Watermelon, Juliet Tomato and Carmen Pepper Salad with Feta and Lime-Ginger-Kalamata Dressing

Photo by Pornchai Mittongtare for Simply Zov, Rustic Classics with a Mediterranean Twist by Zov Karamardian as featured in Jaden Hair's SteamyKitchen.com

The September farm share for Glade Road Growing is expected to include:  eggplant, Juliet tomatoes, lettuce mix and red carmen peppers.

While it's still summer I wanted to include a recipe for a salad that included watermelon.    The Juliet tomatoes are slightly larger than a grape tomato and shaped like a Roma.  They are sweet and perfect for this salad, although the photograph shows larger mixed heirloom tomatoes. Do not refrigerate them (or any fresh tomatoes) as they will get pulpy.

The vinaigrette is my own and I use basil, rather than mint and dice my onions fine and keep the cuke's skins and seeds (unless the seeds are large, then I scoop them out with a spoon.)

Lime Ginger Dressing:
1. Mince one tablespoon of fresh ginger.  Grate the zest off of one fresh lime. Finely chop two tablespoons of Kalamata olives, pits removed.

 2.  In a small bowl, whisk together the ginger, zest and 2 tablespoons of lime juice and 2 teaspoons of demerera sugar.  Gradually whisk in 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil.  Stir in olives and add fresh ground pepper to taste.  If you want, you can store this in  tightly-sealed jar in the refigerator.  Let the dressing stand at room temperature until the olive oil liquefies, about 20 minutes, before shaking to blend.

1.  Peel alternating strips of a small cucumber.  Slice thinly.  Peel and cut off stem of one small onion and finely dice.  Cut the Juliet tomatoes in half.  Cut peppers in half and remove stem, seeds and white membrane.  Cut into bite-size chunks.  Thinly slice 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves.  Place in a large bowl.
2.  Remove rind and seeds from watermelon and cut into bite size chunks to make an equal volume with the veggies in step one and add to bowl.

3.  Drain and rinse 7 oz. of feta and cut into 1/2 inch cubes and add to bowl.
4.  Just before serving, add enough dressing to coat and toss lightly.  If you'd like serve on a bed of  lettuce mix or thinly sliced kale or spinach.


Save Our Towns Summit in Abingdon September 9-10

Abingdon, VA, Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center
A block of rooms have been made available (under “Virginia Tech”) at the Comfort Inn & Suites, Exit 14, 1093 Ole Berry Road, Abingdon, VA 24210 276-698-3040.
$49: Registration - September 10
$35: September 9th Optional Regional Tour for participants 
To register online: https://www2.cpe.vt.edu/ShopCartEdit.aspx?section_id=6376
All other registrations, download pdf: http://www.cpe.vt.edu/reg/saveourtowns/saveourtowns.pdf


Wednesday, September 9th (Optional tour for participants)

11:30 a.m. – Noon Registration (@ Heartwood) for Regional Tour – Community Assets
Noon Depart Heartwood – Trolley Transportation Provided
12:30 – 1:45 p.m. Harvest Table Restaurant – Meadowview, Virginia
Lunch and discussion of the restaurant’s philosophy, the farm that supports the restaurant.
Other topics include community capacity building in Meadowview.
1:45 – 2:15 p.m. Trolley Transportation Provided – Municipal Lot Abingdon
2:15 – 3:15 p.m. Presentations at the Farmer’s Market, Abingdon
Origins and development of the market. Its use as both a market and a venue. Discussion regarding the “Rooted in Appalachia” program, local wineries, craft brewing industry, and the Creeper Trail.
3:15 – 3:30 p.m. Walk to the Arts Depot
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Arts and Culture Presentation at the Arts Depot. The presentation will focus on arts incubation and development and issues and opportunities related to local artists.
4:30 p.m. Trolley Transportation Provided – Guided Downtown Tour – Return to Heartwood
5:00 – 5:45 p.m. The Crooked Road Presentation at Heartwood with Jack Hinshelwood. Presentation topic will focus on the creative economy and identification of local cultural assets.
6:00 p.m. Dinner on your own

