August 27, 2008

Week 51

We’ve got a family of Canadian geese that have decided they like our farm in the summer. There are about 18 of ‘em and they spend the night down here on the river, then fly a quarter mile up to the pasture where they graze with the cows and goats for a couple hours every morning. They fly off somewhere else during the day, but come honking back home every evening towards dusk. Canadian geese around here at least is a recent development of the last say 15 years in the winter, but now in the summer as well? I am hoping some of you could write & get me up to speed about what’s up.
Regardless, it’s sure cool to see ‘em coming through in their Vee, honking encouragement, or grazing together with always a few sentries keeping watch. It makes me contemplate the unforced rhythm and simplicity and order of their community and ask the question, “Who’s the bird brain here anyway?” You guys probably have life wired, but around here, we’ve got crews spread all over Christmas from March through January and February’s spent nursing blooms and bees through the rain. Chickens run year round and now we’ve started this year round subscription box of Organic produce you might have heard about.
The enemy of the best is the good and our life is really all about constantly identifying the best so we can ruthlessly say no to the good. It’s easier said than done because the good is so good. It’s just not the best.
And then there’s the tyranny of the urgent. Eisenhower said “The urgent is seldom important, and the important is seldom urgent” and he planned D day. Wow how my life gets run by the urgent and usually it’s somebody else’s urgent! Yet, we’ve got to have a servant’s heart…
While I don’t yet understand what Canadian geese are doing in Kingsburg in August, I do understand brown orbed spiders. These beautiful guys have a body the size of a dime or so and spin the most perfect Charlotte’s web type web you ever saw often spanning 10 feet between rows and a really powerful web at that. They are really the canary in the coal mine around here. They’re prolific in the Organic orchards and vineyards that I walk and nonexistent in the conventional. I don’t know how many bugs these guys must eat to get that big, but they’re sure impressive.
Another critter that’s made a huge comeback around here is the quail. There are literally dozens on every 10 acre Organic block because we’ve got cover (weeds) for ‘em to hide from predators. You just don’t see quail in a conventional field.
Lastly, the song birds. All of our farming is Organic, but half the fruit we pack for our neighbors is conventional. (A chunk of the Organic is packed as conventional as well just because despite all the hype, the market isn’t there yet, but that’s another newsletter) When I walk the conventional fields in the morning, it’s just business. How many, how big, when? Same job in the organic patches, but what a sensory explosion. First you’ve got crickets exulting in the dew of the new day. Songbirds exulting in their good fortune of either all of my fruit they want to eat, or all the crickets, and I can’t help but just stop and thankfully marvel. EAT HEALTHY

You see the term “seasonal” a lot on our website and in this newsletter. Some of you have asked what that means. First what is “seasonal” at any given time is related to where in the state, country, or world you live. Even in the state of California you will find various crops available at different times of the year, depending on location. The seasons for a crop are very much dictated by the climate and temperatures in an area. If you live in Southern California you may see produce available at a farmer’s market that is not available in Central or Northern California at that time of year.
Because of global trade the average shopper has become much less aware of what is actually in season in their area of the world. Almost any day of the year you can walk into a supermarket and purchase melon, tomatoes, and numerous green vegetables. We become so accustom to having almost everything available all year long that some of the anticipation of our “seasonal” favorites is gone.
When you eat “seasonally”, or with the harvest, you are eating and enjoying the produce that is being harvested locally throughout the year. How much better to anticipate and savor the taste of those grapes that are your summer time favorite when they are locally in season than to have them available all year, and become bored with them. They won’t have been picked two weeks ago and shipped thousands of miles either. The Abundant Harvest standard for local is the Central Valley of California. There may be times, during the winter months, that we will reach out as far as the Coachella Valley in order to provide variety.
There is not room in this issue of the newsletter to address all of the fruits and vegetables, or even all of the seasons but we will try to do so as we move from season to season. Right now the tree fruit is winding down and the grape harvest has begun. You will not notice much change in the vegetables until we are into the cooler months and then there should be some old favorites like green beans, broccoli and cauliflower coming along.
Every season is an adventure and every year the adventure can change because we cannot control the wind, the rain, the heat, or the cold. All of which have a hand in determining how well a particular crop, that the farmer has invested not only money, but hours and days and months into, will develop. The availability of a crop can change in a matter of hours that is why we let you know that the contents of your box may change up until the day it is packed.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Seasonal Stone Fruit
The Peterson Family, Kingsburg
-Sweet Corn
Don Warkentine, Kingsburg
-Clip Top Carrots
California Organic, Lamont
-Hot Chilis
-Summer Squash*
-Mixed Cherry Tomatoes
-Red Onion*
Michele Reynolds, Kingsburg
-Red Leaf Lettuce*
-Yukon Gold Potatoes
-Crookneck Squash
T & D Willey, Madera
* Denotes Large Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on day of delivery.

