles of what you kind of recognize as “cheese” all over the thing) is that you get the smell of baking bread, which is the best thing about pizza, aside from all the cheese. Use whatever cheese you like, but (and this will seem completely out of character) I prefer low-fat mozzarella, because it’s stringier and I like my pizza cheese stringy.

The other thing about making your own pizza is that you get to put whatever you like on it, and you don’t have to feel crushing disappointment when Domino’s puts green peppers on anyway even after you told them how much you hate them. So, you get the satisfaction of the smell of bread baking, as much cheese as you want, whatever toppings you want, and nobody cries because there are green peppers.

And if tomatoes aren’t your thing, you should try this in October with butternut squash, rosemary, roasted garlic, and Gruyere. Holy crap, it will change your life. Try it and get back to me.