My favorite time of year…no, my other favorite time of year.

Published this week in my CSA Newsletter, Bob’s Fresh and Local.

This is my favorite time of year, when all the beautiful summer veggies come from the fields into my kitchen. Oh, wait, I think I said that about early spring and the first greens. OK, ok, I just love the whole year in any year that I can have a part in bringing beautiful veggies into the world.

So let’s talk about this particular favorite time of year. Summer squash. Early cucumbers. Cabbage. Broccoli. Cauliflower. And of course that beautiful kale (hasn’t Farmer Bob’s kale been gorgeous this year?)

I saved my summer squash from last week, so with what’s coming in this week, I’ll have plenty to make a soup to share. This squash soup is a lovely recipe with a very slight sweet flavor.

SUMMER SQUASH & CORN SOUP

Ingredients
• 1 pound yellow summer squash
• 2 ears corn
• 3 large shallots (or use some of the leeks)
• 2 large garlic cloves (or use some garlic scapes)
• 1 fresh jalapeño chile
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 1/2 cups water

Instructions
1. Cut up summer squash into cubes, and cut corn kernels away from the cob. Mince the garlic and finely chop the shallots or leeks.
2. Add some extra virgin olive oil to the bottom of a soup pan.
3. Saute the garlic and shallots or leeks.
4. Add the veggies and water to just barely cover, no more than 2-1/2 cups.
5. Return to simmer, add seasonings (I usually bump them up).
6. When done, pulse soup in a blender, preserving texture.
7. Pour back into the pot, check and adjust seasoning, and hold warm.
8. At serving time, garnish with jalapeno slices and/or sour cream or yogurt. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the surface.

I originally found this recipe at loveandoliveoil.com. I’ve used it many times with groups, and it always gets great reviews! I usually at least double it and bump up the seasonings a little.

We’ll enjoy cucumbers again this week as well. Of course, anything you don’t use right away can be pickled. Last week I pickled the rainbow chard stems along with a garlic scape (if you love garlic flavor, these scapes deliver a powerful punch). Can’t wait to see how that comes out! The cucumbers this week can also be pickled — just use the recipe I provided for refrigerator pickles.

But here’s another way to try them, and it’s delicious! A Hungarian friend shared her recipe with me many years ago — would you believe more than 40? It dropped out of my recipe repertoire somehow because I’ve just been doing vegan recipes. Sadly, I will have to wait on this one until Perfect Day perfects its milk, which they promise will have all the properties of cows’ milk but without using a cow. I’ve already translated most of my former cafe recipes.

Lots of yummy salads! The Creamy Cucumber Salad is at 5:00 in the right picture.

CREAMY CUCUMBER SALAD

Ingredients
• Cucumbers, 4, washed, sliced in half lengthwise, deseeded, thinly sliced across (thin slicer blade on mandolin or processor)
• Salt, 1 TB
• Garlic, 1 fresh clove (or some garlic scape)
• Sugar, 2 TB
• Vinegar, white, 1/4 cup
• Middle Eastern Labne or Greek yogurt, 3 TB – 1/2 cup

Instructions
1. Mix the deseeded thinly sliced cucumber in a bowl with the salt and minced garlic (or garlic scape).
2. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, overnight if you wish.
3. Remove from refrigerator and drain accumulated liquid, squeezing it from the cucumbers.
4. Return drained and squeezed cucumbers to the bowl. Mix with sugar and white vinegar.
5. Cover and refrigerate for at least another hour.
6. Remove from the refrigerator and drain accumulated liquid, again squeezing it from the cucumbers.
7. Return drained and squeezed cucumbers to the bowl, and fold in Middle Eastern Labne. Greek yogurt, preferably full fat, makes a good substitute.

Just two weeks ago, our beautiful yellow summer squash was a small yellow flower.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

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