What makes a chili hot is the capsaicin found in the ribs. To make a chili less hot remove the seeds and ribs, but it is suggested you wear gloves when doing so. If you eat a chili that is too hot don’t drink water that will only make it worse. Try drinking milk or eating some bread.

Savory Squash Casserole
4-5 summer squash 2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup evaporated milk 1/3 cup crumbled soda crackers
1 medium onion, chopped 2 Tbsp diced pepper, any color
½ cup grated cheddar cheese 1 tsp salt
1 hot chili pepper, diced or halved

Wash and slice squash. Cook covered until tender with not too much water. Drain and mash. Mix with other ingredients. Pour into a greased casserole. Bake at 350º for 25 minutes. Serves 8-10

Summer Squash Bread
3 eggs 1 cup oil
2 cups sugar 2 cups grated squash
3 tsp vanilla 1 cup chopped nuts
2 cups flour ¼ tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
Beat eggs, oil, sugar, and squash. Sift dry ingredients and add. Add vanilla and nuts. Bake at 350º for 50-60 minutes in two small loaf pans or one large loaf pan. Freezes well.

Hint: Chop or dice your vegetables and herbs and store them in separate containers or bags in the refrigerator. They will be ready to use in stir-fry, salad, or to make a hearty omelet with fried potatoes.

August 17, 2008

Week 50

One of my favorite publications is “The Stockman Grass Farmer”
It’s a little, homey newspaper that comes once a month with the purpose of sharing proven perspectives on raising and finishing livestock using only the grass from your own ranch. It comes with financial and marketing advice for cattlemen and while much of it is livestock specific, a lot is applicable to what we’re doing and would like to do.
As an example, we’re working hard to offer you Organically produced, grass finished beef that’s consistently enjoyable and affordable. Right now, you’re enjoying fresh Organically produced chicken and eggs that have the advantage of healthier birds without the antibiotics. I’d love to figure out how to offer pastured poultry & eggs with all the balanced nutrition that would bring you, but we’ve proven with our offering of the Heritage chicken, that regardless of the ideology, if it’s not affordable, even within this sophisticated clientele, it’s not going to sell. How do we bring efficiency of production, processing and distribution to a product that by nature, (now there’s a play on words) isn’t efficient? These are the sorts of challenges I enjoy putting my mind and experience to and the “Grass Farmer” helps encourage the process.
One of the regular contributors over the years has been Joel Salatin, a fellow who’s reached some notoriety recently by being profiled in “Omnivore’s Dilemma” as well as “Crunchy Con” as a man who’s taking on the above challenge successfully. The way he’s doing it with his pastured poultry however is by using conventional feed in addition to what the birds get out of the pasture. He cuts his grain bill in half, which makes his pastured product as affordable as organic. More nutritious pasture, less nutritious conventional grain, affordable, and just another real world example of the challenges of this whole thing. Joel is going to be speaking 9/01 from 2-4pm in Turlock. Just this week, I came within inches of offering you all grass finished beef from a rancher who does a good job EXCEPT : when he needs to he uses antibiotics, and he uses Ivomek to worm ‘em and when the flies get bad he nukes ‘em with pesticides and yeah, it’s grass finished & good and affordable with the omega 3 & 6 ratios right, but how can we put our name on that?
This is real life application here folks. You guys know who your farmers are. You can see the integrity by name and it’s not just a bar code on the bottom of a clam shell. It’s real folks, waging real cultural battle on your behalf with real world ethical decisions to be made everyday while still being held accountable by the bottom line! Okay Vernon, calm down now.
Hey, Shukhrat’s jumped right in here & put the first videos up. Just click the video button and you can see what’s going on over here. I think you’re going to dig it and our hope is to further close the gap of connectedness between our farms and you all. That coupled with chef Deb (who’ll be videoed also) is making August an incredible month,

