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We enjoyed our first virtually all-homegrown supper this past weekend.
Such fresh-picked straight from the garden then either cooked or made into salad suppers, are among the greatest joys of growing a garden.
Not only do we know where our food came from, but it went from garden to table in less than an hour. Can’t get any more local or fresher than this. I look forward to more of these meals as the summer moves along and other vegetables are ready to harvest.
For this past Sunday’s supper, we had a few red Norlands potatoes, washed and unpeeled, then boiled. When ready to serve, I minced some of our broadleaf, Italian parsley and added it to the pan, along with a little butter, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Accompanying the potatoes were some small, extremely tasty green beans. They were left whole after snipping the stem and tip ends off. Later this week, we should have sautéed summer squash. I cut a couple of cloves from a fresh head of garlic and added it to a fry pan with the small beans and a little olive oil, then sautéed it until the beans were tender-crisp.
The rest of the just-harvested garlic has been laid out to dry for a few weeks. Then we’ll remove the stalks and some of the roots, and store it in a cool, dry place for use throughout the fall and winter months.
Perhaps the most creative dish from the garden is a salad. When I make a green salad during the summer months, I use whatever is fresh and available from the garden. When the lettuce first started coming in, I added a few bright purple or yellow pansies to the salad. They are edible.
This week, I used tiny spinach and beet leaves, red and green lettuce, a few scallions and radishes, some tiny, unpeeled carrots, and two of the remaining asparagus spears that I cooked slightly before adding to the rest of the salad.
In a week or two, we’ll eat fried green tomatoes, then soon after that, we’ll have tons of ripe cherry, grape, plum, heritage, and other varieties of tomatoes to add to a salad.
To add protein to any green salad, simple top with chunks of a favorite cheese, a can of rinsed white or red beans, or strips of cooked chicken, turkey or beef.
It’s such a joy to go out to the garden and find supper! Our meat, poultry and fish consumption declines drastically during July, August and September.
As almost every vegetable ripens, one of my favorite ways to cook them is with garlic and olive oil. Sometimes, I add a little more olive oil, or pour in some chicken stock, and use the mixture as a sauce atop vermicelli or angel hair pasta. This works particularly well with thinly sliced summer squash, green and yellow beans, asparagus, bell peppers and carrots.
I don’t dress up most fresh vegetables, but rather I enjoy savoring the fresh flavors. Once the gardening season is complete, it’s so hard to return to store-bought lettuce and other vegetables, although I do can or freeze much of my fresh produce.
For desert, raspberries are beginning to come in, and some rhubarb may still be producing from the rhubarb patch.
If you are fortunate and have one or both fruits, they can be combined or used singly for a simple sauce perfect for ladling over vanilla ice cream or a store-bought pound cake or other desert bakery product.
To make a rhubarb sauce, cut up, then cook in a little water until soft, but not mushy. Drain and slightly mash. Add just enough sugar or sweetener to cut the tanginess of the rhubarb, as well as a dash of salt and a sprinkling of cinnamon. If combining with raspberries, add them during the last minute of cooking the rhubarb, and reduce the amount of sugar or sweetener used.
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