From the Garden this Week, June 3, 2021...
From the Garden this Week…
Summer Squash, Onions, Zucchini, Green Onion, Swiss Chard, Carrots, Head Lettuce, Beets, Radishes, Mesclun Greens, Rosemary, Lavender and Cherries
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
The onions are here. The ubiquitous vegetable of the culinary world. Many recipes, including mine, start out with sauteing an onion in a little fat. This simple starting point mellows the sulfur compounds and makes the sugar noticeable and begins the browning that enhances almost any dish. Onions live in piles at the grocery stores and on counters at home. But all the onions come out of the ground once a year in the late spring and the remaining portion of the year they come out of storage. Right now, we recommend storing the onions in the fridge until you are ready to use them. Keep them in a sealed bag or container so that their aroma doesn’t permeate your fridge. We will cure some of our harvest by drying them in the summer heat, so we have them through the summer months and these will last longer on the counter. I included a recipe for caramelized onions. Use the caramelized onions as a condiment on chicken, a burger or steak or even baked beans. Enjoy them toping a piece of sourdough toast or bake puff pastry sheets, topped with the caramelized onions and bleu or goat cheese. If you use butter you will want to make sure you are serving the onions warm, after cooking and cooling the onions, the butter will be noticeable when cold.
2-3 large onions (red, white or yellow doesn't matter)
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup dry white wine or dry sherry or water
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
Slice the onions lengthwise, from the root to tip. In a large pot, cook the onions with the oil or butter over medium-low heat, until the onions are brown, about 45-60 minutes. (Occasionally add a little water, if necessary, to keep from burning.) Add the thyme, wine, salt and pepper. Scrape the bottom of the pan and cook until the wine is nearly evaporated. Let the onions cool or refrigerate for up to one week.
Grab a hammer and some apricots kernels, folks!
Our apricot trees are bejeweled with nearly-ripe fruit and we wanted to prepare you for their imminent bounty by proposing a new culinary project: homemade almond extract!
Despite its name, almond extract can alternatively be made with the kernels (here’s where we use that hammer, you’ve got to liberate the kernel from the inside of the pit!), an alcohol of your choice and a few months of patience. Here’s a good step-by-step guide online: https://nourishedkitchen.com/noyaux-almond-extract/.
My favorite way to cook in the summer is to grill. It keeps the heat outside and it reduces the number of dishes to clean up. When you start grilling, turn the heat on high and then clean the grill when it is very hot. For these vegetables, use high heat and cook them quickly. Don’t oil the vegetables, lightly grease your hot grill so the vegetables don’t stick, and cook them dry, then marinate them afterwards like in the recipe here, so the flavor soaks in.
Grilled Summer Squash
2-3 summer squash, cut into thick slices
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Prepare your barbecue for grilling or preheat the broiler to high heat. Grill the squash until slightly browned on each side and softened, about 2-4 minutes. Remove from the grill and place on a plate in a single layer. Season with salt, pepper and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Let the squash marinate for at least 5-10 minutes. Arrange the squash on a serving platter and top with feta cheese if desired.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul… By Cindi J. Martin
The Teaching Tree
We have an early ripening apricot tree on the plot of land from which we harvest. The first to ripen, I have often picked its fruit based on its beautiful rosy orange, sun kissed color. But I have been deceived by the appearance of ripe fruit. This tree has taught me that I must sweep any thoughts of picking from the tree until I begin to see fallen apricots on the ground. That is the first sign, that this tree has ripe fruit to offer. But even then, I must continue to wait patiently. The best apricots are the fallen apricots. Next, I must be willing to risk tart fruit if I dare to pick the fruit from the tree directly. The brightly colored but unripe fruit will yield to a harsh tug of my hand, but the taste will most assuredly be sour. Instead of grasping, I must simply test the ripeness of each apricot by gently touching a finger to the flesh of the apricot at its stem. If it is ripe, it will literally fall into my hand without a harsh pull. It simply yields to my gentle touch.
This is a metaphor to remind me how gentle the Master Gardener is with His human trees! He is patient with the unique needs of all His children. When we plant our families, homes, friends, ministries and careers, we have ideas about how they will look and the sweet ways they will taste upon maturity. I have definite feelings of entitlement when it comes to tasting the fruit from trees I have planted and cultivated. I do not believe that is wrong to want to enjoy the fruit of our labor. Even God talks about His own expectations of enjoying good grapes in the vineyard He planted. But God is patient and is not in a hurry for us to grow. He does not judge but outward appearance only.
I have realized that I often judge things to be ripe for the picking by appearance only. And then I am so quick to grasp at the fruit of my efforts. I pull and tug at people in my life and even demand that their lives produce the fruit suited to my tastes. And then, when the taste is bitter or sour, I marvel at their tart behavior toward me! Could I let them ripen on their own? Could I allow them even to fall from the tree to be enjoyed by others of God’s creation? What happens when I grasp and demand a particular outcome? What looked like it would be sweet turns sour in my mouth. Am I tempted to pull, tug, or even yank things into the basket of my life instead of allowing them to fall there of their own accord? Does this mean I cannot touch the sweet plantings in my life? Not at all. My prayer however is that I will come to people with more gentleness and patience. May I have the wisdom to enjoy their unique presence and wait for them to yield to the Lord’s gentlest touch of invitation.