From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - July 20, 2023
From the Garden this Week… Eggplant, Heirloom Tomatoes, Green and Purple Beans, Swiss Chard, Slicing and Lemon Cucumbers, Carrots, Summer Squash, Lettuce, Green Onions, Red Onions, Potatoes, Peppers, Garlic, Basil, Lemon Grass, Anise Hyssop, Zinnias & Sunflowers, Nectarines, Plums & Peaches
Using Your Produce… by Julie Moreno
It might just be my experience; I never cooked an eggplant until I was over 30 years old, but eggplant can be difficult if you’re not familiar with cooking it. Eggplant is one vegetable that needs to be fully cooked. Undercooked eggplant is rubbery and tough. It should be soft and mild in flavor, which makes it perfect for seasoning with fresh herbs and cheese. Traditional Eggplant Parmesan is wonderful, but it takes time to bread and fry each piece and the eggplant can absorb a lot of oil. This recipe is deliberately lighter and easier by baking the slices on a pan in the oven.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan
2-3 medium sized eggplants
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of finely chopped
fresh or dried Italian seasoning
(basil, rosemary, thyme, and
Preheat oven to 400 °F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the stem and slice the eggplant into ½ inch slices. In a large mixing bowl add the eggplant slices, drizzle with the olive oil to coat as evenly as possible. Add the salt, pepper and garlic powder to the bowl and toss to coat. Add the Parmesan cheese and herbs and lightly toss again. In one layer, place the seasoned eggplant slices on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Add any remaining herb-cheese mix to the top of each slice. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the eggplant is tender. Serve with marinara sauce if desired.
Peaches & Dreams
Peaches are now ripe. As I reach, I recall childhood summers - simpler days: remembering mom and grandma in the kitchen canning peaches and debating which is the better, freestone or cling; following in my father’s footsteps and delivering The Stockton Record, then an afternoon daily; walking a 70 house route in fierce summer heat; slinging folded papers from sidewalk to porch stoop, except on Wednesdays and Sundays when ad inserts made the missile as heavy and thick and aerodynamic as a brick; walking up drives or across green lawns to heave that load underhanded toward the door front; breaking only one window in four and a half years (1640 days) slinging 81,900 missiles and heaving 32,700 bricks; cringing at too many errant throws damaging too many ill-placed porch plants; returning home, bags empty and face beet red; slipping off shoes and T-shirt before diving into the Doughboy’s clear cool, water; grabbing a ripe peach from the backyard tree and rubbing its fuzz onto the denim pocket of faded 501 jeans cut-off; biting into sweet and satisfying fruit; wondering if I would be more freestone or cling.
When it’s hot outside, grilling is an easy way to cook without heating up the house. I like to grill vegetables first and then let them marinate while cooking chicken breasts or a steak. The marinated vegetables can be used the next day for a sandwich or salad. Try grilling some red onion slices alongside the zucchini for more flavor.
Grilled Summer Squash
3-5 summer squashes cut into long slices
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon 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. Arrange on a serving platter and top with feta cheese if desired.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul…
by Cindi J & Keith F Martin
Summer vegetables, especially cucumbers and squash, seem to grow overnight, but so do summer weeds and pests! There is no substitute for regularly walking and carefully examining the growth in the rows to know the state of the garden. At a distance it is easy to look at a verdant surface bursting with ripe vegetables and assume all is well. My closer look at the rows and growth this week revealed that “imposter weeds” and hungry gophers had found their way to the root systems of our squash, cucumber, and rainbow Swiss chard. It was only by kneeling and pulling out weeds masquerading as desirable plants that I discovered what the luscious foliage was hiding – damaged produce and wasted effort.
What about the state of our souls? Are we walking the ordered rows of our lives but not taking time to “kneel down” and look beneath the surface of our praiseworthy productivity? Insight comes from having sacred “down time” to spend alone with the Lord in silent contemplation and reflection. I still remember the first time I participated in a silent retreat. It was then, in the silence and my stillness, that I first realized I had used service and activity to hide pain and mask suffering. I came face to face with ugly thoughts and wretched emotions that resembled the state of the garden ravaged by pests – wasted effort, damaged produce! The insight was painful, yet I am eternally grateful that God used the silence to both reveal His Nature and expose my unnatural bent toward “work-a-holism” and “ministry-a-holism.”
In those quiet moments, the LORD revealed to me that He is the great “I AM” not the great “I Do.” God’s doing comes naturally from His Being. We humans, though, too often believe and behave as if our doing determines our being and worth. Psalm 46:10 says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” We are most fulfilled when we recognize that our nature and identity are not built upon the sands of what we do but upon The Rock and who we are - precious and beloved children of the eternal and almighty “I AM” who created us in His Image.