Keeping Up With All the Produce

My son was sick for more than a week, I’m completely behind on my work, and it’s GORGEOUS outside (built little hoop houses for my winter greens this weekend instead of catching up on inside work). All of this means that the fruit and vegetables, already abundant this time of year, are overwhelming my small refrigerator, counter, fruit bowl, etc. The fruit flies are feasting and time is a wasting on all this beautiful stuff. So I just did a whirlwind catch up job on some of it:

Roasted peppers

Roasted Tomatoes

Cut the rotten parts out of a few quince and am plotting what to do with them all. Compote, paste, apple/quince crisp, jam. . . .

And alas, threw away some rotting lettuce.

I think tonight’s dinner will be a frittata with some of the roasted peppers or a Savory Bread Pudding with some of the peppers and roasted tomatoes and the rest of the basil I just salvaged from the garden.

I feel a bit better about the state of my fridge and counters and am ready for tomorrow’s CSA and all the shopping I’ll be doing for this weekend’s classes. And I do love this season and the bounty and beauty of it, but I won’t pretend that it’s not a lot of work. I enjoy the work and like the creativity of figuring out what to with it all. If I didn’t work at home though, and have a job (have given myself a job:) that involved food, I wouldn’t be able to manage all of it and still have fun with it. I also know it’s a privilege as well as a choice. I’ve been musing about this a lot lately and will devote more time to it in the future, but in the meantime, I wish you the time to preserve and use this bounty if you’re so  inclined. And I’m happy to share my techniques and ideas if you’re interested. And I’d love to know what you’re doing with the odds and ends in your kitchen, whether it’s just tonight’s dinner or some favorite way of preserving.

Happy cooking and eating!





Why I Like Vegetables

Fava Beans

Last night I did something I haven’t done for a long time. I puréed vegetables in order for my son to eat them. He has plenty of teeth mind you (he is 3 years old!) and capacity to chew so that was not the reason. For the last week or so, we’ve relapsed into the negotiations over vegetables and I was simply tired of it. I sautéed onions, carrots, chard stems and added a bunch of collards and some veggie broth. Then I pureed the whole thing, added it to a small batch of cream sauce and baked it with pasta and a bit of cheese for a very-veggie-heavy “mac-n-cheese”. He devoured two bowls full with a grin on his face and asked me to be sure and save some for him for after school today and not send ALL of it to work with Daddy!

Why did I feel so compelled to do this? I love vegetables and I don’t like days without them. I probably love vegetables in part because I grew up eating them and watching my mother grow them. And they’re so beautiful. I also did this because I want my son to be healthy and strong and well-nourished and I’m convinced deep down in my soul that having good vegetables everyday is a part of that.  And I know that he likes vegetables but somehow those green and orange pieces would otherwise have been meticulously eaten around and left in the bowl – unless we’d launched said negotiations which tend to end with the promise of dessert!

But I digress, my point is that vegetables matter–flavor, nutrients, variety, color, cultural markers, history, beauty, and more flavor! I’m grateful for the variety and quality of vegetables surrounding me in my garden, my CSA share, the farmers markets and in some of our grocery stores. And that  makes me grateful to our many local farmers, who have not had an easy go of it this spring. When my broccoli is devastated by cabbage worms and my basil and peppers succumb to slugs, I’m frustrated but I still get my CSA every week and the markets are still abundant. But in order for that to be the case, so much creative energy, knowledge, skill and hard work is applied to those fields every day and for that, I am the most grateful.

And while last night’s pasta dish was perfectly fine, I don’t think any of you need the “recipe” so instead I’m going to direct you to this week’s blog post from Sauvie Island Organics in which I’m the featured “chef” and there you will find six new recipes to put all these wonderful veggies to use.

Happy Cooking and  Eating!

P.S. Summer Cooking Class Schedule at Cook With What You Have!