Organic Farm Fresh Vegetable Soup with Lentils

Where Does Your Food Come From?

Not all vegetables are created equal. It’s a fascinating exploration getting to know our food and the relationship it has with wellness, disease and our taste buds!

I’ve always loved the simplicity of what I thought farm life was like. Deep inside me I knew there was something special that had been lost in my generation and the greater culture at large. Farming and the delicacy of what it takes to produce truly good, live organic sustainable food is an enigma sadly lost in the translation of our culture. We aren’t taught, so those of us who know have a responsibility to teach and reach out in support of local organic sustainable small farms.

Today in my Sage Mountain Farm Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box, I see beautifully colored & shaped varieties of summer squash, eggplant, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, Anaheim peppers, okra, Valencia oranges, nectarines, Gala apples, and tomatillo de Milpa.

Many exciting ways to prepare these delightfully fun veggies come to mind!

As I ponder the options, my cherry tomatoes are slowly being devoured as I pop them whole. They are my favorite sweet treat! Usually I will save half the basket for my salads but I remember reading that the process of cooking tomatoes boosts their nutritional levels of potent antioxidant lycopene. Having recently come down with a cold, I decide to make a warm nutritious bowl of comfort food and fashion a farm to table vegetable soup with my Sage Mountain Farm CSA box. On the menu tonight….

Farm Fresh Organic Vegetable Soup with Lentils

Directions:
• Slice 1 cup cherry tomatoes in half
Chop the following into bite sizes:
• 1 zucchini
• 1 crookneck squash
• 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
• 3 baby potatoes, with skin
• 1 onion
• 3 spring onion
• 6 cloves of garlic crushed or pressed & left to sit for 10 min. Then soak in 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and set aside.
• 2 tablespoons Grass-fed bone broth
• 1 avocado, sliced
• 1 box of Organic Hearty Lentil Vegetable Soup

I have left over lentils in the fridge (cooked in onion & garlic) that I’m adding for a boost of minerals.*Lentils pack a ton of nutrition! They give you iron with energy to burn, stabilize blood sugar and are high in protein.

1. Heat 2 tablespoon broth in medium soup pot. Sauté onion in broth over medium heat for 5 minutes; stirring frequently.
2. Add 1 box of organic hearty lentil vegetable soup, 1 cup lentils, and your fresh, local organic veggies to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the garlic olive oil mixture into your soup. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes, until your farm fresh organic vegetables are tender.
3. Top with sliced avocado.
4. Season with freshly ground Himalayan salt & pepper.

Give thanks… and enjoy!

To be engaged in Community Supported Agriculture, offers you a chance to share in the farms hand picked daily harvest. There truly is a difference in taste, quality and variety.

Let’s make small farms in our region stronger and profitable, for theirs is a labor of love that we reap the benefits of. Support your local small farm and become a CSA member today! Or visit us at your local Farmers Market!

Visit www.sagemountainfarm.com and together, let’s get healthy!

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Summer Ratatouille

Sage Mountain Farm
Summer’s Bounty, Beautifully Layered!

When I saw the gorgeous purple and white Japanese eggplant this week in my CSA box, I was filled with longing and dread.  Let me explain… My favorite color is purple, so naturally I love the eggplant with it’s deeply purple skin.  A vegetable that’s purple, what could be better? (perhaps a purple cookie…I digress) So of course, this explains the longing.  I want to love the flavor of such a beauty as well.  Which leads to the dread.  I have NEVER been able to prepare eggplant myself that tasted any good.  It had become such a problem that I had been banned from ever buying an eggplant again.  Sometimes you just gotta cut and run.  Let things lie…you know, quit while you’re ahead and such.

Since this eggplant came to me via my weekly farm box, I didn’t feel like I was violating the eggplant ban because I didn’t choose it, it chose me, so to speak.  I knew that I had to try again to catch my unicorn…decent homemade eggplant.  This time I nailed it!  But what was different this time you might ask?  Two things were different, and both contributed to my new-found success.  First I had never tried Japanese eggplant before, always the big fatties.  This was a good change because one of the problems that I usually encounter with home cooked eggplant is the chewiness and I think eggplant texture is a good example of a little being good and too much being not so good.  Second, I finally took the time to prepare the eggplant ahead of time.  It is usually listed as optional in eggplant recipes, but I have found it to be completely mandatory!  You must salt, drain, squeeze, rinse and pat dry.  You must.  I promise that it makes a huge difference.

All of the summery goodness that I needed for ratatouille was at hand, thanks to Sage Mountain Farm.  I had eggplant, leeks, tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, and zucchini.  This dinner went over well with the fam and I have to say that the smell coming from my oven when this was baking was A. MAZE. ING!  Try it and you’ll see for yourself!

Summer Ratatouille

4-5 Japanese eggplant, sliced and prepared ahead of time (NOT OPTIONAL)

3 zucchini, sliced

5-6 small tomatoes, sliced

8-10 cloves of garlic, minced

2 leeks, sliced

1/2 c vegetable broth, divided (or olive oil, or a combination of both)

fresh basil, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

First thing to do is to prepare your eggplant.

Sage Mountain Farm
Eggplant slices

Get out a colander and place a layer of eggplant slices in the bottom.  Salt this layer liberally.  Another layer of sliced eggplant, more salt.  Lots of salt.  The purpose of this is to draw out the excess moisture, which can give eggplant a slimy mouth-feel, and any bitterness that may be present.  You will end up rinsing this salt off so don’t worry about how much to use.  Continue to layer eggplant slices and salt until you have sliced and salted it all.  Let this drain in your sink, and walk past occasionally to press the whole thing lightly.  I put a bowl on top of the eggplant that fit inside my colander to do my pressing for me.

While this is going on slice up everything else.  Get out a glass casserole dish and put a little olive oil or broth in the bottom and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Once everything is prepared and your eggplant has been draining for between 30 minutes and two hours you are ready!

Start your ratatouille with a layer of leeks.  Next, for the eggplant layer, you need to grab a handful of eggplant slices and squeeze hard under running water.  Pat these slices dryish and build your eggplant layer.  This will take several handfuls in my experience.  After the eggplant layer, put on zucchini slices followed by tomato slices.  Then salt, pepper, garlic and basil all over the tomatoes.  Continue making these layers until all of your ingredients are used up.  When that happens take the rest of your broth (or olive oil) and drizzle it all over the top.  Bake for about one hour and enjoy the smells coming from your oven!

Sage Mountain Farm
Another veggie packed meal!

We served this over brown rice with almond Parmesan on the top!  Try it out and let me know how you liked it!