Plenty

A friend here once said when he brought an elaborate and plentiful starter tray of Mediterranean treats – olives and pita and hummus and more – that he had “abundance issues.” He’s a mathematician – so he could probably quantify the amounts involved. But I know those issues – wanting to be sure of plenty – not just enough, but way more. Enough so there is no danger of “not enough.” It’s one of my favorite things about my old friend (she says it leads to an overstuffed refrigerator).

Especially this time of year – the CSA box brims with colorful vegetables – a big head of green cabbage, cauliflower, cilantro, Walla Walla onions, fresh garlic, green beans, sweet peas, strawberries, raspberries, and flowers. Ripening speeds up now, and in our cooler climate snap peas and kale can overlap gorgeous beefsteak tomatoes (helped by hoop houses).

At the Farmer’s Market you can find nearly any vegetable you can name – yellow beans, basil, broccoli, and beets, new potatoes, kohlrabi, carrots, and cukes. One of the local farmers makes runs to a friend’s farm in Eastern Washington where the sun is hotter, and brings back truckloads of incredible tender corn. And lately – peaches and orangey-yellow apricots.

Melons with few food miles (Eastern Washington again) have so much flavor. Sweet cantaloupe and a little seedless watermelon, which made a perfect cool, crispy note with quinoa. Curious about more quinoa (I loved having loads of leftovers), I tried Deborah’s “Quinoa Salad with Mangoes and Curry Dressing,” but added ripe Washington peaches instead of mango to local scallions and quinoa.

Containing garlic, salt, mayonnaise (or yogurt or sour cream), curry powder, lemon juice, light olive or sunflower seed oil, and finely chopped cilantro, the curry vinaigrette Deborah puts on this quinoa is delicious (also “good for beets, asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower,” she says).

August offers a wealth of summer squash – little patty pans, tiny green zucchini, and curvy small crookneck squash. A profusion of them cut apart made containers (the patty pans even have lids) to fill with chopped squash sautéed in butter, kernels from the fresh corn, rice, a little grated Muenster, scallions, a jalapeño chile (seeded and minced), and chopped cilantro (or parsley or basil). That’s Deborah again – “Zucchini with Corn and Squash Filling.”

It is a bounteous time for sure – pure pleasure all this plenty. August abundance!

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