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From the Garden this Week, July 8, 2021...

From the Garden this Week…

Summer Squash, Zucchini, Onions, Green & Purple Beans, Tomatoes, Hot Peppers, Radishes, Bell Peppers, Carrots, Beets, Lettuce, Basil, Pluots, Nectarines, and Flowers

Coming Soon…Eggplant

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno

This week I needed a recipe to feed a crowd but I didn’t want to work at it. Fortunately, the summer produce lends itself to full flavored summer combinations. I found a tub of marinated mini fresh mozzarella balls at Costco and was able to add even more flavor into the salad to complement our summer tomatoes and basil. This salad comes together in a few minutes. I stretched it out by adding the pasta, but you can leave it out or substitute another starch or even white beans would be a good addition. I added more flavor and depth with the kalamata olives. You can cut large tomatoes or use whole cherry tomatoes and save the time of cutting. If you use marinated fresh mozzarella and artichokes, just make sure to taste before adding the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Add these ingredients at the end, as desired, to suit your taste.

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes and Basil

½ pound penne pasta, cooked until al dente

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved or large tomatoes cut into a large dice

1 cup mini fresh mozzarella balls

½ cup basil leaves, gently chopped or torn

½ cup chopped artichoke hearts

¼ cup chopped kalamata olives

2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until done. Remove the pasta from the water and let cool slightly. Add the pasta to a large mixing bowl and combine with the remaining ingredients. Stir to mix and taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.


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Zucchini Bread…

I love the idea of a sweet bread using vegetables. Unfortunately, sometimes the recipes work too hard at being healthy. If I am going to make a sweet quick bread, I am not worried about being healthy, I’ll just eat vegetables for lunch and dinner. When I saw the idea for a lemon zucchini bread, I was ready to indulge. Because I am out of fresh lemons, I used about 4 teaspoons of mashed preserved lemon to add in the lemon flavor and omitted the salt in the recipe.

Lemon Zucchini Bread

2 cups flour

1 ½ cups sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

3 eggs

2 cups grated zucchini

¾ cups oil

Zest and 2 teaspoons of juice from one lemon

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease two 8x4 inch loaf pan. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate large bowl beat the eggs and add in the zucchini, oil and lemon juice and zest, mix well. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix gently to moisten. Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake for about 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul… By Ronda May Melendez

The grapes in my garden are prolific this year. Color is developing, as is sweetness with the heat we have been experiencing here in the valley. This is great news to me, as I quite enjoy grapes.

It has come to my attention this morning, however, that our grapes have been underwatered. Not just this year, but every year since we planted them!! And not just a little underwatered, severely underwatered! This explains A LOT. The grapes historically have been very small and have underproduced. I am baffled at how we missed something so vital to their growth. It strikes me that we looked for abundance and growth without realizing that something imperative to said abundance and growth was so lacking.

To this end, I’ve been pondering the importance of water. Water cleanses and refreshes. It lubricates and invigorates. It allows for the proper flow and delivery of nutrients, while, also, removing waste. In short, it is a vehicle of life.

It also occurred to me that too much water causes root rot, just as too little impedes growth. Going overboard can kill them. So, we must find the balance needed for them to grow properly.

There is a lesson in this to be gleaned. Do we look for a balanced way to come alongside others? If we want to become vehicles of growth and life, we can ask ourselves whether we are giving too little or too much of ourselves. Do we refresh others in their times of struggle? Do we bring encouragement and hope? Do we get to know others well enough to see how well they are “watered”, perhaps offering them more encouragement to relieve areas of strain? It seems to me the Lord gives each of us gifts with which to “water” the land of those around us. Do we do it with knowledge and wisdom, understanding that healthy growth comes with balance?


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