It is summer and the vegetables are thriving in the garden. Vines thick with green beans, heads of crisp lettuce, carrots popping through the soil, and tomatoes of all sizes can be found in our modest backyard garden. Now the fun begins.
I’m finding it quite enjoyable not having to add vegetables to my cart at the grocery store this summer. Oh, a few make it in, but for the most part, I am trying to shop in my own garden for the vegetables I need this summer. Not only are they fresher, but they are cutting down the shopping bill a bit as well. Not to mention the fact at how enjoyable it is to pick the vegetables right before they are prepared in the kitchen.
My routine, as of late, has been to snatch a bowl from the kitchen, kick off my slippers, slip into my garden clogs, and grab my floppy hat as I head out back to my own little store. Along the way taking in the fresh air and greeting the birds at the feeders. Once there, I fill my bowl from the lovely produce isles envisioning what I will turn them into tonight.
The key to cooking from garden produce is variety. I think one can easily get sick of having green beans the same way throughout the summer. Preparing them slightly differently can reduce the boredom. No home cook wants to hear, “Are we having tomatoes again!”. It is really about presentation and creativity. Last night, for instance, I turned the ever abundance of tomatoes into a fresh tomatoe tart in a rustic crust. Along with that a side salad with a homemade dressing. Fresh yet inviting. Did you know that zucchini can actually taste like apples when baked as a cobbler? Delicious and with less carbs to boot. Zucchini also makes a wonderfully moist chocolate cake. A sneaky way to add vegetables to your diet. Clever!
Tonight I will head out and pull up enough carrots to fill my French-style chicken pot pie. No worries about finding a parking spot or finding the shortest checkout line. I do not even need to bring my wallet, just a bowl.