Cooking with the Seasons

Seasonal produce offers a natural menu guide. It is a lot easier to decide what to eat when we stick to what’s fresh, local and seasonal. Not only will our produce be more flavorful and of better quality, but eating this way will also keep our bodies in sync with the changing season. As summer wanes and fall makes an entry, it’s a great time to experiment with squashes and root vegetables. Also, you can still make the most of the figs and stone fruit that are available fresh from local growers.

A pan seared peach salad is a great way to enjoy the final notes of summer. Slice a large peach and grill it or pan sear it with olive oil and fresh thyme. Add a little salt or sweet soy sauce and cook til the peach is browned on the outside. Eat it over a bed of arugula. Add olive oil, fresh dill, a squeezed lemon slice, and either goat cheese or avocado. Great with pea shoots or mung bean sprouts.

Late summer/early fall is also an excellent time to make use of the variety of squash that can be found at your local market. I have been enjoying collard wraps as a warm yet relatively light dinner. Steam whole collard greens in a large pot. In a skillet, add a rounded tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil. Add spices:

cinnamon sticks

cumin seeds

coriander

fresh grated turmeric

fresh grated ginger

caraway seeds

sea salt to taste

optional: a tiny dash of hing/asafoetida

Allow the spices to cook into the oil for a few minutes. Be sure to turn the heat down before the oil smokes! Add cubed summer squash (I usually pick up a variety. Two small summer squash will go a long way and can usually feed two people). Add 1/4 cup of mung bean sprouts. Sautee squash, sprouts, and spices for ten minutes, until squash softens. Now you have a tasty filling to wrap up in those steamed collards. Great with a slice of fresh avocado and a little mango chutney. You can also spread some nut butter on the collards before doing the wrap for a little more hearty creaminess.

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