Warm weather has been an off and on thing here in Seattle, and our gardens have suffered for it. Fortunately, my CSA is going strong and there are markets abounding with excellent produce grown by far better farmers than me. When you have lovely fresh produce crowding your crisper, it’s important to have recipes that are easy, don’t take too much time slaving over a hot stove, and really showcase the flavorful veggies summer brings.
Of course, when trying to eat for maximum health and nutrition, it is also important to include good fats with your fresh veggies in order to absorb the nutrients in your food. Nourished Kitchen has a great primer on the fat-soluble vitamins. And as I am learning from Sally Fallon and Mary Enig’s Eat Fat, Lose Fat, a diet rich in healthy fatty acids will actually help you overcome nutritional deficiencies and tell your metabolism to wake up and shed some excess weight. Which is what I would like to have happen. Soon.
So, here are two recipes from this week in my kitchen, centered around fresh vegetables and healthy fats.
Zucchini Garden Soup
This is adaptable to whatever veggies you have on hand-the crucial elements are the homemade bone broth and the coconut milk, which together provide protein, minerals, and good fats
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2-3 Tbsp butter, lard, or coconut oil
3 small-medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and then sliced into 1/4 in half moons
1 Tbsp each fresh basil and parsley, chopped
juice of one lemon
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 cups bone broth
1 can coconut milk (Native Forest has BPA-free cans!)
salt and pepper to taste
Sauté onion and carrot in fat of choice (I used pork drippings from a roast). After 5 minutes, add zucchini and herbs, along with salt and pepper. If you wanted to add heat, you could put in a minced jalapeno or some cayenne pepper here. Then add in lemon juice and tomatoes. After a couple more minutes, add stock and bring to a low boil for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat and add coconut milk. Allow to simmer on low for a few minutes so flavors meld.
An adaptation of this would be to use fish stock instead of bone broth and also add some shrimp or chopped white fish when adding the stock. That would provide even more nutrition, and it’s a great way to use up leftover fish.
Sautéed Onions and Greens with Bacon
This is an incredibly simple dish full of flavor. Perfect for a busy weeknight or when you need to clear out the fridge. It can be your main dish or a side.
The ingredients are simple: a bunch of greens(chard, kale, or collards for example), an onion (Walla Walla sweets are starting to show up!), and some bacon (preferably from pastured pigs, with no nitrites or nitrates). Add in whatever extra veggies you might like-thin sliced carrots, cabbage, mushrooms-they all work.
For each bunch of greens, cut two thick slices of bacon into lardons 1 inch thick. Slice the onion. Remove greens from tough stems-if using chard, you can slice the stalks into inch long pieces and cook it with the vegetables, but I usually compost kale and collard stems. Sauté bacon over medium heat. If your bacon is very thin or not too fatty, add some bacon fat or lard to the pan before adding vegetables. Add onions first, cooking until they get soft. Add in other vegetables, starting with those that take the longest to cook, like carrots, and then at the very end toss in the greens and cook just until wilted.
You can top this with a little parmesan cheese if you like and enjoy, knowing that the bacon fat is helping you absorb all the wonderful nutrients in those greens!