From the Garden this Week…
From the Garden this Week…
Tomatoes, Watermelon, Green Onions, Potatoes, Carrots, Summer Squash, Yellow Beans and Dragon’s Tongue Beans, Cucumbers, Bell Peppers and Hot Peppers, Nectarines, Peaches, Pluots and Mint
Coming Soon...Other Melons and Eggplant
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
Right now, our squash and cucumbers are slowing down in between plantings. We will still have a few for each basket, but it seems a nice respite as the tomatoes are coming on strong. This week, we will have a big harvest of tomatoes again so I included a recipe for Gazpacho, the Spanish chilled tomato soup. This has been one of my favorite foods to learn about and eat. It is cool and refreshing in the warm weather. You can serve it as a main course and garnish it with cubed avocado and shrimp or serve it as a side dish, in place of a vegetable or salad. To me this is really a salad from the blender. I included the bread cubes that will help to give it more texture, but you can omit them if you want to have less gluten and carbs. It is better made ahead of time, then refrigerate for at least a few hours to chill, but I eat it straight from the blender and enjoy it both ways.
3 large tomatoes, core removed
2 small bell peppers, seeds and stem removed
¼ cup onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove
1 small cucumber
1 jalapeno pepper (optional)
½ cup French or sourdough bread cubes (optional)
¼ cup almonds
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 teaspoons wine or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup water
Blend all ingredients together in the blender until liquefied. Chill if desired and serve. This will make about 20-24 ounces, enough for 2 to 3 8-ounce servings. If you need more, feel free to increase ingredients to your taste.
Roasted Tomato Salsa
8-10 large tomatoes
1 cup onion, coarsely chopped
2-4 hot peppers, stems and seeds removed
2 cloves garlic
1 cup cilantro, leaves and small stems
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Preheat your broiler to high. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the stem end (it doesn’t matter if you cut them lengthwise or crosswise). On a foil lined baking sheet, place the tomato halves with the cut side up. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and broil for about 8-10 minutes until the tomato is charred. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the tomatoes over. Remove the skins from the tomatoes and then broil in the oven for another 8-10 minutes, until the tomatoes are blackened. Remove the tomatoes and let cool slightly. In a food processor, blend the roasted tomatoes, onion, peppers, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper, pulsing to combine about 1 minute. Remove the salsa from the food processor and serve with tortilla chips.
I rarely do more to fruit than to eat it fresh out of hand. If I can’t eat everything, I cut and freeze it to make smoothies later or dehydrate it so that I have sweet snacks. When you have a lot of fruit, like this time of year, this salad makes a refreshing side dish alongside grilled chicken or a sandwich for lunch.
Watermelon Cucumber Feta Salad
3 cups watermelon cubed or balled
1 cucumber, sliced
2 tablespoons basil, thinly sliced
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
Place the watermelon, cucumber and basil in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the melon mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle with feta and serve.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul...by Ronda May Melendez
When I arrived at the garden this last week, I was struck by the beauty of a row that volunteer Heidi C. was diligently cultivating. As I harvested the green beans, I questioned the merits of the soil being cultivated and if the sunlight had benefits for the newly turned soil.
We know that the soil benefits from aeration in the cultivation process. Here in the garden as the rows are cultivated, often fertilizer and minerals are added as amendments. Softening of the land occurs in these processes, in order to prepare the soil for seed.
The beauty of the freshly turned soil in the sunlight continued to play in my mind. Was there specific value? Apparently, yes! It has tremendous impacts on the soil, as it helps kill particular bacteria, fungi, nematodes (microscopic worms that feed on plants), weeds and more. This becomes particularly beneficial when the soil is “solarized”, which means that it is wet well, covered in the “blur” of clear plastic during the hottest part of the summer for four weeks. Ironically, according to Texas A&M, this method works best on “heavy soils” that contain clay, loam or a mixture of the two, as these are able to hold water better, producing more steam in the heat of the day. There is even a chemical interchange between water and sunlight that determines which crops grow better where!
Maybe life seems blurry, blazingly hot, or suffocatingly humid in the turmoil of the present situations. Perhaps it feels like this is all it will ever be. It isn’t true, friends. Life changes, moment by moment. The clay of our hearts is being softened; those “buggies”, which are detrimental, are being removed and appropriate crops are being determined. The days of harvest are coming, if we hold fast!