Monday, July 8, 2013

July Menus and Recipes

Gladiolas and Zinnias near Fence
In Neighbor's Yard

“Hot July Brings Cooling Showers, Apricots & Gillyflowers”*

I must admit that I’m a stress-eater. I started this pattern during the frequent rocky times in my early adolescence, and continued it through most of my life. The pattern resurged most recently during my downsizing by management and my consequent departure from my day job, as I labored over the choice between reliable income and taking care of myself. Scientists have shown that eating carbohydrates stimulates serotonin production in the brain, which reduces depression, normalizes sleep patterns, and generally makes one feel better. I’ve never met a carb I didn’t like (either starch or sugar), and during the recent past have relied heavily on them at the expense of eating more healthful, fiber-filled foods (although oddly enough I also consumed a lot of kale, which I also craved!) And yes, I did gain weight, and so did my husband. He never spies a carb he doesn’t like, especially if his wife is eating it. This month, we’ve agreed to plan menus with lighter, more veggie-oriented foods. With our garden and CSA both providing fruit and veggie bounty, this decision is “seasonally correct.”

Branches Loaded with Multicolor Plums
"Ornamental Cherries" NOT
Here in the greater Bay Area, apricot and plum harvests are better than they’ve been in years. Prices are sure to be good, or maybe you have your own trees to harvest. In past years one of our trees produced only tiny, unpalatable fruits and we thought it was an ornamental cherry…but this year it’s loaded with delicious yellow plums. If you don’t have trees, do check your local Farmers’ Market. If I can find Satsuma plums, I’m going to make Bruce’s family recipe for upside-down cake. Or perhaps my friend Kitty’s recipe for Plum Kuchen. No point in eliminating carbs completely!

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes Ripening in Garden
First of our Sungold Harvest
We also have a backlog of spring onions and green garlic from Live Earth Farm, our CSA. I’ll be creating a new twist on Pasta a l’Olio using the onions and garlic, plus basil bounty from LEF and dried tomatoes that I made from the garden last year. A bumper crop of lettuce from garden and CSA ensures plenty of salads. We’ll also be experimenting with lighter proteins like fish, and with no-meat protein dishes like lemon hummus and a black bean dish from my new Cuban cookbook. We also have some CSA potatoes to use up, somehow. If you have menu ideas or recipe suggestions for July, please post a comment! Enjoy your month.

*Quote from The Months, by Sara Coleridge, 1802-1852

Pink Geraniums
Blooming in San Fran Botanical Garden Now
July Veggies and Fruits: For Recipes, click links

Two Kinds of Lettuce in Garden
Our Square Foot Garden Success
Favorite and New July Recipes

Parmesan Encrusted Broiled Sole
Mixed Green Salad with Vegan Cilantro Pesto

Closeup of Yellow & Red Gladiola
Also In Neighbor's Garden

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