What I Want vs. What I HAVE

One of the things I love about gardening (and eating in season) is that it shifts your focus from what you WANT to what you HAVE.

potatoes, purple and yellow, dug just before dinner

Instead of saying, “Hmn, what do I feel like eating?”, you say, “What do we have? What’s ripe and ready?” and you build your meal around that. And that–as Barbara Kingsolver suggested in this interview–turns everyday eating into a practice of gratitude.

Rather than starting with what I want, I start with what’s actually here.

beautiful heirloom tomatoes: Riesentraubes, Gold Medals, and Amish Pastes

And that’s a pretty beautiful place to be.

(Though I’m sorta getting tired of fresh tomatoes. Which is fine, because they make good tomato sauce.)

Sunday Recipe: Insalata Caprese

This salad is another perfect meal for a hot night. Again, it’s delicious served with a baguette. We used more of our delicious Riesentraubes (an heirloom cherry-type tomato) in this wonderful salad, which reminds us of the time we spent in Rome two summers ago. Though you’ll often see Caprese as a layered salad–with big slices of tomato and cheese alternated with big basil leaves–we find this version easier to eat.

Toss together in a large bowl:

1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2-3 pounds cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons

Coarse sea salt to taste

Freshly-ground black pepper to taste

2 tablespoons drained capers (optional)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
That’s it! Serve immediately with fresh, crusty bread. And eat it with joy!

{just looking at this makes me hungry.}

Sunday Recipe: Summer Pasta Salad

This is one of those dishes that I begin craving sometime in late winter. But it is most assuredly a midsummer’s meal: it’s cool, perfect for eating on hot nights; it’s transportable, great for taking to a picnic or a barbeque, and it’s flavorful, but only when you use the freshest seasonal ingredients. To tell the truth, I’ve never even been a big fan of pasta salads–mostly because I like, but do not love, mayonnaise–but this one is different. Try it yourself and see what you think.

First, cook 1 lb (16 oz) small shape pasta (I use macaroni or orzo) in salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water; set aside.

you may want to steam some extra ears of corn for the little people...

Second, steam 4 ears fresh sweet corn, and drain, rinse in cool water, and set aside. Then cut it carefully off the cob. Place in a large bowl. Add to the bowl:

1-2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (I used heirloom riesentraubes), 1-2 cucumbers, cut into 1/2″ dice, 8 oz. diced fresh mozzarella, 1/2 cup slivered fresh basil, and a handful fresh chopped parsley. 

Mix the vegetables well, add the pasta, and toss.

Make a dressing of:
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1 TB red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 TB. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed

Add dressing to bowl, toss to coat, and serve, or close tightly and chill in refrigerator. Stays delicious for about 2-3 days. We enjoy eating it with a nice, crispy baguette, if we’re lucky enough to find one, with some freshly-squeezed lemonade to drink.

Eat it with Joy, all!