Thursday, September 10th (Summit)

7:30 a.m. Exhibit Set-Up Begins
8:00 – 9:30 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. Opening General Session Welcome/Set the Stage: Keith Pierce, Moderator and Greg Kelly, Abingdon Town Manager; Keynote Presentation: Basil Gooden, State Director, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, Commonwealth of VirginiaUSDA Rural Development

10:00 – 10:45 a.m. CONCURRENT SESSION I:

  • Housing for All
  • Main Street Initiatives
  • Infrastructure: Planning and Funding
  • Meet the Towns from Save Our Towns Internet Series

10:45 – 11:15 a.m. Networking Break with Resource Providers and Poster Showcase
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CONCURRENT SESSION II:

  • Asset Mapping Maintaining Technology/Broadband
  • Infrastructure: Maintenance and Funding
  • Being Proactive in the New Economy: Tourism, Internet Biz, Incubator
  • Meet the Towns from Save Our Towns Internet Series

12:15 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch + General Session:  Keynote Presentation: Appalachian storyteller Saundra Kelley
1:30 – 2:15 p.m. Action Planning – Town Hall Meeting – How will we use what we have learned today? (Keith Pierce, facilitator)
2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Closing Session
“As you go out perspectives – realistic next steps”: Suzanne Morse Moomaw, Director, Community Design Research Center/Academic lead, Appalachian Prosperity Project, University of Virginia
3:15 p.m. Networking & Refreshment Break in Exhibit Hall (Resource/Poster Showcase)
4:00 p.m. Adjournment


On Asters and Wood Asters

Some of my friends, such as Rachel, rescue animals. I have done the same in the past, but my current landlord nixes the idea, so I rescue plants. You might have noticed the horticulture death camps aka Kroger and Walmart and one apartment I shared with a roommate who shall go unnamed.

I have a velvet plant propagated from a cutting from a straggly victim of said roommate before she could kill it.  I've got an orchid that's re-bloomed and last fall I picked up a New York aster, my favorite blue, the color of the periwinkles my dad raised.  My friend Cara kept all of them alive (she called them the Green Wellingtons) during my time away from home after an unfortunate December run-in with a car in a crosswalk (I was the pedestrian) that left me with shattered legs, a dropped foot and a still painful broken shoulder which made my left arm pretty useless.

So, when Cara wrote me a note back in April to say she and Mike were about to leave leaving the country for 13 days starting Wednesday and she needed to return my plants, I was apprehensive. After all, I was still homebound and could barely feed and water myself.  It fell to Mike to bring them by.  And although he was  on his way to a gig, he kindly helped me re-pot them into lighter containers which I'd be able to take to the sink from my desk one at a time via walker.

Happily, my bedroom is sunny and all of the houseplants are doing well, and if anything, helping  me heal, however slowly. I've even got a new addition, a basil plant which Sue brought me.

New York asters, though, require full sun. I thought my adopted had baked to death recently, since I couldn't set it in the ground (the landlord warned his groundskeeper might mistake it for a week unless I marked it clearly and I just wasn't up to digging a hole anyway.)  Full of guilt and sadness, I watered the pot of scorched stalks and leaves one last time and set it with some small measure of optimism  against the building.

The aster failed to come back to life. In fact, it dried up until it resembled a tumbleweed. I even announced its demise to one of my favorite circulation staff members whom I had promised a start if I were able to divide the root stock. (She too loves the color and had kept it on her desk for the day while I ran errands until I could return to the library to take it home.)  She consoled me that she had lost some of her rose bushes.

