Monday, September 3, 2012

Summer cooking (some'r not?)

I think summer-time cooking is just the best!  Owing in large part to our move to vegetarianism just over two years ago, and my acknowledged inability to garden in general and espeically on an 8-by-8-foot deck, we bought into a CSA this year.  It has been, at $17 a week, the very best food investment we've made.  I've learned so many new tricks and tips from the wonderful cooking coach I have at Sauvie Island Organics.  And I'm learning how to experience the bounty of wonderful, fresh-from-the-earth vegetables. 

Consider the lowly, oft-maligned carrot.  Who knew that fresh from the ground, with dirt still clinging, it could be transformed by a simple scrub into such a wonderful treat?  Truly, I found them to be better than...well, not BETTER than pecan pie, but a close thirteenth or fourteenth place to it. 

On the farm, especially after he retired, Daddy had a bounteous garden.  He planted something like 100 hills of potatoes (his little Irish daughter loves her potatoes) with the requisite zucchini and tomatoes.  The tomatoes from SIO have taken me back to the glorious late-summer days of my youth.  Farmers markets notwithstanding, I'd forgotten just how wonderful a fresh, REAL tomato tastes.  More than just the taste, it's the texture and aroma of a fresh-from-the-field tomato.  Heaven on a plate - or in my case this week, heaven on the palm of my hand.  Too delicious!

And, owing to the encouragement of the coach at SIO, I've learned to depart from recipes which I have always followed almost to the point of slavish devotion.  For example, I created a black bean salsa this week to which I added corn cut from the cob and in a flash of genius (Art says I'm too humble.  What?) I added cooked quinoa.  Now we have a delicious salad hearty enough for dinner. 

And of course, we have roasted beets which, when combined with potatoes (more of that Irish girl thing) and topped with perfectly poached eggs render themselves a delicious beet hash which we had for breakfast this morning - so pretty.

I could go on for hours (and pages) extolling the virtue of summer cooking - and I will, just not today.  The sun is shining, it's officially the end of summer and I need to play in the sunshine while it lasts.

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