Even if you have seen the recent Disney film you may not know that ratatouille is a popular dish that originated in the Provence area of France. It was a dish commonly prepared during the summer months using the variety of fresh summer vegetables that are available.
Ratatouille may be served as a side dish, or as a main meal accompanied, perhaps, by rice. There are as many variations to ratatouille as there are cooks who prepare it. No matter the cook you will find that the key ingredients are tomatoes, garlic, onions, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers and herbs. The debate usually revolves around how the ingredients are prepared and assembled. You will find chefs who will serve the ratatouille, after being simmered in the pot, as described in today’s recipe. Others will make a sauce of the tomatoes, onion, garlic, and bell pepper and layer it in a casserole with the eggplant and zucchini, then warming it in the oven.
However you cook it ratatouille is one of those dishes that the flavor increases after the first day. If you allow the liquid to reduce, ratatouille is a delicious filling for omelets and crepes. Try it at room temperature, or cold, with toasted baguette or sliced French bread.
If your eggplant is large be sure you peel it, slice it, and sprinkle it generously with salt. Let it sit for about an hour and then rinse it well in cold water and squeeze it dry. Pat dry with paper towels and then prepare as directed in your recipe. The salt helps pull out moisture and bitterness.

This week we bring you another variety of grapes from Bob and Mona Warren. This variety of grape was developed in California and is the result of a cross between the ever popular Thompson and other grape varieties. Flames, in addition to the Thompson, have become one of the most popular varieties. They are seedless, crunchy and have a sweet-tart flavor.
One acre of Bob and Mona’s land is devoted to several varieties of grapes including the Summer Royal variety you got last week and this week’s flames.
This year’s flames aren’t coloring well but the crunch and sweetness are definitely there and we know you are going to enjoy them.
In a couple of weeks, as the grape harvest picks up, we will be making grapes available as an add-on. The grape harvest goes into the fall months and will include several different varieties.
Keep your grapes unwashed in a plastic bag in your refrigerator. When you are ready to use them just rinse in cold water and serve them, or add them to recipes.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Seasonal Stone Fruit
The Peterson Family, Kingsburg
-Flame Grapes
Bob & Mona Warren, Kingsburg
Family Farm Organics, Madera
-Red Bell Peppers
Troy Huckabay, Kingsburg
-Clip Top Carrots
-Italian Parsley*
California Organic, Lamont
-Juliet Tomatoes
-Torpedo Onion
Michele Reynolds, Kingsburg
-Yellow Spanish Pepper
-Roma Tomatoes
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Large Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on day of delivery.

By now you have seen the new, sturdier, small box. Yes, they do fold. On the ends of the box you will see “PUSH”. The end panels push in and then the box collapses.

Ratatouille 3-4 Servings Recipe courtesy of Craig Claiborne
1/3 cup olive oil
2 or more garlic cloves, peeled & chopped
2 cups (1 large) sliced onions
3 cups (2 medium) sliced zucchini
4 cups (1 small) cubed, peeled eggplant
2 bell peppers, seeded and cut into strips *any peppers will do fine
1 ½ cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Optional: 1 tablespoon capers
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large skillet, add the garlic and onions and sauté until the onions are transparent. Meanwhile, slice the squash and peel and cube the eggplant. Add squash, eggplant and peppers to the skillet, cover and cook slowly about 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes and capers and simmer, uncovered, until the mixture is thick, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot or cold.
Note: Eggplant may be grilled. If eggplant is large it should be salted, rinsed and then squeezed dry.

