You may presume your third-floor walk-up to be too small and dark to grow herbs and lettuces. But Amy Pennington thinks otherwise.
In clear, straightforward prose backed by scientific explanations and the Seattle gardener’s hard-won expertise, Pennington’s new book, Apartment Gardening, will turn your home into a mini greenhouse. Learn to cultivate such urban delicacies as kitchen-counter pea sprouts and windowsill microgreens. Pennington gives practical advice on maximizing sun exposure, choosing container-amenable plant varieties, and tending to your plantscape.
The book also provides suggestions for making the most of your summer bounty. Recipes include seared pork chops and fennel blossoms with fig-lovage relish, beauty tonics like mint facial toner, and instructions on homemade drink mixers.
And here’s a recipe that’s not in her book.
Strawberry Vinegar Fizz
Serves twelve to fifteen
12 oz. strawberries, hulled and chopped
1 c. sugar
2/3 c. champagne vinegar
1. Combine strawberries and sugar. Macerate overnight or for at least 1 hour (make sure all sugar is dissolved).
2. Pour strawberries and their juice into an electric blender. Start on the chop speed and work your way up to puree.
3. Strain through a chinois (a conical sieve with an extremely fine mesh) to remove seeds. Do this once or twice more, so the puree is extra smooth and not pulpy. Stir in vinegar and store in a glass jar in the fridge (for up to several weeks).
4. To serve, fill an 8-oz. glass with ice and seltzer. Add 1-2 tbsp. of strawberry vinegar (to taste). Stir to combine.
5. For an excellent adult beverage, add 1 oz. of gin. (Aviation or Hendrick’s works nicely.)
Available at The Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 Tenth Avenue (206-624-6600 or elliottbaybook.com), $19.
Photo: Courtesy of Amy Pennington