And then today, a small miracle, new green leaves! If this aster doesn't make it after all, my next will be a wood aster, even if I have to buy it retail. Strangely, this beautiful late flowering native plant is sometimes called a weed because it can grow almost anywhere, loves the shade and can tolerate dry soil.  Fittingly, its largest populations can be found in Appalachia, although it's been known to thrive even in Central Park.  While the white version is most common, there's even a variety in my favorite color.  And looking at its photograph, I think it is even lovelier than the domesticated version; its disk florets start out yellow, but eventually turn purple.


Garlic and Ginger Roasted String Beans and Red Peppers with Red Onion, Coconut and Lime Dressing

Photo by Kalyn Denny inspired my own recipe.  The vinaigrette  is a variation on one by the wonderful Molly Kazen, who uses hers in a recipe for roasted eggplant.

The veggies in the August 24 share from Glade Road Growing is slated to include:  eggplant, green beans, sweet red Italian peppers, red onions and lettuce mix.  If you wanted you could also use the eggplant in this recipe.  I have a green bean and cucumber salad here and a Salad Ni├žoise that includes green beans here.  I love green beans so much, I've even got a poem about them (published some decades back in Artemis.


Serves 4

1.  To make coconut milk,  heat 2 cups of water on the stove until it’s hot, but not boiling.  Put 1 cup dried coconut chips in a blender and add hot water.  Blend on high  for 2 minutes or until you get a creamy, thick homemade coconut milk.  Line a strainer or colander with cheesecloth. Pour the coconut milk through the lined strainer into a bowl. This will remove any larger remaining coconut meat. When you’re done pouring the coconut milk through the strainer, ball up the cheesecloth and give it a good squeeze to press the remaining liquid through. You can use your residual coconut caught in the cheesecloth in a recipe that calls for coconut.  You will need 3 tablespoons to make 3/4 of a cup dressing.  Transfer coconut milk from the bowl into a lidded glass container and keep in the refrigerator for up to four days.  Or you can preserve the unused portion longer by freezing it in an ice cube tray. Once firm, transfer the cubes to a wide mouth canning jar for longer storage to pull out what you need, when you need it.

2.  To make the dressing, finely chop  4  tablespoon of  red onion.  In a small bowl, combine with 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk,½ teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon demerara sugar or honey and whisk to thoroughly blend. Drizzle in 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, whisking as you go, until it is fully incorporated.  Store in a tightly covered container (a small jar with a lid is ideal) in the refrigerator. Shake and/or stir from the bottom before use. Makes about ¾ cup.

3.   Preheat oven to 450F (or I used my countertop convection oven at the same temperature.

4.  Mince enough fresh garlic (4-5 large cloves) to make a heaping tablespoon. Peel fresh ginger root and finely mince enough a heaping tablespoon.  Add to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a small container and let it marinate.

5.  Cut red peppers in fourths lengthwise, removing the stems and seeds and trimming any white pithy parts.   Cut into thin strps.  Trim ends of green beans and cut them in half.  Put in a medium-sized bowl and toss with the seasoned olive oil from Step 4. Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Spread the vegetables out on a large baking sheet, arranging it so vegetables aren't crowded (as much as you can.) Roast 15 minutes, or until a few beans are starting to look browned and the veggies are tender-crisp.

6.  Place 4 tablespoons of the dressing in a shallow dish or large pie pan.  Transfer the still-hot veggies directly to dressing in the dish.  Let them  it sit to absorb the dressing as they cool to room temperature.  Stir in another 2 tablespoons or so of the dressing.  Cover and refrigerate for at least and hour or up to two days.  Serve cold or at cool room temperature. Top, if you'd like with red pepper flakes and toasted chopped peanuts. 


Pickled Summer Veggies!

I found this gorgeous photo at the website for  Virginia Willis (bio).  My friend Jessica Schultz, aka the Bagel Lady, had been asking about about okra recipes. This is for her, right now.  Maybe I'll get to use it for Glade Road Growing, if the share ever includes Sally and JP's okra.


Serves 8

1. Fill a large bowl with ice and water to make a bath. Remove alternating stripes of peel from a cuke and set aside. Halve and thinly slice one red onion. Sut 1 large garlic clove (or more!) into slivers.

