Tag Archives: organic

Dining In…Summer’s Bounty

There’s a sweet moment of time in-between seasons, when the season exiting surrenders one last burst of divine bounty, before giving way to the next season’s start.   If you follow the farm, as suggested in an earlier post, you’ll come away with the cherished fruits of the season.

“Life is like jazz…it’s best when you improvise.”  George Gershwin

Next, what to do with them?  Improvise!  On my recent trip to Augustine’s Farm in Greenwich, Ct., I found lots of extraordinary heirloom tomatoes.  There is no consistency in size, shape, color or taste.  They are all, quite simply, and very individually, delicious.

A great big pot of summer's best harvest! Heirloom tomato sauce.

A great big pot of summer’s best harvest! Heirloom tomato sauce.

Find a recipe you like and adapt it to your own unique taste.  I find that using high quality produce, such as these extra-special tomatoes and herbs are enough to stand up on their own.  I like to keep it simple, because these batches of saucy deliciousness are going to be mostly frozen for the winter.  Cover and leave to simmer slowly for 1 1/2 hours or so and then use an immersion blender to finish.

Later, on a cold and dreary winter’s day, when the days are too short and the skies are too cloudy, I will take out a serving of summer flavor and remember that even the winter season will eventually change too!

Typically, the night after cooking and freezing my tomato sauce, I’ll give it a test run.  This time, I cooked fresh Prince Edward Island mussels for my trial run.  Having left the heirloom tomato sauce as a simple basic, I’m able to make different variations later.  For this test run, I added spicy red pepper flakes and more fresh basil.  Adding a little chicken stock, sea salt and fresh ground pepper is all you need.  Next, I cooked up some al dente whole wheat pasta from southern Italy, to go along with this delicious meal.

Beautiful Summer Bounty with fresh mussels and pasta

Beautiful Summer Bounty with fresh mussels and pasta

I always recommend plating every meal with purpose and imagination.  In this case, I broke out my lovely fall inspired bowls, since the theme is the changing seasons.  What could be better than summer’s bounty served up with a nod to autumn?  Add a special glass of bubbly or your last taste of the season’s rose and you have a wonderful combination of fresh delight.  This is a perfect way to extend your trip to the farm right to your own table and freezer.  You will continue to enjoy these treats all winter long!  And that’s “A Table For One”!

Copyright 2015 Marion O’Grady

All rights reserved

Summer Daze

Let’s face it.  Summer ends way too early and not according to the actually season.  The hectic pace of our society demands artificial deadlines, starts and finishes to almost every season. Most noticeable among them, is summer.

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”   Mahatma Gandhi

When you’re on your own, you have a unique opportunity to follow the rhythm of the seasons as they’re meant to be.  Even if you have to adhere  to the artificial timing of a season, due to work or other obligations, feel free to follow the flow of mother nature too.  Indulge yourself.

Augustine's Farm

Augustine’s Farm

I have found that the best bounty is available on the cusp of every season.  While you have to wait for a season to begin without knowing the exact time and day it will blossom, the change of seasons is something you can sense, feel and predict more easily.

Farmstands that speak to the seasons

Farmstands speak mother nature’s language of the seasons

If you follow the farm stands in your area, you can connect with this precious phenomenon in a very real way.  To my mind, there is no better way to celebrate the seasons than to simply find a local farm.  Get on their calendar.  It’s perfect.  It’s accurate.  And it’s true to the earth’s own finely tuned clock.  Farm stands speak mother nature’s language of the seasons.  They are also very specific to your exact location.

Seasons Change on Mother Earth's clock

Seasons Change on Mother Earth’s clock

Today, I woke up with an anxious feeling that summer was escaping and I may not have captured its essence in every way I hoped to.   So it was time for “A Table For One” adventure.  I wanted to bottle the flavors of summer in a fresh tomato sauce and to freeze summer’s sweet corn to brighten the coming winter’s days.  I could have gone to my local market, to shop. They’re still stocking much of summer’s delicious bounty.

Augustine's Farm in Connecticut…simply the best!

Augustine’s Farm in Connecticut…simply the best!

But instead, I made this a special outing.  It’s such fun to go hunting for a local farm.  You can meet the farmers, experience the delightful sights and smells of the harvest and learn more about the foods you love to prepare.  Most of the people who run these stands will also have time-tested and proven recipes to suggest, if you ask them.  On this trip, I came away with pounds of heirloom tomatoes for my sauce, lots of ears of summer’s last sweet corn, ripe yellow peaches, all kinds of fresh berries and the delightful experience of a day fulfilled.  Summer at it’s very best.  Never pass by an opportunity to break out and make something ordinary, extraordinary.  “A Table For One”.

Copyright 2015 Marion O’Grady

All Rights Reserved



Strawberry Fields…Forever!

Strawberry Fields!

Strawberry Fields!

Here’s something that works for me, when I’d like to clear my mind while doing something alone.  I find that choosing an activity that is physically engaging, anchors me in the present.

“Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment”        Buddha

For example, getting out into farmland and orchards to help harvest the earth’s beautiful bounty requires real focus.  You have the experience of the activity, the “fruits” of your labor and all the many ways to consume and enjoy your bounty!

My local field is at Bartlett’s Farm on Nantucket Island.   The salt sea air and bright summer sun nudge these delicious berries into full ripeness.  You can buy a container and go out in the fields and pick them yourself!  With organic food becoming so popular, you can find all sorts of places that offer this kind of activity.  This particular summer day started out with a cool breeze, after humid heat and fog the past few days.  So off I went, early morning to Bartlett’s Farm and here’s the result and “fruits of my labor”:

Sunset Strawberry Bubbly

Sunset Strawberry Bubbly







Copyright 2015 Marion O’Grady