Less Noise, More Green: Summer harvesting and menu planning

Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer harvesting and menu planning

Ready to harvest in July, urban farmingSummer meals have a rhythm all of their own. I usually like to have all my meals planned for the week ahead but this just doesn't work over the summer months when fresh produce is coming into the kitchen every day and our schedules are constantly changing. Add preserving to the mix in July and August and  meals become more free flowing and are reaching the table later in the day!

Summer Vegetable Frittata
Egg dishes are quick,nutritious and a great way to use up lots of veggies!

Rather than writing out a menu, I make a list of the produce I'm anticipating being ready to harvest during the week, along with a list of proteins I have in the house (cheeses, eggs, beans, nut butters and meats). Meals then become a matching game, pairing protein with veggies and sometimes a grain. I might identify one or two dishes I want to make but I base meals on what is on the kitchen counter and who is home for supper!

Harvested radishes, urban farming
I have been enjoying my afternoons preserving and preparing. I set up my lap top and watch a favorite movie. Not only is this entertaining but can be inspirational, too. I recently spent a great afternoon watching Under The Tuscan Sun while making sauerkraut and pesto!
One of the cookbooks I bought at a library book sale while on vacation in The Berkshires is Still Life with Menu by Mollie Katzen. Since coming home, I have made many of the recipes in the book and every one has been great. I have several of her other vegetarian cookbooks and turn to them a lot over the summer when produce is front and center in the kitchen.

Summer produce, urban farming
In the garden I am harvesting Swiss Chard in enormous amounts, herbs, zucchini, jalapeno peppers, carrots, green beans, cabbage, rhubarb, scallions, pickling cukes, regular cucumbers, tomatillos, lettuce and edible flowers. I am, however, on the precipice looking into the tomato, summer squash, eggplant and bell pepper tsunami that is on the horizon!  It's about to get interesting.

Summer produce, urban farming
Do your meals become more relaxed over the summer?

See you in the garden,

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