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From the Garden this Week…

From the Garden this Week…

Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Mixed Lettuce, Cucumbers, Carrots, Potatoes, Green Onions, Arugula, Radishes, Dill Weed and Basil

Coming Soon…Peppers, Tomatoes, Garlic, Onions

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno

As summer is heating up our leafy greens will cool down, and this becomes the time for what I like to call “vegetable salads”. Lettuce doesn’t have to be the centerpiece of your salad, and this is the key to eating in season, here in the central valley. Try grilling your squash and green onions on the barbeque and then marinate the cooked squash and onions with balsamic vinegar and olive oil while they cool. The grilled squash is great the next day on a sandwich or tossed with other vegetables. Try boiling your green beans and potatoes ahead of time and then you can throw them together with olives and tuna for a simple salad Nicoise. When it comes to cucumbers, they are a salad by themselves, when tossed with a sliced red onion. Season the onion and cucumbers with a sprinkle of red chili flakes, sugar, salt, rice vinegar or wine vinegar. This is so easy you can enjoy it over and over again.

Cucumber Salad

1-2 cucumbers, peeled if desired

¼ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon sugar

½ cup sliced red onion

¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

2 teaspoons rice vinegar or white wine or red wine vinegar

Cut the cucumber in half from top to bottom and the slice each piece, with the flat side down on your cutting board, into thin half-moons. In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, salt, sugar, red onion, red chili flakes and vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes and then enjoy.

When Less is More

One of our first and very precious volunteers, Wendy Miller, has been an incredible woman of faith when it comes to our garden production. Each week, I would lament that we might not have enough produce. Each week, she would gently remind me of God’s faithfulness to fill our baskets. And she has been right! In fact, the only complaint we have had from our subscribers is that there is just too much in their produce bags to eat during the week! No one wants the produce to go to waste so Julie Moreno, our Garden Coordinator and Culinary Professional, will be giving some tips on how to prepare and eat all your produce. You may see a slight reduction in the content of your produce but we promise you will still be getting a very good return on your investment in fresh summer produce. We are planning to close your plastic liner in your purple tote with a tie each week just to remind us that less is actually more.

Simple and Fresh Summer Eating …

My love affair with classic dishes continues. This is a perfect way to combine the harvest this week. Except of course for the tomatoes, we will have them in a week or two. I left them in the recipe, but if you make this, this week, I would just leave them out, there are plenty of other ingredients to complete the dish.

Tuna Nicoise Salad

1/3 cup lemon juice or red wine vinegar

3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp finely chopped shallot or onion

2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano or tarragon

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound yukon gold or red potatoes, cooked and sliced

1 small head lettuce, chopped and washed

1 cucumber, sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 pound beans, trimmed and blanched

1/4 cup niçoise olives, chopped

8 ounces fresh grilled tuna steak or 1 can of tuna

3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise

Combine the lemon juice, oil, onion, herbs, mustard, salt and pepper together and shake in a jar or whisk in a bowl. In a very large mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, beans and olives. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Serve on a large platter and top with the eggs and tuna. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

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

Practicing the Presence of Godis a little gem of a book that contains the conversations and letters of Brother Lawrence, also known as Nicholas Herman of Lorraine. After being both a soldier and footman in France in the 1600s, he was admitted as a lay brother in the bare-footed Carmelite order of monks at Paris in 1666. Catholics and Protestants share this rich history of both men and women of faith who came to understand that every day tasks can become prayer and all that we do can be a way of glorifying God. My friend Ronda Melendez volunteers her time in our garden whenever she can on Mondays and this week she told me she was looking forward to using the time to pray. She and I both spent time weeding our new strawberry patch and I was reminded of a wonderful quote by Brother Lawrence. He served in the kitchen at his monastery. Contrary to the notion that monastics only prayed on their knees, Brother Lawrence made prayer a much more accessible practice for lay people. It was observed of him “that in the greatest hurry of business in the kitchen, he still preserved his recollection and his heavenly-mindedness. He was never hasty nor loitering, but did each thing in its season, with an even, uninterrupted composure and tranquility of spirit. “The time of business”, said he, “does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility, as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.” For centuries, monastic orders of men and women have found that work and prayer go together. The Latin words are “Ora (prayer) et (and) Labora (work)” and there are literally volumes written about this. Colossians 3:23-25 says it this way, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”

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