2. Cut 8 cups assorted veggies such as carrots, cauliflower florets, green beans, wax beans, and small okra. Over high heat, bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook these veggeies vegetables in the boiling water until vibrant in color but still firm, 1-2 minutes. Drain well in a colander, and then set the colander with the veggies in the ice-water bath to set the color and stop the cooking, making sure the vegetables are submerged. Drain well. Set aside.

3. Place ½ the red onion, garlic, 1 tsp. each of mustard seeds, coriander seeds, and white peppercorns in the bottom of a large sealable bowl or jar. Transfer the blanched vegetables to the jar, layering to alternate the color and texture. Layer in remaining ½ onion, cucumber, and 4 small red peppers.

3. In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine 6 cups white vinegar, 2 cups demerara sugar, and 3/4 cup kosher salt and cook until just under a boil. Pour mixture directly over vegetables and spices. Depending on the size container and the size of the vegetables you may not use all of the vinegar. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. Cover or seal and store refrigerated, stirring occasionally, for at least 48 hours. Serve well-chilled.


Chard with Tomatoes and Tempeh

Photo is cropped by one  Gnoe of Utrech, Holland.


Veggies in the farm share from Glade Road Growing the week of August 18 are expected to include:  sweet peppers, eggplant, garlic, tomatoes, and rainbow chard. 

I like to serve this recipe over cooked brown rice, quinoa or buckwheat kasha, drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar. 

Two previous recipes are for eggplant rollups with chard and chard with a balsamic vinegar and rosemary syrup.  The chard would also be great tossed with warm cooked lentils to wilt  and then chillded and served in a salad with the tomatoes, the peppers and some feta cheese.

Serves 4

1.  Wash and rinse chard twice and drain in collander.  Slice stems and chard leaves in 1/2 pieces, keeping stems separate.

2.  Wash tomatoes and dice.

3.  Peel and smash 8 cloves of garlic and chop finely
3 cloves garlic, minced

4.  Cut  2 blocks of tempeh into cubes

5.  Saute tempeh and garlic in a cast iron skillet coated well with extra virgin olive oil until light brown in color.  Add chard stems, red pepper flakes and sea salt to taste with some more oil and cook for a couple of minutes until stems are soft.

6.  Transfer to a covered saucepan.   Add chopped chard leaves and a bit more oil, mixing well to coat evenly.  Cover and let simmer for about 6-8 minutes, until leaves are wilted. Stir occasionally. When chard is done, add tomatoes.


Amanda Pauley's story ""Jack Nicely" will be in October Carve Magazine

Looking forward to the October issue of  Carve Magazine,  which will include  Amanda Pauley​'s (website) story "Jack Nicely" (She placed 3rd in the magazine's annual Raymond Carver Short Story Contest   Andre Dubus III judged.)

Amanda, who Amanda received an MFA from Hollins in 2014, wrote there were over 1200 entries and tells something of the story's history on her Facebook page:

This story began to form when I worked at Social Services and was given a tour of the DCSE, and later interviewed an employee there. Then it was written, rewritten, rewritten in a different point of view, and REJECTED 32 times.

Her two years at Social Services had already yielded another published story, "Braids" in  the third issue of the Masters Review Anthology. (You can read an interview on that story here.)  "Butchering" appeared in Mud Season Review, along with another interview. You can read her story, "An Ace Up My Sleeve" in Gravel.  Shennandoah Magazine published her flash fiction piece "Hope."  Steel Toe Review published her story, "Muddy Water." 

 Her work has also appeared in  Arts & Letters ("The Window"), Clinch Mountain Review ("Dark Eyes"), West Trade Review ("Blind Fish") and  Canyon Voices.


Chickpea Ratatouille with Quinoa

Photo from Sonia Lacasse at The Healthy Foodie

Glade Road Growing's  vegetable share for the week of August 11 is expected to include tomatoes, red onions, sweet peppers, eggplant and summer squash.  As Sally suggested, this is perfect for ratatouille.  Two years ago, I posted a recipe here and have another one for you today.


