From the Garden this Week…
From the Garden this Week…
Summer Squash, Sweet Peppers, Cucumbers, Carrots, Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Green Onions, Basil and Cantaloupe
Coming Soon…Butternut Squash, Spaghetti Squash
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
As much as I avoid a warm soup on a hot day, I found this recipe for a corn soup on the website of famed Chef, David Lebovitz, from Chez Panisse, and couldn’t resist sharing it to use our wonderful sweet corn. This recipe highlights the wonderful combination of corn and peppers. He explains the simple process of creating a corn “broth” from the corn cobs. You could skip this step, but it is so easy that I would do it. If you don’t want to bother, just use water or vegetable broth.
Corn Soup (from David Lebovitz)
3 ears fresh corn
1 sweet pepper
1 hot pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons butter
1 small red onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder or smoked paprika
1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream
Chopped fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Shuck the corn and holding each ear of corn vertically over a baking sheet, use a chef’s knife to slice of the kernels of corn. (Reserve the cobs.) Remove the stem of the peppers, slice them lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Dice the pepper into pieces the size of the corn kernels. Toss the corn kernels and pepper with the olive oil and salt, spread evenly on the baking sheet, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times – roasting until the corn just starts to brown a bit. While the corn is cooking, cut the cobs into 4 pieces and put them in a saucepan with the water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 30 minutes over low heat, to extract the corn flavor. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the roasted corn and peppers to the pot, then strain the corn cob liquid into the pot as well. Stir in the chipotle powder or paprika, and bring to a boil, turn off the heat and add the milk or cream. Taste for salt. Top each with chopped basil.
Chef Courtney is doing her magic with our produce again! Specifically speaking, she has pickled our sweet and hot peppers for a fabulous dish out at Churchkey in Modesto. Check out the new summer cuisine she has cooked up. She did an amazing burger with our peaches and has something very special in store for you using our sweet as cotton candy watermelon! Thank you Chef Courtney and Churchkey for all your amazing support of our Charitable Garden!!
Tzatziki is a Greek yogurt sauce that is a great topping for meat, but also makes a nice substitute for ranch dressing as well as a dip for pita chips and carrot sticks. Try it as a sandwich spread or in a wrap or on a hamburger instead or mayo. It also works as a salad dressing that would be great tossed with some sliced tomatoes. The traditional herbs used are parsley and mint, but our basil is a perfect substitute.
1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon salt
Grate the whole cucumber on a box grater. Place the grated cucumber in a strainer and let the moisture start to drip out. Squeeze the cucumber vigorously to remove more and more water. Squeeze a handful at a time and remove it to a large mixing bowl. Add the yogurt, olive oil, herbs, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to the bowl, and stir to blend. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Taste and add lemon juice, and/or salt, if necessary. Serve tzatziki immediately or chill for later. Leftover tzatziki keeps well, chilled, for about 4 days.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul….by Anna Hazen
Here in the Central Valley we are right in the middle of sweet, juicy peach season. And humans aren’t the only ones enjoying the peaches! Many critters recognize the value of a nice ripe peach - beetles, ants, birds, even a spider now and then nestled in a hollow carved out by an earlier visitor.
As a human who plants and tends the trees in my backyard, it is easy for me to wish these various creatures away, calling them pests and seeing them as valueless nuisance. But is it presumptuous of me and us as humans to claim the whole harvest for us? How much of the earth’s bounty is “enough” for us? How much are we willing to share?
The earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of pretty much every category of living things - from insects up to mammals. While the idea of not having pests that feed on “our” peaches might seem like a good thing, it is all too easy to forget who and what actually makes the peaches grow. It is not us as humans but the very Spirit of God who works through billions of bacteria, fungi in the soil, pollinating and decomposing insects, rays of the sun and the composition of air—all these things make the peaches grow! I think of sharing part of the harvest with the rest of the ecosystem (yes even the bugs) as an act of gratitude for all the earth has given me, and all that God has given all of us. So the next time you see a bug in your bag, whisper a word of gratitude for its part in the growth process!