It looks like summer might have finally arrived. At least the peppers and winter squash think so, as I swear they have doubled in size! They have really liked the warmer weather the last couple of days. The wind did toss them around a little, but I think we are well on our way now for a beautiful season.
I began harvesting the lavender this past weekend. I was in “La La Land” for a couple of days. It is so fragrant and relaxing sitting amongst those flowers with the bees and butterflies. It almost felt like I was not working! This is the perfect time to get some, as it is fresh. Nothing better than hanging a bunch in your bathroom or bedroom. The humidity of the bathroom brings out the fragrance even more, and in the bedroom you are lulled to sleep by Lavender’s gentle aroma. You can also hang some in your kitchen to remind you to stick a few sprigs in your sugar bowl or honey jar. Its a wonderful addition to homemade lemonaide, too. The bundles sell for $15. I will continue the harvest over the next few weeks, so if you would like to preorder this season’s Lavender, let me know. I will have some available on Thursday.
This weeks share will include spinach, the last of the lettuce (for a little while), braising greens, beets, scallions, rainbow radish, snap peas and herbs. With all of the holiday celebrations going on this weekend, take advantage of all the veggies and greens and put together beautiful appetizer platters to munch on while waiting for those burgers and brats! You can use the spearmint and lemon balm to make flavored waters and iced teas. If you want to walk on the wild side why not muddle some up in a top shelf gin or vodka for a “to die for” martini.
See you on Thursday….4-6 PM.
5 Ways to Enjoy Sugar Snap Peas
Sugar snap peas are in season now and ready to enjoy in so many ways. Here are 5 delicious, easy ideas:
1. In the raw with a dip of 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/3 cup crumbled feta, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black peppercorns.
2. In succotash, sauté with freshly cut corn kernels (scrape the milk from the cob to make it creamy), scallions, and cherry tomatoes.
3. Blanched and tossed with buttered egg noodles, parsley, and garlic.
4. Roasted with olive oil and sea salt beneath the broiler until crisp-tender and lightly browned on the edges; drizzle with a few drops of toasted sesame oil before serving.
5. Tossed warm with fresh pesto and toasted pine nuts.
HINT: Before you eat them, snap off the stem and remove the stringy spines on both sides of the pod.
Green Goddess Dip with Vegetables and Homemade Pita Chips
The best thing about this crowd-pleasing platter is that you can offer up whatever is fresh in your garden or from the farmers’ market.
3 6-inch whole-wheat pitas
2 tsp canola oil
2 cups chopped avocado (about 2)
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt or plain nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2/3 cup chopped fresh chives, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
7 cups assorted fresh vegetables, raw or lightly steamed (e.g., beet slices, baby carrots, sliced fennel, julienned jicama, snow peas, radish, scallions)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut each pita into 8 wedges. Brush with oil and sprinkle with ground cumin, chili powder, and kosher salt–all to taste. Bake for 8 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Turn off oven and let chips stand for 15 minutes or until crispy.
2. Meanwhile, put avocado, yogurt, lemon juice, vinegar, 1/3 cup chives, parsley, and salt to taste in a small food processor or blender and puree until creamy. Stir in most of remaining chives, reserving some to garnish dip.
3. To serve, spoon the dip into a small bowl and surround with vegetables and pita chips on a platter.
This is a classic salad that is hearty enough for a meal! Add some crumbled blue cheese if you like. Soup and bread complement this nicely.
• 1- 1 1/2 lbs washed spinach, either baby leaf or mature (if using mature leaves, rip up into smaller pieces)
• 8-12 pieces of bacon
• One small red onion, sliced thinly
• 4-6 hardboiled eggs, peeled and chopped or quartered
Warm Bacon Dressing
• 5 tablespoons reserved bacon fat (or use olive oil if you feel weird about bacon fat)
• 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• salt and black pepper, to taste
Cook bacon until very crisp in a skillet, in batches if necessary. Drain bacon pieces on a paper towel, and add 5 tablespoons of bacon fat to a small saucepan. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients, mix well, and warm over low heat.
Place the spinach in a large bowl with bacon and onion. Just before eating, add the warm dressing and toss to evenly coat spinach. Divide onto 4 plates and top with chopped eggs and blue cheese, if using.