From the Garden This Week, December 9, 2021...
From the Garden this Week… Bok Choy, Spinach, Arugula, Leaf Lettuce, Daikon Radish, Broccoli, Parsley, Chives, Bay Leaf, Meyer Lemons, Fuyu Persimmons, and Pink Lady Apples
Coming Soon… Fennel, Rutabagas, Carrots
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
We have two types of broccoli right now and either one is great for this soup recipe. You can also substitute cauliflower or kale or spinach for the broccoli, or some combination of each. This soup recipe will use up the stems and leaves that are all edible parts of the plant. If you don’t have an immersion blender you can transfer the soup to a traditional blender and then pour it back in the pot to finish the soup and add liquid if you prefer to adjust the consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, I highly recommend asking Santa to help. They are inexpensive and don’t have a lot of parts to clean. I continue to find new ways to use them. Blending soup right in the pot is one of the best ways to reduce clean up. If you do like your soup chunky, feel free to just cut the vegetables small and you can mash with a potato masher to create a slight creamy texture.
Cream of Broccoli Soup
1 small onion, washed and
chopped, about ¾ cup
4 cups of broccoli, including
stocks and leaves, coarsely
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
2.5-3 cups water
½ cup half and half or milk
¼ cup grated Parmesan
In a large saucepan cook the onion, broccoli, butter, thyme, and salt over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Lower the heat to low, add the flour, and stir until blended for 20-30 seconds. Add water to barely cover the vegetables, about 2 cups, increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the broccoli is soft. Remove from the heat and blend with an immersion blender. Stir in half and half, adjust consistency if desired by adding a little bit of water. Taste for salt and pepper, add if needed. Ladle into serving bowls, top with the Parmesan cheese if desired and serve. This is great reheated the next day.
A Healthy, Merry Christmas Gift
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Always Dress your Greens…
This was one of my first restaurant lessons. We would garnish most plates with a small quantity of spicy greens like arugula, and even though we might only put a few tablespoons of arugula on a plate, we always had to add a light sprinkle of salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. This combination seasons the greens and enhances their flavors. This recipe is my vinaigrette for any of our greens. For simplicity or preference, you can omit the garlic and mustard, but never the salt, pepper, acid, and oil. This is the time to use your best oil.
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon Dijon or whole grain mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice, red or white wine 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.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul… by Ronda May Melendez
The fog lies low on the back roads of Oakdale today. Almond and peach orchards whiz past, and I am struck that finally it is looking a bit more like the Christmas season here in the valley. It is quite lovely, serene. The fog creeps along the ground. The air is brisk and clean. It is the feeling I associate with the onset of winter.
With almond trees surrounding me, I am reminded of another favorite time of year. February in the valley. The almond trees are in blossom, producing what I fondly call “Valley Snow”. It’s how I described what I saw to my children when they were younger and we would be driving through the orchards bedecked in white petals, many of which also covered the ground in thick layers of white.
In the middle of this winter-like morning, I am reminded that this blossoming happens during the wintertime! When all is colder, darker, and in some ways slower, the white blossoms are forming and preparing to make their beautiful entrance in the middle of a time not generally known for blossoms. Spring comes but has not yet been ushered in.
I am quietly thankful all is not lost in this colder, darker time of year. There is still One who sits on the throne, overseeing all of creation, making sure growth and beauty occur, though often quite outside of my notice. It is a kind gift, I think, a gift of hope when longing for something beautiful in the midst of a cold and dark landscape. It all unfolds without a lot of fanfare and can be easily overlooked. I wonder how many things in our lives unfold in a similar manner. It seems to me that a purposed cold and darkness and a quieting of our hearts and minds are required to appreciate the beauty.
“There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.” John 1:9-10