Saturday, January 29, 2011

Is It Summer Yet?

I've been "relaxing" you could say for the last week or so.  On restrictions from running or working out, vacuuming or mopping, and even lifting my children has left me spending lots of time in front of this computer.  I've been enjoying myself reading blogs of all sorts...from Moms to athletes to foodies.

Thanks to blogs like  Dietitian On the Run and Athlete's Plate , I've been inspired to get back to cooking with fresh food and eating well.  I know this will help the healing process post-surgery, but also keep me from eating everything in sight.  Not sure about you, but when I'm training my diet is spot on...when I'm not, I'm a grazing nervous mess in the kitchen.  So, I've been diligent about watching my carb and sodium intake, and have been making amazing nutrient rich vegetarian meals.  There's only one problem.....

The produce section of my local "one stop mega mart"
is absolutely depressing. 

I literally spent 20 minutes debating over which tomatoes to purchase the other day.  I realize that at this time of the year there is no getting around a tomato traveling to me from anywhere north of lets say...the equator, BUT that doesn't mean I can't set some reasonable limits right?  I can dampen the pesticide load by choosing organic varieties....I can get them from the health food store or market, to support our local folks.  Well wouldn't you know that when I picked up the plastic container holding two seemingly identical organic tomatoes from Mexico to look for a price, a nasty watery rotten mess ran down my arm...Gross!!  Follow this up with mold growing around the stems of green peppers, oily cucumbers (what is that stuff), and the sad state zucchinis and yellow squashes are in (no people, you shouldn't be able to bend them in half), I thought....Awesome, now I've completely lost my appetite. 

What the hell am I going to eat!!!

As a gardener I have been spoiled with homegrown veggies straight from the vine, stalk, and stem.  I know too much now...I've tasted the best, and nothing can compare!  I get pretty pissed talking about our industrialized food system and what a total fucking sham it is (see...), but I have to do something.   I have to come to grips with the fact that it could be JULY before the first tomato ripens in my garden. 

FACT:  My choices are limited.  Damn....

So today I sat day dreaming about my garden...scoured the seed catalog I just got, and enjoyed looking at pictures I took last summer.  I'll share a few...

I couldn't wait for this baby to get ripe.
My first tomato!

The day I made my first batch of marinara. 
Just used the last jar...sigh 

Salsa day...hoping to can a bunch this year.

After I was done, I closed my eyes to envision that summer was upon us.  I thought of how absolutely amazing the hot sun will feel on my skin.  The soil, with it's richness will be nourishing my plants, and the sounds of cicadas will be in the trees.  When the wind blows, the smells of sweet basil and mint will invigorate my senses.  All of the work watering and weeding will be the least I can do.  

I have a renewed appreciation for the harvest season
and all of it's blessings. 

So for now, I will find sustaining produce by shopping without a list.  I will enter those local markets and co-ops with an open mind  I will make my food from the staples I can get anywhere, and the fresh foods that look the best on that particular day!  I know the day will come when I can sit and savor those gorgeous tomatoes again.  Til then, this is my plan to keep me excited in the produce isle and in the kitchen.



P.S.  What do you do to keep yourself inspired when a pantry full of summer's bounty runs low?

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