From the Garden this Week…
From the Garden this Week…
Broccoli, Cauliflower or Cabbage, Rutabagas, Baby Carrots, Leeks, White Celery Stalks, Arugula and Parsley
Coming Soon…Brussels Sprouts, Swiss Chard and Green Onions
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
The broccoli is ready. It seems no matter when we plant the seedlings all of the plants start to form heads at the same time. Of course, we have been picking heads for the last month and those plants have now started to form tender side shoots. Because we harvest everything by hand, it doesn’t take extra time for us to pick the shoots or the heads, so you might get a bag of shoots or one large head. (In a large farm a machine would come and cut the tops off, then the plant would be tilled into the soil.) The good news is that you can cook it all the same. Make sure to utilize the leaves and stems they are all edible and they all taste like broccoli. I’ve found that I even prefer the texture of the stem pieces over the florets. If you get a large head, peel the bottom portion of the stem before slicing and then roast all the pieces together. Roasting at high heat is my favorite way to cook broccoli. There is a trick to finding the right time and temperature so you don’t end up with too many burnt florets. Try, 425 degrees and 20 minutes to start, but you might want to adjust the temperature up or down 25 degrees. Every oven is different.
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets, about 4-5 cups
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Squeeze of half a lemon or a sprinkle of white wine or cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place broccoli florets in a large bowl, drizzle on the olive oil, salt, and pepper; toss thoroughly. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven spritz with lemon juice or cider vinegar, serve right away.
This week we are harvesting a few of the thinner ones to make room for the others. This is our first year trying to plant leeks in the summer for a winter harvest. They are a little bit hard for us to grow, because they need a long growing season without high temperatures. I am happy to have them now when we don’t have onions available. I use them just like an onion, but they are great on their own, and very sweet. They also don’t make you cry.
In this soup recipe, I use my favorite kitchen appliance the immersion blender to blend the soup at the end. It makes it easy, because you don’t have to chop the vegetables uniformly. You could add a quarter cup of cream or half & half at the end, but the rutabagas make this soup creamy on their own. Using the greens made the soup green, so you can always leave them out.
2-3 small leeks, sliced and washed
2-3 carrots, cut
2-3 rutabagas, peeled and cut
2-3 celery stalks with leaves, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, fresh or dried
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3-4 cups water
2 cups chopped greens, like rutabaga greens, cabbage or kale
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Over medium heat, add the leeks, carrots, rutabagas and celery with the oil to a Dutch oven or soup pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 6-7 minutes. A little caramelization is good, but if they start to brown too much, add a few tablespoons of water and reduce the heat to medium low. Stir in the thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes more. Add 3 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally 10 minutes. Add the greens and cook 3-4 minutes more. Turn off the heat and purée with an immersion blender in the pot or in batches in a regular blender. Adjust the consistency with extra water if desired. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Add the fresh herbs and serve.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul … by Ronda May Melendez
The rain is pouring this morning. Literally, pouring. Our celestial Host is sharing the resources of the heavens. It isn’t dawn yet. My home is dark, the only illumination lamplight gifted by the streetlamp standing guard outside the garden fence line.
The world is silent with the exception of the soothing sounds of falling rain. The plants are still… thirsty. It is a wondrous thing to observe. The precipitation is wrapping itself around each branch, leaf and tendril, as the plants stand open, receiving an abundance of refreshment in the middle of darkness.
This year has been a year of testing. Seemingly, the variations of the test have been endless and yet, we know, at least intellectually, that they will, in fact, come to an end. There will come a time of refreshment. This seems to be the message conveyed this morning as I watch what many would deem a ‘trial’. Isn’t that what the Eeyors within us tend to call a plump shower…a trial? It is dark, cold and they are being pummeled from the heavens! Nevertheless, they appear undisturbed; worshipfully receiving a gift that is arriving through the mechanism of discomfort and maybe, even pain.
Truthfully, it challenges me in the deepest part of my soul. This year has been difficult. The buffeting has felt violent, creating raw spaces, I was unaware even existed. Still, in the emotional, mental and spiritual darkness, under the roar of all that feels so threatening, I hear the call of One who is more powerful than it all. He extends an invitation to take refuge in Him; to emulate the cherry and fig trees in my garden, whose fruit has been stripped for the season… the herbs and the roses, whose provisions still come forth…to stand in the darkness and praise Him, knowing that this gift of rain is just one of many ways, He breaks through darkness to provide for His children. It may be dark and cold, but He will not leave us to fend for ourselves. He will provide refreshment in the middle of it all.