Something extraordinary happens at this time of the year when comments are made about summer being already half over. And yet in the garden we feel like we’ve only just begun. Dalton, our stalwart master gardener [he studies plant biology but refuses to wear gloves leaving us to surmise that his books must be really dirty] is trimming and tipping and picking and digging everyday and we just can’t seem to keep up. We bring the garden right into the kitchen and with the inspiration of colors and shapes, flavors and textures come up with some pretty interesting things. One of our favorite bits are the covered mini-terrines that we fill with a pea or carrot inspired cold soups topped with a bit of tobiko caviar, a sprig of magenta spreen or a sassy nasturtium. Open the lid and inside’s the surprise. Guests seem to appreciate the compositions even if they look somewhat skeptically at their server who assures them that the blossoms are all edible. And it works. Very few flowers return to the kitchen headed for the compost bin. What’s best is the kick we get out of being able to serve tiny growing things that simply can’t be gotten at grocery stores or restaurants that don’t grow their own. We do and we love it. Sometimes it’s a simple platter of taste choices like blanched sugar snap peas, Chantenay carrots, white hakurei turnips and a sprinkle of peas on top of cold curried carrot soup. And sometimes it’s more complex like our cold poached salmon dijonnaise served on a bed of sweet, sour, bitter & tangy garden greens dressed with an almond butter vinaigrette spiked with maple syrup from nearby woodlands. We get our syrup from Jim Lord every year and he always saves us a few extra 4-liter jugs because he knows that inevitably we’ll run out before the end of the season. The hemerocallis is more than just a garish garnish. It is a delectable edible with a sweet core and a crunchy petal. And who doesn’t love a pickled poached egg on top. We’d put one on top of our desserts, but feel we should exercise some restraint. But we’re thinking about it. After all we put cheddar and blue cheese shortbreads on our plates along with prosciutto wrapped house smoked salmon and chive flowers. And then the most normal extraordinary things happen. The plates come back empty. We’re having fun with our food and we’re glad our guests are in on it. It’s mid-summer…and we’re just getting started.