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From the Garden this Week

From the Garden this Week…

Lettuce Heads, White Salad Turnips, Mixed Red and Green Lettuces, Spinach, Carrots, Celery, Parsnips, Spring Onions, Dill, Cilantro and Thyme

Coming Soon…Asian Greens, Salanova Lettuce, Sweet Peas, Garlic, Onions, Potatoes

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno

Spring is in full swing and that means greens. We will have lots of lettuce and other greens coming your way this week. These fresh and tender leaves don’t need a lot to make them sing. But first things first, if you don’t already own a salad spinner, this is the time to buy one. The best way to wash the greens is to dunk and swish them gently in a bowl of water. Then lift the greens out of the water and spin to dry. When you use a salad spinner you can do this in one step by, washing the greens in the spinner bowl with the strainer bowl inside, swish the leaves gently in the water, then lift the strainer bowl out of the water and use the water for a nearby plant. Spin the leaves in the spinner and store them dry. These greens don’t need a lot to taste great, but they do need salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and your choice of lemon juice or a nice vinegar. This is what all those fancy vinegars are for: white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar all will work well here. Believe it or not, the fewer the ingredients, the better they will taste! If you enjoy having more dressing on hand, make a big batch of one of the dressing below in a canning jar and store in the fridge for several meals.

Vinaigrette Dressing

1 clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon Dijon or whole grain mustard

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons good vinegar

4-5 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In a jar, combine the minced garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper and vinegar, shake well. Add the oil and shake again.

Ranch Dressing

½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt or buttermilk

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar

½ teaspoon dry powdered/granulated garlic or 1 garlic clove minced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Combine all the ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes, if possible.

Tap into Oil Power! Great Herb Oils using Chives, Dill, or Parsley!

Did you know that you can create wonderful herb oil with parsley or chives for tossing your salads, sautéing fresh greens, and even scrambling eggs? Just wash and dry one half cup of chives or herbs and puree well in a blender with one cup of olive oil or grapeseed oil. Pour the puree into a skillet and sauté on low heat for about 3 minutes until sizzling. Now strain the oil through a coffee filter on a strainer. Do not press the solids or your oil with become cloudy. I keep my herb oils in a bottle with a pouring spout at room temperature but refrigeration is recommended for fresh herb oils. If you do refrigerate, just be sure to allow the olive oil based herb oils to stand at room temperature before using. Enjoy!!

Adapted from Bon Appetit June 2013 pg.109.

Soup NOT from a Can

There are a few things that big food has messed up and one is cream of celery soup. Most canned soups are perfect, especially if you are sick and need a quick meal, but I can’t say I have ever been tempted to eat cream of celery soup on its own. Fortunately we have celery and this is the recipe to make if you have more than a couple stalks. This recipe will also use this week’s green onions and I included a parsnip to enhance the creamy texture (you can add more if you like). Now, enjoy what real food can taste like.

Cream of Celery Soup

2-3 green onions, green and white parts, washed and chopped

4-5 cups chopped celery

1 large parsnips, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons flour

2-3 cups water

½ cup half and half

In a large saucepan cook the green onions, celery, parsnips, butter, thyme and salt over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, if needed add a few tablespoons water to keep the vegetables from drying out. Add the flour and stir well to coat the vegetables. Add water, to just barely cover the vegetables, about 2 cups and bring to a boil and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until the celery and parsnips are soft. Remove from the heat and blend with an immersion blender. Stir in the half and half, taste for salt, pepper and eat. This is great reheated the next day.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul…by Cindi J. Martin, LCSW

The Genesis account of the Creation of human beings tells us that God fashioned us from the soil of the earth. For those who take the Bible seriously, we should not be surprised then, that there is a connection between well-being and spending time in nature. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science found quantifiable evidence that walking in nature could lead to a lower risk of depression. Specifically, the studyfound that people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area, as opposed to participants who walked in a high-traffic urban setting, showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression. In the study, two groups of participants walked for 90 minutes, one in a grassland area scattered with oak trees and shrubs, the other along a traffic-heavy four-lane roadway. Before and after, the researchers measured heart and respiration rates, performed brain scans and had participants fill out questionnaires. The researchers found little difference in physiological conditions, but marked changes in the brain. Neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, a brain region active during rumination – repetitive thought focused on negative emotions – decreased among participants who walked in nature versus those who walked in an urban environment.

What kind of “traffic” is going through your brain? If you find yourself consumed with negative thoughts and are feeling depressed or anxious, take time to walk and play where you can smell, see, hear, (even taste) and enjoy the healing power of your Creator’s nature.

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