Thursday, September 12, 2013

Eat Your Veggies!

Fresh vegetables at Tuesday's Farmers Market, Sylvania; just-baked bread from Country Grains Market;
my front porch and back garden, upper right and left.  
"Eat your veggies!" My mother's voice floated around me, her green eyes sparkling. It was her fervent admonition at the dinner table when I was growing up. I would brush the asparagus or broccoli or beans off to the side of my plate, hoping she'd forget about it.  No way. I was getting a message from beyond.  Time to go to the Farmers Market.

It was an Indian summer kind of day.  Actually it was more than that; it was very hot out, in the high 90s, surprising for this time of year.  My daughter called to say the AC in my car wasn't working and we got up to 96 degrees, a record! Well, I thought, I can do something about the car but nothing about the weather.  Life's like that.  I went out into the bright sun.  I embraced the heat, and it was fine.  The sky was a deep cobalt blue, like the sky on a sunny day in Florida, or California, or Ukraine, or San Miguel de Allende. I let myself travel for a while, then came back home.

My fall wreath and front porch
decorations. 
The light is brilliant at this time of year, and especially in the late afternoon.  I checked my gardens, the marigolds, geraniums and daises brighter than ever as they prepare for the dying of the light. I noticed with joy that the chrysanthemums have opened up deep burgundy. The plants are huge this year. I putzed around with my new fall wreaths and front porch decorations, took a few photos, then headed to the fabulous Farmers Market on Main Street, Sylvania.

When I was younger I would have headed straight to the Market, completed my business,  and walked straight home, not stopping to smell the roses.  Now I take my time. The moments are fuller, richer.

I got to the market and met a few neighbors, one of the nice things about going there. Sue was debating colorful peppers, and Julia's arms were loaded with corn and greens.   There weren't as many vendors around, but the variety and colors of the vegetables were beautiful.  Reds, oranges, greens and purples.  Bright and cheerful. The bounty of nature.  Another message from my mom whispered in my ear: "Nature will always provide."

I chose some squash and zucchini, tomatoes and onions, red peppers and fresh basil. I got a few things at one vendor, a few at another.  It's a feast for the eyes, and taste buds. I also bought some blueberry, cranberry, apricot bread freshly baked in the ovens of Country Grains Market (on Sylvania Avenue near McCord).   My breakfast for the week. 

As soon as I got home I started slicing, dicing and cooking. I usually make up my own recipes, although I think this is how my mother cooked. It's kind of in your DNA, these recipes and memories.  So here's what I did with my veggies, from the farm to my table:

Zucchini and Yellow Squash
Heat olive oil in frying pan
Add onions, fresh basil, bits of red bell pepper; mix together
Add sliced zucchini and squash, sea salt, pepper, garlic powder  Keep veggies flat to brown on both sides
Add a few drops of Sesame oil while it's cooking if you like (I love it)
Brown and serve
Options: Toward end of cooking, mix in a few dashes of Soy sauce, or a few spoons of pesto to taste, or some sliced tomatoes. Of course if you have a bright purple eggplant you would add it at the beginning with the other vegetables.

I put this mini-ratatouille over couscous with a fresh sliced tomato.  I toasted my mom with a small glass of white wine, and had a great meal.  She smiled.  Locally grown, healthy, yummy, and evocative of a loving mom.

 
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