From the Garden this Week - January 6, 2022
From the Garden this Week… Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli or Cauliflower or Bok Choy, Dino Kale, Bok Choy, White Salad Turnips, Fennel, Arugula, Radishes, Turnips or Rutabagas, Beet Greens, Baby Swiss Chard, Celery, Meyer Lemons
Coming Soon… Carrots
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
Winter and the garden make the perfect recipe for soup. This week’s fennel, celery and leafy greens can combine to start the base of the soup. Fennel’s flavor mellows when cooked and adds the signature Italian flavor to this soup which is like a winter minestrone. I wrote the recipe as vegetarian, but a small amount of Italian sausage or ham or even chicken would add flavor and body to the soup. Add ½ cup of cooked sausage or ham or 1 cup of cooked chicken at the same time as the tomatoes and beans.
Tuscan Bean, Fennel and Kale Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ small onion diced
½ cup diced celery
1 fennel bulb, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
1 -15 ounce can of diced
2 cups cooked beans (rinse
and drain if using canned, if
you cooked them yourself,
use the liquid too)
2-3 cups chopped kale
2-3 cups chopped greens
3-4 cups water or vegetable
or chicken stock
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
In a large soup pot heat the oil over medium heat, add the oil, onion, celery, fennel and oregano, season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir occasionally until the vegetables are soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans, and water/stock. Bring to a boil and then add the kale and greens, simmer for about 5-7 minutes until the greens are cooked. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve with Parmesan cheese.
“…On the 12th day of Christmas / My True Love gave to me…”
January 6th, the 12th day of Christmas, marks a more memorable arrival – Magi from the east to honor the birth of Christ, King of the Jews: “… When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:9-11) Their gifts were prescient, revealing the identity and nature of the newborn Child – gold, His Royalty; frankincense, His Priesthood; and myrrh, both His Deity and Humanity. He is King, Priest, and Holy Sacrifice, the perfect gift from our True Love. “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” (James 1:17)
Cooking radishes brings out their sweetness and calms the bite of radishes and turnips. This recipe works well for the small salad turnips coming this week to. Combine the two and even add in the larger root, rutabaga, or purple top turnip, just cut the root into bite sized pieces like the smaller radishes.
Sautéed Turnips and Radishes
1-2 bunches small turnips and radishes
1 tablespoon oil
½ teaspoon salt
salt and fresh ground black pepper
Remove the greens from the radishes. Slice the radishes in halves or quarters, so they are approximately the same size (larger radishes into quarters and smaller into halves). In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add the radishes and turnips and move them around so the cut side is facing down in the pan. Turn the heat down to medium, and leave them alone in the pan, letting the radishes brown for 4-5 minutes. Turn the heat to low, add ½ teaspoon salt and stir the radishes so that they cook on the other side about 2-3 minutes more. Taste and add additional salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul… Evergreens in the New Year by Ronda May Melendez
The New Year rang in for me in a tiny town in Arkansas. New Year’s Day skies were grey and humid. An unseasonable seventy degrees at the end of December provided my brother and I the opportunity to end the year fishing.
As we set up our fishing rods, I took in the surroundings. Unlike California, Arkansas is mostly grey and brown in the winter, except the evergreens. The lake is lined by evergreens and leafless deciduous trees. I note the images of the trees reflecting off the surface of the lake while appreciating the hum of a flock of ducks flying overhead. A crane perches itself on a partially submerged tree trunk in the middle of the lake. It is peaceful.
The vibrancy of the evergreens added beauty and life to what could only be described as an otherwise bleak landscape. Evergreens add a lot to our world. They cleanse carbon dioxide from the air. This is especially important during the winters here, as there is little else in terms of plant life that helps with that function. Evergreens also provide safety, warmth, and peace of mind. When properly panted alongside homes, they shield from sheer winds that could be detrimental, insulate against cold weather, and safeguard the refuge with privacy.
All of this brought me back to the human panorama. Is it not true of us, as well, that like the evergreens, we can provide beauty, protection, insulation, and help clean the proverbial air when the landscape of life is wintery and bleak? We have the light, life, and power of Christ to offer our world. May this New Year be chock full of ‘evergreens’, who bring the Good News of the Prince of Peace to our world, and may we be counted among them.