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From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - July 13, 2023

From the Garden this Week… Eggplant, Green & Purple Beans, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Red & Purple & White & Golden Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Red & Green Onions, Salanova Red & Green Lettuce, Hot and Sweet Peppers, Slicing & Armenian Cucumbers, Basil, Coriander & Fennel Seed, Anise Hyssop, Lemon & Golden Pluots

Using Your Produce… by Julie Moreno

Fennel is one of the traditional herbs in Italian cooking that I forget about. It appears as a background flavor that doesn’t stand out, but when missing you can tell it doesn’t taste right. Fennel adds a sweet and herbal flavor that is unique to itself, just like the fresh fennel bulb. Adding the fennel seeds to this pasta recipe, along with the basil will enhance our summer squash and bring lots of flavor to the mild eggplant.

Fresh Summer Pasta

8 ounces dry linguine or spaghetti

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 teaspoon salt, divided

2 summer squash, halved and sliced

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

¼ teaspoon freshly ground

black pepper

¼ cup dry white wine

½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese,

plus more for garnish

¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil

* Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 7 to 9 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and set it aside. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant and ½ teaspoon salt and stir, let it cook for 5-6 minutes until soft. Add the summer squash, fennel seeds, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper, cook stirring occasionally, about 3-4 more minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the reserved pasta water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, then toss to coat with the sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and basil, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Pesto! - We have abundant basil, so why not make a fresh pesto to enjoy with your favorite pasta. Pesto, pure and simple, presents a timeless taste of summer.

Traditional Pesto (Yield: 2 Cups)

2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)

2 tablespoons pine nuts (or walnuts, almonds) toasted and cooled

2 large cloves of garlic

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan

½ teaspoon of Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

* Directions: Combine basil, nuts, garlic, salt in a food processor and blend till finely minced. Machine running, slowly drizzle in oil and process until smooth. Add cheese and process briefly. Enjoy right away or store your taste of summer in fridge or freezer.

Using What You Have…

I love the Japanese chili-garlic edamame served as an appetizer at most sushi bars. Since we don’t grow edamame, I love to make this variant using green beans, which have a similar texture and taste. Eating local and seasonal is all about learning to use what we have.

Chili Garlic Green Beans

1 pound green beans, ends trimmed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup water

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

2-3 drops toasted sesame seed oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

* In a large sauté pan with a lid add the beans, garlic, oil, water, and salt. Heat covered over high heat until boiling, reduce the heat to medium and stir the beans around to even out the cooking. Place the lid on and steam for 2-3 minutes until crisp-tender. Remove from the heat and let cool with the lid off. In a small bowl, combine the sriracha, mayonnaise, toasted sesame oil. Remove the green beans from any remaining liquid saving the garlic with the beans. Toss the beans with the sriracha mayo and the sesame seeds. Refrigerate or enjoy right away.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul…

Bad Mound on the Rise

by Cindi J & Keith F Martin

Last week our gopher infestation hit critical mass. We had noticed brown mounds scattered among our vegetable rows but ignored them. We assumed that the lush beet and carrot greens guaranteed a plentiful and sweet yield. What a bitter surprise to find, as we began harvesting, mound after mound of “gopher dredging” hidden beneath the lush green foliage. Digging deeper, we discovered partially gnawed beets and carrots; we found holes once filled with newly planted pepper seedlings.

I couldn’t help thinking that life, at times, resembles a gopher infested garden. We walk among well-tended rows admiring the greenery but overlooking signs of trouble rising on the surface. Mounds develop in our marriage or parenting or work relationships or friendships, but we avert our gaze and walk around the brown piles. The mounds are small, to be sure, but not really enough of a problem to dig a little deeper to determine the damage. Why go looking for trouble, right? But trouble is already there, and it’s piling up! Is it worth the risk of checking with a dear friend about your sense that you may have offended her? Is it worth the effort to investigate your concern that the children are misusing social media or the internet? If you ask your spouse about the distance you feel in your marriage, you might discover that he or she has been hiding an increasing sense of disillusionment. Distance is a feeling too serious to ignore. It is worth the effort of digging before serious and lasting damage is done.

We may be fearful of what lies beneath a manicured surface. Digging there may expose damage or loss, may result in disappointment, discouragement, or disillusionment. In the end, though, the damage will be far worse if we respond by averting our eyes and ignoring the signs of trouble. The Creedence Clearwater Revival song (revised) conveys a similar caution: “Well don’t go around tonight / Well it’s bound to take your life / There’s a bad ‘mound’ on the rise.” May God give us courage to face warning signs with faith rather than fear. Whistling past the gopher mound merely entertains the rodents as they devour the sweet and satisfying produce you had hoped to harvest.

“We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed,

but of those who believe and are saved.” Hebrews 10:30


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