Summer in the Kitchen

I feel like I am living in the kitchen these days!!  The veggies are coming in, and between preserving the excess and cooking meals, it is a big investment of time.  IMG_7851_2I have been hitting the local farmer’s markets of Jenny Jack Sun Farms pretty heavily and my parents have lots to share with us as well.  Our own garden is lagging behind a little (ok, a lot!) but it has been producing a ton of bell and cayenne peppers, a few squash, and the corn has started to tassel!  We made pickles the other day with all of the cucumbers, bruschetta IMG_7814_2salad with fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic, fried the heck out of some okra (I had it leftover cold for breakfast this morning and it was like a guilty pleasure!), and finally got the tomatoes canned today.  This is just the first wave of tomatoes that have come in, but I wanted to go ahead and get a head start on the canning since I use tomatoes for practically everything from soup to chili to pizza sauce.  I have also made two batches of fresh pesto and frozen the excess to use later.  I can’t get enough basil this time of year.  So yeah, it’s like a different kind of crafting, this summer time harvest thing.  Fresh meals, planned around what was recently collected, in such a way that the kids eat it all up too can be a challenge, but an awesome and rewarding one.  I am lucky to have friends and family who kindly share recipes and tips on what to do with it all!  Here is my Bruschetta Salad recipe for those of you that are interested!

 

BRUSCHETTA SALAD

1 pound of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 big bunch of fresh basil (I like a lot of basil in mine, so you might want to cut back if you don’t)

1 large clove garlic, chopped fine

2 T extra virgin olive oil (or less if you want…I like mine a little heavy on the oil)

salt and pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients gently, then before serving, add 2 T of crumbled goat cheese and stir gently to mix.  Fresh and delicious, and a great use for all those cherry tomatoes!  Enjoy!

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The Juice Bar Date.

I am so excited about this new local business that has come to town called Juice Bar Columbus.  Let me tell you!!  I try to stay really on top of food health, except when it comes to juicing…I don’t know why this is.  Maybe the cost of a decent juicer, or the waste that it would create, and most definitely the clean up after the fact.  So here comes my confession:  I have never tried green juice!  Or carrot juice, or beet juice. You get the idea.  I have always thought that I would just rather eat the thing than vampirize it to death.  I am here to tell you that I was completely in the dark about juicing!  When I realized that the Juice Bar was opening in Columbus, I got SO excited.  Mostly because I have been getting bored of coffee, probably because I drink it so much.  I have even turned to tea numerous times a day, despite digging my heals in for years and insisting that I don’t like tea…it feels healthier than coffee in my body.  IMG_6980Especially considering that I used to get coffee that was heavy with syrups, whipped cream, and who knows what other stuff in it.  I stopped that habit last year, and switched to a local shop, Fountain City Coffee, because they were the only ones in town who offered organic milk, locally roasted coffee beans, and they even make their own syrups from scratch with the simplest ingredients.  LOVE IT!  But THEN, as it goes every now and then, I started wanting to just keep it simple and drink it at home.  Even still, there are times when I need some serious energy to power through work, usually in the afternoon…I drink coffee all morning, so by the afternoon I want something different.  Even smelling coffee brewing in the afternoon can give me headaches.  BUT I drink it even then sometimes when I am really desperate for that energy boost.  Well, midday coffee headaches no more!!  When I have the time and money to treat myself to something that will energize me in the afternoons, I am going to the Juice Bar!!  It was so delicious, and they were so generous with the samples that I was almost full before I even decided what I wanted to drink.  I settled on a mixture of Fresh Greens and We’ve Got the Beet.  It was perfect.  Not only did it give me energy, but I felt so good all day!  I wanted something to reduce inflammation, because lately it seems like everything bad in the body is somehow linked to inflammation, and they had some wonderful recommendations for that as well!  I must say, the next time I have an afternoon that is dragging by, I am going to do myself a favor, and head over to the Juice Bar.  I am curious about how many organic ingredients they use…Maybe I will ask next time I am there.   Also will be bringing my own reusable mason jar next time!!