Serves 6

1.  Cook 1 and 1/2 cups of dry chickpeas.  In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid, cover with 3 cups water, and and bring to a boil.  Rinse.  Return to pot, add ½ teaspoon sea salt and bring again to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let stand over night or for at least one hour. Rinse a second time.  Add two cups of water and bring to a boil again and simmer on low heat until soft, about 1 hour.

2.  In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid, combine 1 1/2  cup quinoa, 3 cups water, and and bring to a boil.  Rinse.  Return to pot, add ½ teaspoon sea salt and bring again to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and leave for 20 minutes until water is absorbed.

3.  While quinoa is cooking, wash, peel and chop onion.  If you are using cherry tomatoes, cut in half.  Otherwise chop coarsely to make 2 cups.  Cut 1 eggplant (about 1 pound) into 1/2-inch pieces.   Cut squash in half lengthwise and cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick pieces.  Cut peppers in half and remove seeds and stems and slice into 1 inch pieces.  Smash and peel 6 cloves of garlic and mince.  Rinse basil and remove leaves from stems to make about 1/2 cup. 

4.  Heat 1 TB extra virgin olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion  and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another minutes.  Remove to plate.  Replenish oil and cook peppers until soft.  Remove to plate and repeat for squash and then egg plant.

5.  In a 3 quart covered saucepan, add tomatoes, cooked vegetables, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until eggplant is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the cooked chickpeas and cook just until heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove the vegetables from heat and stir in  fresh basil leaves.

6.  Uncover the quinoa and fluff with a fork. Divide among six bowls and top with vegetables and, if you like, some shaved Parmesan or Asiago cheese.


Thai Grilled Eggplant Salad (Yum Makeua Yao)

Photo from Rachel Cox of Rachel Cooks Thai

The farm share for Glade Road Growing for the week of August 4 is slated to include: tomatoes, lettuce mix, cucumber,  cilantro, and eggplant.  I thought I'd travel this week to Thailand, inspired by Rachel Cox, but substituting this homemade vegetarian sauce for the traditional fish sauce and peanuts for the dried shrimp...


Serves 4

1.  To make the sauce,  the night before, combine in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil:
      1 1/2 cups shredded seaweed
      1/2 cup of dried shitaki mushrooms
      6 cups water
      6 fat cloves garlic, crushed but not peeled
      1 T peppercorns

Lower heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Strain and return the liquid back to the pot. Add 1 cup soy sauce, bring back to a boil and cook until mixture is reduced.  Remove from heat, cool and  and stir in 1 TB miso.  Decant into a bottle and keep in the refrigerator.

2.  If we have oriental eggplant this week, use them whole.  If they are the Italian variety, you can cut them in half. Grill outside or roast in oven or convection oven until soft to the touch, which will take about 20-30 minutes.   Remove and let cool in a covered container.

3.  While the eggplant is cooking, boil 4 eggs (duck eggs are great, or chicken eggs, if you don't have them) for approximately 7 minutes to achieve a soft boiled egg. Allow to cool and then peel.
4.  Chop 1/4 cup of cilantro coarsely.  Thinly slice 2 TB of shallots or thinly chop the same amount of red onions.  

5.  To prepare dressing, combine:
      1 T sauce from step one
      1 T lime juice
      1 T demerara  sugar
      1/2 tsp.  dried red chili peppers 

6.   Peel the eggplant and cut into bite-sized pieces. You should have roughly 1 cup. If you have more or less, adjust the amounts of the other ingredients accordingly. Combine the  eggplant with the chopped cilantro, 4 T chopped toasted peanuts and dressing. Divide into four bowls. Slice the soft boiled eggs in half one to the side of each salad. ( (If you are feeding vegans, you can substitute a block of tempeh, sliced thinly.)  Serve while the eggplant is still slightly warm.