Red Pepper Salsa
2 red bell peppers, sliced 1 medium cucumber, chopped
2 small onions or 1 large, chopped 3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 small hot pepper, minced
Mix together and chill allowing flavors to blend

August 9, 2008

Week 49

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” I believe that’s a general Patton quote but it’s really true which ever general said it. Our stone fruit harvest of course is seasonal so we have the “it’s harvest season” mentality which is; whatever it takes, as long as it takes, we’ve got to get it done because if we don’t, the work that was done all year to prepare for today’s harvest will be lost and that’s just unacceptable whatever your position on the team. My cell message is “tell me what you need, team Peterson will get it done.”
If you’re a harvester in the field and it’s 105 degrees, you’ve been going since 5:30 AM and your crew’s still 45 minutes from the end of the row, you pound some more water, pour some down your neck and you get the job done because otherwise, that fruit will be lost.
If you’re a shed worker who started at 8:00 AM and it’s now 11:00 PM, you just work harder so you can get done, get some sleep and do it again tomorrow. Regardless your position, from irrigators and harvesters, right on through to cold storage shippers and marketing staff, we all just get it done. Our industry is full of the finest people you’ll ever meet who face inevitable difficulty with admirable resolve and ingenuity:
I’m fond of saying May through July, “there’s no whining until August” because come August, everybody just lacks the psychic energy to deal with other than routine challenges. You can put it on the calendar, and circle August 1st and there will be a mass choir of whining that somehow would be humorous if these weren’t your comrades in arms who’ve suffered the slings and arrows right along with you 18+ hours a day for the last 90 days, and there’s still another 90 to go if you count grapes. Mercifully, the intensity drops way off mid August and everybody somehow recovers and forgets and does it again next year “a little bit louder, a little bit worse” One definition of insanity is “to keep doing what you’ve been doing, the way you’ve been doing it and expecting the outcome to be different.” Another good piece of advice is to never make major decisions at a low psychic level. Therefore, the best thing for any of us to do when we’re in the midst of a crisis is to just pound some water, pour some down our necks and get to the end of the row, then meet in November and decide what changes need to be made so we don’t get in this mess again next year.

Announcing the addition of Chef Deb to team Abundant Harvest. Chef Deb is passionate about seasonal cooking and sharing that passion with you all. She will be accompanying the delivery truck and putting on the Chef Deb show during the regular pick-up time. She will be teaching us how to prepare the less familiar (What do I do with thiiis?) seasonal goodies that come along with a sparkle and verve you’re just going to love. Our hope is that we can get her or someone to each delivery site about once a month and thus add to our horizons her joy of seasonal cooking. EAT HEALTHY!

If your tomato knowledge is limited to what you see at the market you may not realize that there are over 1,000 different varieties of tomatoes. These varieties vary in shape, size and color. There are tomatoes that are red, yellow, orange, green, purple or brown. They can be very tiny or quite large, and have very different tastes.
Nothing says summer like vine ripened tomatoes. Although with today’s growing practices, and the import of vegetables from other countries, you can get tomatoes all year long the very best are the fresh summer tomatoes that are available from July to September.
By definition a tomato is a fruit. Rather than the sweetness found in what we commonly refer to as fruit tomatoes have a subtle sweetness, and have become more familiar as a vegetable ingredient in recipes and salads. The tomato has become one of the top selling “vegetables” in this country. Although tomatoes are native to South America and were first cultivated in Mexico, it was centuries before it became an acceptable food product in this country. If you have ever smelled the strong odor of the leaves and stems of the tomato plant, you may be able to understand why all parts of the plant were first considered to be poisonous. Tomatoes were originally grown only as an ornamental garden plant. With time it was discovered that the leaves of the tomato plant contain toxic alkaloids but not the fruit. The Italians are said to be the first to grow and eat the tomato in about 1550. The first records of tomato production in this country indicate that in 1781 a “progressive” Virginia farmer by the name of Thomas Jefferson planted and harvested them.
The health benefits of tomatoes, and the lycopene contained in them, have made headlines in recent years. Adding to those health benefits are the fact that tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, A, and K, and a very good source of many other vitamins and minerals.
Tomatoes are sensitive to cold and should be stored at room temperature out of exposure to direct sunlight. Depending on how ripe they are they will keep for up to a week at room temperature. If the tomatoes become overripe and you are not ready to use them put them in the refrigerator. HINT: If there is room put them in the butter com-partment, which is the warmest area of your refrigerator.
When you are going to use your refrigerated tomatoes remove them about 30 minutes before you are going to use them. This will help restore their maximum flavor and juiciness.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box?
-Seasonal Stone Fruit
The Peterson Family, Kingsburg
-Summer Royal Grapes
Bob & Mona Warren, Kingsburg
-Red Bell Peppers
Troy Huckabay, Kingsburg
California Organic, Lamont
-Russet Roasting Potatoes
Family Farm Organics, Madera
-Summer Squash*
-Early Girl Tomatoes*
-Cherry Tomatoes
-Red Onion*
Kyle Reynolds, Kingsburg
-Mediterranean Cucumbers
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Large Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on day of delivery.

