Farmer’s Market Friday: Simple Squash Soup

Vegetable gardens make me happy. I love getting my hands into the dirt and face close to the ground to investigate what is going on down there. If I look closely and sit very quietly next to a plant for a few minutes, I can see the garden  teeming with life,: wasps, bees, worms, birds, and every once in a while an unwelcome caterpillar. It’ s amazing to me that they all work in such harmony.

our garden

So far our organic and companion planting methods have worked well and the all of the plants except the squash seem happy. I have managed to harvest a few squash, but discovered we have squash vine borers. I awoke this morning after so much rain to see the squash looks even worse than the picture below and most of our plants had to be pulled up. You can see the base of the vine is where the larvae breaks in and destroys it, causing the leaves and stems to wilt and die. . What a pain! Oh, well. Check out some of  the other plants sprouting and flowering!

yellow squash

lettuce

eggplant

 

cucumber

marigolds

 

cherry tomato

 

 

So how do you grow an organic garden without being  invaded by pests?

Pests are inevitable. Prevention is key. Now that we know we will have squash vinve borer problems, we will have to pay closer attention  to prevent the larvae from being hatched!

 1) Companion planting-Try planting beans with cucumbers, basil with tomatoes, chives with peas, peppers  near eggplant, etc. You can read a great article on companion planting from Mother Earth News  HERE.

2) Marigolds everywhere! I plant 2 or 3 different marigold varieties.

3) Keep birds busy with a birdfeeder nearby. Otherwise they may try to eat all of your pretty tomatoes.

4) Attract bees and beneficial insects with other beneficial plants-I planted bee balm and salvia throughout the garden to attract beneficial insects.

5) Prevent squash borers with row covers. Cover the young plants with a very light row cover until they begin to flower. Then uncover them so they can be pollinated. This will prevent moths from laying eggs on the plants. This is a lesson learned for us this year.

5) Keep a garden journal and map out what you planted, how many plants, and where they are situated in the garden. Track how much produce you are getting, how often you fertilize and water, etc. This way you can look back and see what you did right or wrong if pests invade!

I transformed the 5 or 6 squash we harvested into a delicious soup. My mom made me an incredible squash soup last year around this time and I asked her for the recipe. I am not sure where this recipe came from, but it is my get -rid of -copious-amounts-of-squash-recipe.

Simple, refreshing and fast, this soup is the epitome of an easy, summer meal.

I don’t think you can screw up this soup. You can add more cream or any kind of fresh herb to your liking. Just make sure to use yellow summer squash.

In Love and Health,

Lydia

Summer Squash Soup

Serves 6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Meal type Soup
This creamy summer squash soup is a cinch to make with only a few ingredients and 10 minutes of your time!

Ingredients

  • 1 vidalia onion (chopped)
  • 2-3lb yellow squash (sliced thinly)
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 3 tablespoons chives
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Step 1
Chop vidalia onion. Saute in butter for 5-8 minutes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Meanwhile boil chicken stock. Drop in the chopped squash into the stock and cook 4-5 minutes.
Step 2
Puree the squash, chicken stock, and onion in a food processor until smooth. Add back to the soup pot, and stir in the half and half. Serve warm garnished with chives.

 

Farmer’s Market Friday: Snap Pea and Squash Risotto

risottoI so  look forward to Saturday mornings :the early morning alarm, the long run with the C.R.E.W. and the sense of accomplishment after completing the run, a breakfast outing with friends or even enjoying couple time with chai lattes and lastly, but most importantly, exploring the farmer’s market in our beautiful city with my husband. I find infinitely more joy out of shopping locally than going to the grocery store because I know at the market I can buy meat that has been treated humanely and pasture-raised and vegetables  grown without pesticides. Plus, the variety is astounding !

The market was teeming with peas last Saturday: Snap peas, green peas, crowder peas, butterbeans! The first batch of squash was peeking out of the some of the stands, so I had to grab some of that, too.  I decided upon a risotto for dinner.

Risotto is a luxurious rice dish.  The basic idea is to stir a warm liquid into warmed rice continuously in small batches until the broth is completely absorbed. The more you stir and the more patient you are in letting the rice absorb the liquid, the creamier the risotto will become.

Arborio rice is the true “risotto” rice . Risotto rices are plump, short grain, and all have a high proportion of amylopectin, a type of sticky starch that’s responsible for the trademark creamy texture of risotto. I have heard that you can make risotto with barley, so you could try that here too.

Top this with a grilled chicken breast or pan-sauteed tempeh or even fresh grilled shrimp or fish for a perfect summertime meal!

Snap Pea and Squash Risotto

Serves 10
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish, Side Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Creamy snap pea and squash risotto gets a healthy makeover.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped finely)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
  • 1/4 cup chives (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons organic butter
  • 1/2 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs ((thyme, sage, rosemary, tarragon, basil, etc))
  • 1lb yellow squash
  • 8oz snap peas (blanched in boiling water for 1 minute)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Step 1
Warm the chicken broth in a pot. Meanwhile, saute the squash in a pan over medium-high heat for 7-9 minutes in 1T of butter until browned. Set aside.
Step 2
Blanch the snap peas in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
Step 3
In a saucepan on medium heat , warm 1T butter and saute the onion in the butter for 3 minute. Stir in the rice and stir continuously for 1 minute.
Step 4
Pour in the wine and stir at least 30 seconds continuously.
Step 5
Keeping the heat on medium, add 1 Cup of the warm chicken broth. Stir continuously until it is absorbed (you will know the broth is absorbed when you can draw a line with your spoon in the rice and see the bottom of the pan) (About 5 minutes).
Step 6
Add another 1/2 C broth and stir until continuously until completely absorbed. Continue this with 1/2 cups of broth until risotto is creamy(at least 20-25 minutes).
Step 7
Stir in vegetables, herbs, and lemon zest and cook 1 more minute.
Step 8
Stir in cheese, salt ,pepper, and lemon juice. Serve.