Cooking

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salad

Oh Texas June, you befuddle me with your shiny garden produce set to the backdrop of triple digit days. Summer technically hasn’t even begun yet but the green beans and squash and tomatoes are needing extra water and mulch to survive the heat. Whereas I was once picking strawberries and peas on warm Midwestern June days, I now find myself at the tail end of summer harvests and watching the okra reach for that mid-day sun.

And so here we are, picking giant cucumbers and making pickles, the lettuce and radishes and peas long since replaced. It is full and it is rich and it is surely summer if we get to eat just a handful of red ripe tomatoes here and there, right?

But it isn’t even summer yet!” remarked Elijah this morning, ever the knower-of-facts and corrector-of-Mamas. True, but if it’s over 80, it’s summer… and who decides that summer starts the same day in Minnesota as it does in Texas anyways? I’m sure there is a logical explanation somewhere but unless it involves tomatoes, it is lost on me.

So I think I’ll just pick some green beans, eat this salad, and call it summer, even if Elijah and the calendar say otherwise.

cucumbers

Cucumber, Tomato, and Golden Beet Salad

Note: Raw beets are wonderfully delicious and healthful but we have only had success with a small patch this spring. Because we prize them for their nutrition, we use these golden beets from Azure as a great addition to the vegetables currently coming from our garden.

Ingredients

  • 2 yard-long cucumbers (or 4 smaller)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 2 large golden beets, peeled
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 4 green onions
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

Directions

Chop the cucumbers and beets into bite-sized pieces and toss into a medium mixing bowl. Mince the onion and cilantro and add to the vegetables along with the tomatoes.

Toss together and then drizzle in the vinegar and olive oil. Season to taste generously with salt.

Let sit for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld before serving.

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kitchendishes

The week started with another double canner load full of summer squash on Sunday. With the rains we received and the warming temperatures, the squash have been producing more than enough for eating and preserving.

We’ve been eating a simple stir-fry most days of squash, onions, garlic, green beans, and collards all from the garden. I really think vegetables are underrated. Maybe it’s because we live in a culture where you can buy most things year round but I bet those many years before grocery stores (did you know they’ve only been around for about 100 years?) saw folks really appreciating whatever vegetables they could grow since there were times when they simply couldn’t grow any. All of that is to say that I am really thankful for the provisions of greens and other vegetables the Lord has given us this season.

I also harvested a couple of the Armenian Yard-Long Cucumbers but perhaps a little early, as you might be able to tell. The seeds weren’t even fully formed yet which tells me these 10-12″ cucumbers need time to get even bigger… so we’ll wait. But these two made a great salad with some green onions from the garden and apple cider vinegar – and they are the first cukes we’ve grown in Texas!

And, of course, for perspective I thought I’d share that last photo since it is what the dirty dish counter looks like on most days. I’m making my way through that this morning, along with the mounds of dirty laundry after a week of most of us fighting off something or other.

But Joshie and I managed to sneak out to the garden for another bowl of squash so guess what’s for dinner…