Tuesday, August 27, 2013

In Season NW: Taking Full Advantage

I'm kind of getting the gist of this zombie apocalypse that seems to be the meme of the moment.

What? You haven't heard of millions of the undead rising from their graves from…fill in the blank here…radiation, a rogue virus, too much TV, whatever, to attack and, usually, eat the brains of uninfected humans who then become zombies themselves. This army of the undead then threatens to take over the world unless, and here comes the kicker, some plucky someone or group of same stops them. Yay for Earth!

Carbonara with padrons? Delicious!

The reason I'm getting that "imminent apocalypse" twinge is because almost everyone I know seems infected by the need to can, preserve, pickle, dehydrate, freeze or otherwise squirrel away every last fish, tomato, peach, mushroom, pepper or meat they meet. The number of people I know who have bought hot water-bath canners, dehydrators, kraut crocks and pressure canners is positively mind-boggling.

Tomato bean salad.

I'm finding it kind of intimidating, if you must know. I mean, I've done my fair share of syrup-making, tomato roasting and pig-butchering, but this mad dash to preserve every last shred of summer is a little obsessive. I can only imagine what it must be like for folks who don't have the wherewithal to do any or even a little.

Niçoise, anyone?

So here's my point: I'm putting out a call to simply enjoy the fruits (or peppers or tomatoes or corn) of the season right now, at their peak of ripeness and freshness. Of course you can preserve to your heart's content if you're able, but really, the best way to enjoy the richness of the harvest is, not surprisingly, right when it's harvested.

Stuffed poblano egg casserole.

To that end, I've been throwing padrons from Viridian Farms into carbonara, green beans into salads, tomatoes into pasta and shallots into salad dressings. Basil from the garden has gone into pesto, peppers have been stuffed and baked into an egg casserole and albacore loins have been grilled till they're black and blue. As Dean Martin once crooned, it's the stuff memories are made of, and the memories I'll be calling up when the rains return this winter. Not to mention those that I'll be looking forward to remaking next harvest season.

Get the recipes for the tomato tart (top photo), carbonara (throw the padrons in after the bacon has rendered its fat) and the tomato and green bean salad.


Unknown said...

Thank you, I'm right there with you! Too busy enjoying this fleeting summer to spend time preserving it.

Kathleen Bauer said...

And there is so much to enjoy, Cynthia! That said, I've put in my order for 100 lbs. of tomatoes, 1/8 of a cow and half of a lamb. While still making pesto from all the basil in the garden. How lucky are we?