Think global, eat local, very local

August has been called the heyday of summer - this full, warm, robust middle-age time of the year. Those of us with vegetable gardens can slow down a little now - all our efforts over the past several months have fulfilled our hopes and then some. I have an abundance of sugar snap peas - they were planted a couple of times because nothing grew and now every seed has sprouted.

They make a nice side dish to serve with seafood or poultry - for two servings, combine 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted, with dash salt, 1/2 teaspoon each Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard; set aside. In a small skillet, stir-fry about a cup of snow peas in 1 tablespoon hot vegetable oil 2-3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts; cook and stir one minute. Drizzle with butter mixture; toss to coat. Cover and cook 2 more minutes.

- from my files

"To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds, and watch the renewal of life - this is the commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do." - Charles D. Warner.

But there may not be space for a garden where you live, although many vegetables can be grown in pots on a patio.

Neighborhood gardens are sprouting up in big cities all over the U.S. Our country is waging lots of different wars today - against global warming, foreign-oil dependence, processed food, obesity and neighborhood blight. We even have an inner-city vegetable garden here in Sequim.

Growing your own vegetables has become the trendy thing to do. New developers call it edible landscapes. A campaign has begun in Washington, D.C., to get a kitchen garden growing on the White House lawn. This is not a new idea - John Adams had a garden to feed his family, Woodrow Wilson had a Liberty Garden and the Roosevelts had their Victory Gardens, as did most of us during the 1940s. It was in the 1930s that I was introduced to the joys of growing vegetables. There was a depression and it was a fifth-grade project in school to grow vegetables - the seed was planted and I have been an enthusiastic gardener ever since, and have always had a little kitchen garden.

Eating locally has become a way of life for many today. Knowing exactly where our food comes from is a concern for most of us. And food tastes so much better being picked when it's ready to be eaten, when the sun's energy has given it the maximum amount of flavor and sweetness. Eating local produce is pure pleasure.

Here are a few new ideas with vegetables, locally grown, of course -

Sauteed zucchini with

sun-dried tomatoes and basil

Two quick and easy steps for best tasting zucchini - salting it well for about 10 minutes before cooking draws out some of the water and cooking it over very high heat caramelizes the flesh before it has a chance to steam and get soggy.

3 small or 2 medium zucchini

kosher salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely diced

6 fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces

black pepper

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Trim zucchini; quarter lengthwise slicing off the top 1/4 inch of the soft seed core by running a sharp knife down the length of each quarter. Arrange the zucchini, cut side up, on a baking sheet lined with paper towels; sprinkle with kosher salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Blot the quarters dry.

Heat skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Pour in

2 tablespoons of the oil; when hot, add the zucchini and garlic and sauté until zucchini browns and softens, about 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, toss in the sun-dried tomatoes and basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon oil and serve immediately to four.

- from my files

Stir-fried green beans

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/2 cups cut fresh green beans

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried

dash cayenne pepper and salt to taste

In a large skillet stir-fry garlic in butter for 1 minute. Add the beans; stir-fry 3 minutes longer. Add other ingredients and stir-fry 2-3 minutes. Serves two.

- from my files

Rosemary-garlic roasted potatoes

Scrub 2 1/2 pounds small red new potatoes; peel away strip of skin around center of each. Toss with 1/4 cup fresh rosemary, finely chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried, 2 cloves garlic, minced, 3 tablespoons butter, melted, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in baking pan to coat well. Roast in preheated 375-degree oven one hour, turning gently every 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving to six-eight.

- from my files

Stir-fried spinach

1 tablespoon peanut oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch spinach, washed and trimmed

1 teaspoon sugar

salt to taste

Heat oil in skillet; when very hot and slightly smoking, add garlic and stir-fry about 15 seconds. Add spinach and stir-fry 2 minutes, until leaves are thoroughly coated with oil. When spinach has wilted add sugar and salt, and continue to stir-fry

4 minutes. Serves four.

- from my files

Oven-fried cauliflower

1 cup mayonnaise

1 medium cauliflower, broken into flowerets

1 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs

Place mayonnaise in plastic bag; add cauliflower, seal and shake to coat. Place bread crumbs in another plastic bag. Add half of cauliflower mixture; seal and shake to coat. Spread in a single layer onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cauliflower. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour.

- from my files

Next time you buy vegetables, that is, if you don't have your own garden, think about where the food is coming from. Think about how far the food has traveled to get to your plate and the gallons of fuel used in its migration - you will begin to think globally and eat locally, maybe very locally.

Carrot Casserole

4 medium carrots, sliced

1/3 cup finely chopped green pepper

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons butter, divided

4 teaspoons flour

salt and pepper to taste

1 small can evaporated milk

1 teaspoon minced jalapeño pepper

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

1 teaspoon savory, minced

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

Place 1 inch water in saucepan; add carrots and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 7-9 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.

In small skillet, sauté green pepper and onion in 2 tablespoons butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in jalapeño, parsley, savory and carrots. Transfer to a greased 2-cup baking dish.

In small skillet, melt remaining butter; add bread crumbs, cook and stir until toasted and browned. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake, uncovered, in preheated 350-degree oven 15-20 minutes. Serves three.

- from my files


Marian Platt's column appears the first and third week of each month in the Sequim Gazette. She can be reached at 683-4691 or via e-mail at

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