In season

If you buy really fresh (i.e., picked that day, or maybe the day before) local sweet corn, try eating it raw for a refreshing treat.  Fresh corn (sans fungus) graced our dinner plates last night, and I was well into my ear when I thought to take a picture.

We’re also enjoying local blueberries and peaches.  In honor of the peaches, we baked some sweet biscuits*.  For a delicious and relatively healthy treat, crumble a biscuit, spoon on fresh peaches, and top with a bit of whipped cream.   I often add some of the juice from the peaches and a bit of milk (soy milk works fine) to get it just right.

*Our sweet biscuit recipe comes from 1000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles.  If you’re looking for a good cookbook, vegetarian or no, check this out.  It is our go-to cookbook for delicious main dishes, baked goods, soups, and much more!  If your library has it, you can take it for a test run, or look for a used copy.

Thyme for lunch

Last weekend, I attempted to recreate the delicious borscht I enjoyed at Local Harvest Cafe.  My first thought upon tasting my creation?  Major flop.  Great sadness ensued.

But not all was lost.  The leftovers tasted good — I learned a few things in the process of coming to like it.  First, you can serve borscht warm or chilled, but I HIGHLY recommend chilled.  Second, add creamy white stuff, either sour cream or yogurt (pictured above) — this is important!  Third, it’s kind of a salty soup.  I’m a bit of a salt-phobe, so this one is hard for me, but again, important here.

I enjoyed the leftover borscht (properly chilled) for lunch today, along with a quickly concocted rice-lentil salad.  I started with leftover cooked lentils, to which I added brown rice, cucumbers, raw garlic (minced), olive oil, fresh thyme, s&p, and a bit of leftover vinaigrette from a previous salad.

Summer eats and treats

I kicked off the weekend with a strawberry banana smoothie, made with frozen local berries, homemade yogurt from local milk, and The Last Banana, recovered from the depths of the freezer, served in a green glass.

Delicacy or discard?  That funky looking growth is huitlacoche, a fungus that grows on corn (known in the U.S. as “corn smut”).  It’s edible, and in Mexico, it fetches a high price, much higher than the corn itself.  Matthew handled the prep work.  I avoided touching it until he cooked it.  (If he’d been feeling ornery, he could have chased me around the apartment, threatening to touch me with it.)  Once cooked, it looked and tasted much like any other cooked fungus (i.e., mushroom).  Click here to read more details, including potential health benefits.

At my urging, Matthew bought a tomato at the farmers’ market.  (He liked the idea of our first tomato of the season being from our garden, but we’re not quite there yet — soon!)  Dressed up with basil (courtesy of our neighbors’ plant — hope they won’t mind 😉 ), olive oil, and s&p.  Yum!

Partial results of another oven extravaganza: zucchini bread and chocolate chip pumpkin bread.  I have not purchased bananas for a year-and-a-half, due to their large carbon footprint (which gives you a sense of the age of the banana that went into the aforementioned smoothie).  As predicted, these two quick breads make great alternatives to banana bread.

Sneak peak of “Summer eats and treats — Part II” coming tomorrow: homemade pizza and ice cream sandwiches!

Hibernating

Are there any animals that hibernate in summer?  If so, I want to be one of them — crawl into a dark, cool cave and not emerge until the temperature returns to somewhat sane levels (i.e., below 80-degrees).

On Friday night, we biked over to Local Harvest Cafe for dinner.  We shared their vegan Green Plate special and a bowl of chilled borscht.  Borscht is basically beet soup, which sounds weird (at least I’ve always thought so and never tried it before), but this soup was amazing!  Mmm, I could eat bowls and bowls!

After dinner, we hit up Tower Grove Park.  I morphed into a little park creature (i.e., put on my Five Fingers), and we played frisbee for awhile.  Before calling it a night, we visited our community garden bed and harvested some beets, carrots, and rutabaga.  Some of those beets are destined to become borscht!

From the time we returned home Friday night, until my 6:15am run this morning, I entered hibernation mode.  I didn’t leave the apartment, other than short jaunts to water the plants on the porch, for over forty-eight hours.  What can I say — I took the heat advisory seriously, but all good things must come to an end.

Happy summer solstice!  (But, Weather, I really don’t need 100-degree heat to convince me it’s summer.  I believe you, okay?  Can you just back off a little now?  Please???)

Eat food

Gardens and farmers’ markets are in full swing, and, oh, the fabulous food we eat!

Some recent combos:

Stir fry with basic homemade teriyaki sauce (used fresh ginger and garlic instead of powdered) with snow peas*, broccoli*, black beans**, and edamame.  Minimal cooking keeps the snow peas nice and crunchy!

Mixed green salad* (arugula, spinach, tatsoi, red leaf lettuce) with radish*, hard boiled egg**, green onions**, and sunflower seeds.

Curry with napa cabbage**, snow peas*, rutabaga*, and yellow squash*.

We used coconut milk and red curry paste (both NOT local!) for the curry.  The chef tossed some onion and garlic in there, too.

Strawberry salad

Mixed greens*, sliced strawberries**, goat cheese**, olive oil, and our special balsamic vinegar.  Simple and delicious — good balsamic is the key!

*From the garden.

** Locally grown/raised.