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Summer’s Bounty

By Meagan Russell
In Blog
Aug 1st, 2021
0 Comments
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By Heather Land

Mother Nature gives what is needed each season. With summer comes the sweet, juicy baskets of vine ripe tomatoes in all shades, peaches, berries, melons, corn and the list goes on. Herbs grow with ferocity so that they are always abundantly available to flavor the harvest – however you choose to mix it.  

This month’s bites are straight from the garden and into the kitchen for the most beautiful plates, bowls and even glasses you could feast yourself on. Forget measuring, just chop, add and try until it feeds your soul. Don’t have a garden? Don’t sweat. Check out your local farmer’s market for the next best option or simply hit up the produce in your grocery and daydream you are harvesting your own! Just know, there are no flavors like in-season and out of the ground a few steps from your door.  

The key to a good summer cocktail is COLD INGREDIENTS. Keep a few cocktail glasses in your freezer (next to your vodka)  ready to go and whenever possible, chill your other ingredients first.  

NO NAMEY cocktail

     No Namey. Its the generic term I use for things that have no name but are worthy of one.  One of my favorite things to do is to host and serve. I love to concoct, sip and pass it around – yes, even in the midst of chaos I share. Summer is the season of spontaneous gathering. This cocktail is spontaneity on ice.  

      Peaches made sophisticated. Make use of the peaches so ripe you want to throw them out – they are what makes this drink sing Summer.  You taste every layer of this one. It is clean, unexpected and not too sweet – unless you make it that way. Adjust each ingredient to suit you, especially the heat.  

WHAT YOU NEED:  

– Saucepan (optional, only if you choose to sweeten your puree)  
– Mason jar 
– Muddler (Or blocked end of any kitchen utensil works as well as a wooden spoon) 
– Ripe Peaches 
– Agave syrup (optional)  
– Fresh Basil  
– Fresh Jalapeños (seed to reduce heat or keep them if you like it hot)  
– Fresh lime 
– Sparkling Mineral Water (optional but adds crisp bite)  
– Vodka (optional but real dang good)  
Sea salt 

     Peel and slice peaches and puree in blender or processor. Optional: Add agave syrup to sweeten and heat over low heat in saucepan (this can be stored in mason jar in the fridge). In another mason jar, muddle fresh basil with a squeeze of lime juice and a few thin slices of jalapeño.  

     Fill mason jar with ice and add a shot (or so) of vodka with a heaping spoon of puree, and a pinch of sea salt. SHAKE. Shake. Shake it till you make it. Pour contents of jar into cold cocktail glass. Top with a dash of mineral water – finish with quick stir.  


Tip from Heather: Make your own mash sauce with a bit of mayo, a bit of dijon, seasonings of your choice.

GREEN GODDESS TOAST

  I’ve not figured out how to grow avocados here on the farm {yet}, but I did grow some beautiful sweet green peas. This is a Southern spin on my favorite concept – avocado toast.  Fresh is its middle name. It is versatile and another unexpected summer bounty joy food.  Blueberries, microgreens and cucumbers tie it all together for toast so pretty you don’t want to eat it – but you do.  

WHAT YOU NEED:  

– Small saucepan 
– One bowl  
– Sweet green peas 
– Mash sauce {here: Curried Bitchin Sauce found Locally at For His Temple} 
– Toasted Sourdough or bread of choice (shown here from Local Scratch Bakehouse)
– Thinly sliced cucumber 
– Blueberries  
– Fresh mint chopped (and tossed with micro greens) 
– Microgreens (shown here from Local WallGreens)
– Flake salt  

     In saucepan, bring peas to boil with a pinch of sea salt and then reduce heat until peas are tender. Rinse and strain in cold water.  

Mash peas in bowl with sauce of choice. Top toasted sourdough with mash  Add cucumbers, berries and flake salt.


BRUSCHETTA

     I was just 15 when I went to London for the first time. London, where dinner starts no earlier than 7 PM and lasts until your eyelids get heavy. London, where you bring a bottle of wine for the host and there is always fresh bread to nibble while you sip and enjoy your meal in slow, easy layers. Food is shared in every sense of the word.  

     Brushetta would soon become the flavor of London in my soul. It remains in my summer arsenal to this day and transports me. It is a reminder of slowing down and relishing in what is in front of me. With vine ripe tomatoes and fresh basil aplenty, this one is no doubt a summer necessity. Make it and serve immediately, or let it meld in the fridge for hours or even a few days.  

WHAT YOU NEED:  

– Bowl 
– Vine ripe tomatoes  
– Fresh basil 
– Unrefined Virgin olive oil  
– Fresh garlic  
– Balsamic glaze (optional but oh, so good) 
– Sea and flake salt  
– Fresh cracked pepper 
– Fresh sourdough or baguette (Sourdough shown by local Scratch Bakehouse) sliced, toasted or grilled – and scraped with a fresh garlic clove while its hot  

     Dice your tomatoes and garlic. Rough chop your basil. Drizzle generously with olive oil and season with sea salt and cracked pepper. Spoon over sourdough. 

