Back when we were living in France we had this small garden plot about a 10 minute bike ride from the house. Matt was pretty busy with work but I promised to do the lion’s share of the labor if he helped me out here and there. I dug up and turned over the earth and pulled out so many weeds before planting everything from seeds. The plot was near a waterfall and the soil turned out to be great so we never really needed to water it much. I’ve been doing a bit of work here with some local gardeners and I am learning quickly that good soil is the key to successful gardening (“feed the soil not the plant,” as they say). Anyway, we ended up having an awfully wet summer that year so good soil or not our plants weren’t lacking anything to drink.
I came home for a few weeks that September, just when the weather decided to turn and indian summer was in full effect. I received daily snapshots from Matt of all of our vegetables, he was up to his knees in zucchini and was literally enjoying the fruits of my labor.
This year we decided not to plant any zucchini (neighbors are currently giving them away!), but surprise surprise summer squash is just as bountiful. It’s this big octopus of a plant and for weeks I thought there was nothing really going on until one morning I caught a glimpse of the tail end of one big yellow squash. It was as if they had all decided to grow overnight. The blossoms alone are beautiful and I just love the delicate flavors of this late summer veg.
New jobs and varying work hours since the move haven’t left Matt and I with many days off together this summer. It’s been tough but things are slowing down as the days get shorter and we will soon find a new routine. The garden is the one thing we have consistently done together. Unfortunately this one needs lots of water but that’s Matt’s domain. I still take care of the weeding and pruning but I just love that we are collectively working on the same thing. We both get so excited when there’s something ready to be harvested and enjoyed. I’ve said it here before but I am constantly blown away how nature always finds a way to connect all the dots. Many summer squash salads in our days ahead, and this time I’m just happy to enjoying the fruits of our labor. Summer squash recipes, anyone?
GREEN BEAN, SWEET CORN + SUMMER SQUASH SALAD WITH BASIL DRESSING
Garden to table to belly. Yes please! This is the perfect recipe for when it’s too hot to cook and you’re up to your knees in squash. I give the green beans and corn a quick blanch using a kettle of boiling water just to brighten the colors but keep the crunch. The garlicky, lemony basil dressing can act as a marinade if you have time to let the salad rest in the fridge before serving. The toasted pine nuts add those creamy + rich notes but you could also use a little goat’s cheese or sheep’s milk feta here as well. Use whatever you have one hand or in the garden. When corn is in season we eat it almost every single day because it really does only come around once a year. Here’s to making the most of what nature has to offer. x
Vegan + Gluten Free. Serves a small crowd.
1 large summer squash
1 large bunch green beans, trimmed
1 ear of sweet corn, shucked and cleaned
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely grated with a microplane grater
Salt + Pepper, to taste
Remove the corn kernels from the cob using a serrated knife. A small pairing knife also works well. Place kernels in a small bowl.
Bring a kettle full of water to a boil. Place green beans in a large mixing bowl. Cover the green beans with boiling water and set aside for 4 minutes. Cover corn kernels with boiling water and set aside for 1 minute. Once vegetables have deepened in color and softened just slightly, pass them through a strainer and rinse with lots of cold water.
Using a vegetable peeler, thinly shave the summer squash into ribbons. Working your way around the squash until you hit the seeds in the middle. I often find the middle to be too water when served raw in a salad. So I keep it for roasting, or in soup/stews or to blend into dressings.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until light brown and fragrant.
To make the dressing, place olive oil, lemon juice, chopped basil, and grated garlic into a small jar and shake until emulsified. Adjust seasoning with salt + pepper.
Place summer squash, blanched green beans and corn into a large salad bowl. Pour over half the dressing and mix gently with your fingertips to combine. Garnish with pine nuts and fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately or let marinate in the fridge for 15-30 minutes. Serve with remaining dressing.
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