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From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - August 3, 2023

From the Garden this Week… Carrots, Swiss Chard, Summer Squash, Slicing & Armenian Cucumbers, Heirloom Tomatoes, Sweet & Hot Peppers, Lettuce, Beets, Green & Red Onions, Basil, Bay Leaf, Dill Heads, Nectarines, Plums, Peaches & Grapes

Using Your Produce… by Julie Moreno

Last week I had my recipe for Pico de Gallo. It’s a classic combination of tomatoes, onions, and peppers, but it requires a lot of chopping. Today’s recipe is my other favorite salsa. It’s perfect when we have so many tomatoes available. I char the tomatoes and vegetables, then blend everything in a food processor or blender. I like to remove the tomato skins halfway through cooking. When the tomatoes start to cook, the skins will naturally pull away from the flesh. Simply pull the skins off and then continue to cook the tomatoes until they are blackened.

Roasted Tomato Salsa

6-9 medium tomatoes

3/4 cup coarsely chopped onion

1-3 hot peppers, stems and seeds removed

2 cloves garlic

1 cup cilantro, leaves and small stems

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

* Preheat your broiler to high. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the stem end (it doesn’t matter if you cut them lengthwise or crosswise). In a foil lined 9x13 inch pan, place garlic, onions, peppers on the bottom and the tomato halves on top with the cut side up. Place the baking sheet under the broiler and broil for about 10 minutes until the tomato is charred. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the tomatoes over. Remove the skins from the tomatoes and then broil in the oven for another 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are blackened.Remove the vegetables and let cool slightly. In a food processor or blender, blend the roasted vegetables, cilantro, salt, and pepper, pulsing to combine about 1 minute. Serve with tortilla chips.

Refrigerator Pickles

Do you desire a delicious, crisp Dill Pickle? You can make, and eat, these a jar at a time using any kind of cucumber. We have most ingredients in your basket today. For some reason, our pickling cucumbers have been bitter, so use the slicing cucumber or striped Armenian cucumbers. Since the recipe requires no hot brine or water bath canning treatment, even the softer Armenian cucumber will stay crisp.

Easy Fridge Pickles Recipe: slice 1 medium cucumber into coins or spears to fit into a jar. Add one or two peeled whole cloves of garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and one dill head (or less, your preference). Cover with ½ cup of water and ½ cup of vinegar. Add a pinch of red chili flakes or one of our hot peppers. Refrigerate at least 24 hours and enjoy. They will last for months in the refrigerator, and you can keep adding cucumber to the brine. Top off the jar with an equal amount of water and vinegar as needed. You can do the same pickling with carrots and peppers - just add fresh red onion and a pinch of dried or fresh oregano. Crispilicious!

Vegetable Noodles…

Spiralizers are a fun kitchen tool that makes noodles out of vegetables, but you really don’t need any special tools for the task. To quickly “noodle-ize” zucchini, I use the large holes on my box grater. You can even use a knife to cut thin strips or a vegetable peeler to make thin shavings.

Zucchini Noodles

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

½ cup chopped tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes

2-3 summer squash, shredded, shaved, or spiralized

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add garlic to the pan, stir and cook quickly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the shredded zucchini and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, cooking for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, basil, and fresh ground pepper.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul….

Cheeky Peppers

by Ronda May Melendez & Keith F Martin

Working in the heat among the peppers, I realized something I had never know before. Peppers - especially those fiery mouth-burning ones - are sensitive and stubborn, at the same time! When I tried to pick those peppers, they refused to let loose, despite showing themselves ripe and ready to serve! Peaches, when ripe for harvest, yield readily to a gentle touch and drop willingly into the harvester’s hand, but not peppers. Peppers resist picking. Yes, some did yield, but only after a firm and prolonged tug, while others snapped in two or remained intact but broke off part of the branch that grew them. Such cheeky behavior caused me quite the cognitive dissonance!

Those peppers were certainly ready to pick - looked and felt fully ripe – yet were resistant, breaking themselves or their support to pieces during the picking. That just wasn’t right, seemed impudent, I’d say, so I enjoined them in fierce battle that resulted in unspeakable carnage, until I developed a work around. With my left hand I held the branch firmly and close to the targeted pepper, and with the right I pulled gently with a little twist, and off it came. Win, win. The fruit remained intact and the branch remained in place – a successful separation.

We humans show signs of ‘cheeky pepper syndrome’, too. We may be ripe and ready to serve, but when time comes for yielding up our produce – God-grown gifts and talents - we find it hard to release that fruit into the hand of the harvester or we fall to bits when we are challenged to serve it up. Resisting, we cling to our fruit as the branch does the pepper, damaging it or our own structural integrity.

God has planted us to bear much fruit, and He harvests it at the proper time for His good purposes. Be assured of this: You may confidently yield to the Master’s gentle touch. Just as I bore up the structure of the branch to maintain the integrity of both pepper and plant as I harvested, God bears us up, too, so our branch remains productive and our fruit goes forth intact.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

... you are the branches; he who abides in Me

and I in him, he bears much fruit,

for apart from Me you, can do nothing.”

John 15:1,5


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