Tuesday, June 28, 2011

everything in its season

I cannot tell you how happy I am to find myself leaving the farmer's market Saturday mornings with a bag full freshly picked deliciousness, just waiting to be gobbled up by my little family. As we move deeper into summer and each week passes, there are more and more options for dinner growing in our own backyard, and coming from the local farms around us.

When foods are picked the moment they are ripe--rather than days or weeks ahead of time like some produce you buy in the store--the difference is HUGE. 
The local produce actually TASTES, and it tastes wonderful. Incomparable. Basically, you haven't LIVED until you've eaten a freshly picked peach......really.

With all this perfectly fresh picked taste, you can focus a meal around the vegetables, instead of having them as a small, boring side dish smothered with some kind of sauce. 

When eaten in their season--when they are actually supposed to grow (strawberries in the spring/early summer, tomatoes in the summer, broccoli in the cooler months of spring/fall....etc), because they are picked and eaten right at their peak, they actually have more vitamins and nutrients than their phony cousins who are forced to grow year round, picked early, and shipped across the country. 

The bottom line is, the closer it grows to home, the better it is for you and the taste doesn't even compare.

My challenge for you this week is 
a) you still have time to plant a small garden/a few veggies in pots....
or b) find a farmer's market near you! (check here for an easy search). 
It's also a good way to try out new things that you may never grow yourself, or might not even find in the store. My kids love going to the famers market, and it's a good way to teach your kids about where our food comes from and let them talk to the farmers!

I planted arugula this year and it took off like crazy! What does one do with so much arugula? I decided to make a simple pesto with it, and tossed it with pasta and our farmer's market finds. 
I feel like every so often I need to make a disclaimer and remind people how I cook.......handfuls of this and pinches of that......no measurements so you can make it up as you go:)

Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Spring Veggies
for the pesto:
two large handfuls of arugula
1 handful of basil 
1/2 cup-ish toasted walnuts
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon
handful of shredded parmesan cheese
olive oil until you reach the consistency you like 
salt and pepper to taste

add ingredients to a food processor or small chopper and let-er-rip.
Continue to slowly add in olive oil until the pesto is at a consistency you like (around a 1/2 a cup or so is what I used)
Cook your pasta according to package directions (we used whole wheat spaghetti)

While pasta is cooking, sauté fresh spring onions (NOTHING like store bought!), and zucchini in a bit of olive oil. When onions and zucchini are tender, mix in shelled peas and cook for a few minutes more. When pasta is done, strain and add to veggies, and then toss with pesto for a few minutes in the pan.


We finished off the rest of the pesto with mozzarella and our farmer's market tomatoes.


I'd love to hear what you are finding at YOUR famers market or in your garden right now??!


The Fredy Family said...

Yum yum yum!!! I am always making fresh pesto. Cole and Siena love it and we can't even get them to eat a red sauce. :-)

Ashley said...

Yummy! I have been wanting to try a recipe with homemade pesto! I just recieved an awesome cookbook from Williams Sonoma. It's called Cooking From the Farmer's Market. It's awesome because it goes through each vegetable and a lot of the recipes include several different things together...so I can incorporate the herbs and not leave them to waste in the garden. I will have a few recipes on my blog sometime soon.

Akvilina said...

Uuuuhh, peas are in season. Some last strawberries and the cherries are almost red enough to eat. We just had out first potatoes dug out, and cooked with our national pink cold soup :) cucumbers and tomatoes are almoust ready as well. It's that time of the season, when the the garden is the most harvesting...

Christine said...

After living in the same place for almost five years I finally ventured out and found one last month! Score! Strawberries, avocados, and the best hummus in the world!

Lillian said...

YUM - I love arugula:) I just picked the last of our peas this morning and used them to make pesto, too, with basil, garlic, lemon juice olive oil and this yummy aged goat cheese from a favorite stand at the farmer's market. It's all mixed up and over orzo with halved sun sweet cherry tomatoes from another favorite farmer's market stand. We're eating cold as a pasta salad I can't wait! Also in season: cherries and raspberries and blueberries now! YAY YAY YAY for berries!! We also just picked the first of our beets and carrots and roasted them for dinner last night - so good! I LOVE this time of year for the freshness and the excitement for all that is to come in summer produce:)

Anonymous said...

This kind of spagghetti is my fav!
If you could visit my garden tomorrow you'd see:3 fluffy green peppers growing fluffier each day, baby herbs (e.g. rocket), spring onions -lots of them and baby courgettes in orange bloom!
Can't tell you how eager I am to taste them!

banananutmeg said...

squash! so much squash! Peppers, potatoes, green beans, strawberries, blackberries, spinach and herbs. And slowly appearing on the vines...tomatoes! It cooled off enough that there is hope we'll get a few afterall! yay!

Bridget said...

oh my gosh, that looks so good. and as a peach-whore, i would love to have one picked WHEN ripe instead of having it sit in my fruit dish for days before it's soft enough to eat!

tegyn said...

i planted a garden (yay!!) a few weeks ago. I just ate my very first baby radish yesterday!

kyleen said...

The pasta looks so deliciously summer-y. I'm waiting for my basil plant to grow enough so I can make some pesto :D

Diana said...

Tons of asparagus, garlic scapes, and pea tendrils. Seems like every restaurant in town is doing something with pea tendrils!

another feather said...

This is my favorite time of year for eating. Everything is available and plenty of it at the farmer's market! love it. We've been eating plenty of fresh picked blueberries, blackberries, purple potatoes, goat cheese, swiss chard, and kale from our local farmers market!

kassidi bridge said...

amen sista!! that pasta looks fantastic, yum! our tomato plants are getting huge, i'm getting SOOO excited!!

mummydinosaur said...

I love arugula pesto - we pair it with roasted marinated portobello mushrooms in pasta or porto "burgers" - yum. I must admit that I buy my arugula from the farmer's market tho'.

Amy J. and Tiffanie A. said...

What a great recipe you have!! I love arugula and I never have enough recipes to put it in!! Saw your blog and food gawker! Cannot wait for new recipes to come.



Unknown said...

We just finished picking our strawberries and now the zucchini & kale are ready. Yum!

Anonymous said...

wow, this recipe is brilliant especially since I have arugula and basil ready for the picking in our garden! Whatya got for eggplants and squash??