When I was living in San Francisco, I dreamed about having my own garden and owning chickens. It was the lack of green space that fueled my desires. When I moved back to Utah, I finally had the space to make these dreams come true. This year is my third growing season with my vegetable garden and my first season of owning chickens. I get a lot of joy out of watching my food grow and my chickens flock. Every year I learn more and more and try new things. I also get great joy out of using my fresh ingredients to cook a delicious meal.
While growing up, my mom taught me how to be a fearless cook. I am the type of cook that can use whatever ingredients might be in the house to create a meal from scratch. Like shooting from the hip, I can cook from the hip. Having a garden is an exciting challenge to use your fresh crops in different and tasteful ways.
I recently had my first big harvest of the season with tomatoes, eggplants, onions, chili peppers, and summer squash. The eggplant looked beautiful with a rich purple that contrasted with the bright yellow squash. When I looked at my bounty, I knew that I had more squash growing, and I should try to use some up. To get a few ideas on what to make, I googled “summer squash images.” A picture of a soup stood out. I glanced at their recipe and modified it to fit the ingredients I had at home.
I caramelized some onions and then added garlic and diced summer squash. After I sautéed the mixture until it was soft, I added vegetable broth and a can of Great Northern white beans to make the soup more rich and hearty. Next a brought eh mixture to a boil. Fifteen minutes later, I used my immersion blender to puree the ingredients. It turned into a smooth, creamy, thick broth. Next I added corn off the cop for texture and sweetness, red chili for spice, basil for flavor, and I added lemon for a balance of citrus. The soup was delicious. For fun, I decided to dress up my presentation for my boyfriend and me. Since I used lemon in the soup, I figured that slices of my lemon cucumber would be a unique noodle. Lastly, I had leftover ricotta cheese, from my vegetable lasagna, which I used to top the soup. My last construction piece of my presentation was to top the soup with added olive oil and pepper for color and contrast; a trick I had learned while working at Caffe Niche.
I am proud I can cook a delicious meal using many ingredients that I grew from seeds and starts. There is pleasure from hard work paying off. I am not the best cook, and sometimes my meals do not turn out the way that I want. However, you will have nothing to eat unless you cook.