Drizzle with balsamic glaze and finish with flake salt. 


This salad was accompanied by pesto griddle roasted corn on the cob and forks for everyone.

SUMMER FRUIT MINTED SALAD

This is the perfect example of the unexpected beauty of mixing the most unlikely of ingredients from the garden or the farmer’s market to create something lovely. In the heat of the summer, crisp, cold, cleansing and refreshing is what feeds the soul and this salad does not disappoint. Its flavor profile hits all of these notes and more. It is quick and easy and so pleasing to both the eyes and the palate, it makes for the perfect addition to any meal.  

WHAT YOU NEED:  

– Bowl or platter 
– Watermelon  
– Peaches 
– Blueberries 
– Fresh squeeze of citrus juice (lemon, orange)  
– Fresh mint (chopped or whole leaf)  
– Balsamic glaze  
– Goat cheese (fig and black pepper shown here)  
– Flake salt  
– Super thinly sliced red onion (not shown)  

     Cube watermelon and peaches – toss with a little citrus juice. Arrange on platter and sprinkle with berries, mint and goat cheese. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Finish with flake salt and top with onion. Trust me.  


Be sure to lay out greens on towels to allow to dry before freezing.

FROZEN IN TIME

 Not everyone has or wants the luxury of standing over boiling pots and mason jars canning all the seemingly endless harvest of summer gardens. But it is hard to remember that one squash plant might actually suffice, or trying to resist filling up one more bucket of berries at the farm because you know it will be a year before you have them again. That is what makes the season so special.  No one loves to spend money on fresh produce only to open the fridge a few days later and find it limp or spoiled. You can have it all – or a good bit of it at least. Freeze it. It’s a game changer. From fresh fruits to the greenest greens… and you don’t even have to blanch a thing. Making smoothies and stir frys that much easier. The jist of the concept is universal: FLASH FREEZE FIRST.

WHAT YOU NEED:  

– Your produce – any and all of it (a little here and there
or a bulk Saturday abundance)  

– Baking sheets  
– Parchment paper  
– Freezer safe bags or storage containers  

     Wash, peel, slice and dice  – fruits, veggies, berries, greens. Spread evenly on parchment lined baking sheets and freeze for a few hours up to a day.  Store in freezer safe container of choice. Flash freezing keeps pieces separated and not frozen in a block of ice. Mix a few containers of your favorites for quick smoothie mixes – berries, peaches, strawberries, pineapple and cantaloupe. Even frozen whole kale leaves easily break like confetti for easy blending. Freeze kale, chard (chop stalks and store separately so they can be sautéed without overcooking greens) and bok choy for always available skillet tosses. Bulk garlic, peppers and veggies like squash and eggplant can be roasted with olive oil and sea salt and frozen separate or together – another easy pullout. Chop onions and bell pepper so that you always have some ready for sautes or fajitas. Fresh sourdough lasts longer if you slice it, flash it and store it, keeping it ready for quick toast in the morning.  


STIR FRY AND SAUCE

     Summer is about late evenings outside with a final reprieve from the heat of the day. The last thing you want to do is stand in the kitchen and miss the best part of the day. Stir fry is quite frankly one of the easiest and most versatile dishes. High heat means fast food – perfect to serve outside from the skillet with a handful of bowls. Whatever is growing in the garden gets rough chopped and thrown in. Keep in mind, that you only want to layer in the veggies to avoid overcooking. Some veggies will need longer and some only need to be heated. Flavor profiles can suit your mood –  simple salt and pepper, curry, or Southern Asian Fusion (as follows). Proteins and grains optional.  

WHAT YOU NEED:  

– Cast iron skillet (preferred)  
– Olive oil 
– Veggies – any and all {Squash, green peas, bell peppers, mushrooms} 
– Fresh garlic 
– Sea salt & pepper  
– Proteins {grilled salmon} 
– Grains {Rice noodles}

     Heat a glug of olive oil in skillet on medium-high. First saute the veggies that should cook the longest {Squash until tender, bell peppers, and then mushrooms and peas}. When veggies are almost done,  pour in sauce (recipe at right) to heat. Serve with or over rice noodles or rice and with any proteins you’re in the mood for. 

CLASSIC ASIAN STIR FRY SAUCE:   

– 1/3 c water 
– 1/3 c coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce 
– 1/4 c maple syrup 
– 1/4 c toasted sesame oil 
– 1 clove garlic, finely grated or diced 
– 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated 
– 1 1/2 tsp arrowroot or cornstarch  
– 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)  

     Mix all ingredients in mason jar and shake. This makes enough to coat enough stirfry to feed 4-6 people generously. Stor

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