August 3, 2014

First Harvest Time

Happy Lammas!
Lammas, "Loaf Mass" - also known as Lughdnasah by Gaelic people - is the first harvest time, when agrarian people of the northern hemisphere prepare fermented foods and enjoy the gifts of wheat, corn, beans, and summer squash.

Try these recipes to include first harvest foods in your meals.

Tomato Walnut Cobbler

Savory cobblers are some of my favorite summer dishes. Try this simple one to savor the colorful abundance of the season.

For the vegetables:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large zucchini or summer squash, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound cherry or grape tomatoes
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

For the topping:
1 cup organic, non-GM cornmeal
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold butter, diced
1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 9x13 glass baking dish and place chopped zucchini, salt, and pepper on it. Bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the topping ingredients together in a large bowl.
Prepare the tomatoes by rinsing them and mixing them in a bowl with parsley and chives.

Remove zucchini from oven and add tomatoes. Toss to incorporate.
Spoon topping over vegetables and bake for 25 more minutes.
Enjoy topped with goat cheese or as a side to accompany lentil dishes.

GET CREATIVE: try other fresh herbs mixed with the tomatoes, like marjoram, thyme, oregano, or basil.

Cranberry Bean and Corn Salad

You will need:
1 pound cranberry beans
¼ cup olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
2 ears fresh corn, shucked
1 teaspoons thyme, de-stemmed
2 teaspoons rosemary, de-stemmed
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak beans in cold water overnight or for 8 hours.
Then, bring beans and 8 cups water to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until beans are tender - about 35 minutes.
Drain and transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shallots until soft, about 5 minutes.
Remove corn from ears and add to skillet.
Add thyme and rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes more.
Let cool slightly; transfer to bowl with beans.
Toss with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!

Corn Cakes with Fresh Herb Spread

For the spread:
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup cashews
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon

Blend these together in a food processor.
Set aside.

For the corn cakes:
1/2 cup organic, non-GM cornmeal
1/2 cup flour (wheat, spelt, or millet)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)
2 eggs OR 4 tablespoons flaxseed meal dissolved in just as much hot water
3/4 cup fresh sweet corn kernels - about 1 large cob
olive or sunflower oil for cooking

Whisk together cornmeal, flour, powder salt and paprika in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center, add butter, milk, eggs/flaxseed, and corn.
Whisk wet ingredients together briefly then incorpoate with dry ingredients.
Heat some olive or sunflower oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Pour small amounts of batter onto the skillet (about 1/4 cup per corn cake).
Cook until cakes are golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
Serve warm with a garnish of herb spread.

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