As it seems is the case with many things these days, we have been notified of a price increase on chicken. All orders placed by 9:00 Monday, August 11, 2008, will be at the current price. The increase will take effect after that time.

Squash Pizza Preheat Oven to 400º
2 green zucchini quartered lengthwise
2 yellow squash quartered lengthwise
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 tomato, diced
1 onion, diced
Leaves from 4 fresh thyme, chopped, or ½ tsp dried thyme
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, washed, dried and chopped
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Oil an oven proof baking dish. Alternate zucchini and yellow squash, cut side up, in the dish. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle tomato, onion, thyme and basil over the zucchini and squash; top with cheese.

Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted & veggies softened.

Asian Stir Fried Veggies
¼ cup thinly sliced onions 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp Asian chili sauce 2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp light brown sugar 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium zucchini cut into 1 inch pieces, or matchsticks
1 each red, yellow, and green bell pepper cut into pieces
Other veggies such as mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, etc. may be added

Combine onion, garlic, and chili sauce in a cup. Combine ¼ cup water with soy sauce, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar in another cup, set both aside.

Heat large, heavy skillet or stir fry pan. Add 2 Tbsp oil and swirl to coat pan. Reduce heat to medium. When the oil sizzles, add the onion mixture. Stir gently for about 30 seconds, adjusting the heat so ingredients don’t burn. Add all other veggies, cook stirring until they are just beginning to turn tender, adding more oil if necessary. Stir soy sauce mixture and add to pan; toss well. Bring liquid to simmer, cover pan, and simmer until most of liquid is absorbed about 2-3 minutes. Serve with rice

August 5, 2008

Week 48

At first glance, this abundant harvest thing is a bunch of fresh Organic produce at a fair price. If you can get past the weekly produce appointment hassle, it works out pretty cool. Kind of a farmers market run by Costco and delivered by FedEx.
But what are we really harvesting and delivering here anyhow? I’d say for our family, it’s a tremendously expanded menu experience that we’re just jazzed about. I mean come on. Most people have never even tried parsnips, much less know all the ways you can incorporate them into a meal! (You folks who joined since winter will just have to wait til next soup season) Who, other than Rachel Ray or Emeril has a vase of fresh basil on their kitchen table? And remarkably fresh basil leads to all sorts of remarkably fresh menu ideas--don’t stop me I’m on a roll here—Remarkably fresh menu presentations facilitate the bedrock of family life which is everybody sitting down together for dinner. That thought all by itself is enough to keep team Abundant Harvest going.
We’re also harvesting a connectedness between eaters and farmers. Those peaches you got for $0.53 / lb is below most u-pick, but paid Paul Muradian 40% more than his normal best price for Organic freezer peaches.
My Mariposa plums, (those green ones with the red flesh you‘ve enjoyed the last few weeks) are an heirloom’s heirloom. They were ancient when your granny was a little girl and a total surprising delight. The video on the website is in the Mariposa patch which is the largest planting outside mainland China. A whopping 4 acres! They’re called Nam Wha Le there. It took me 9 years to figure out how to set the crazy things and then for the last 8, nobody could sell em. They’re not very big and real hard to handle and go soft fast. The only salvation is they just eat great which is first on your list but third on the retailers. So, for 17 disappointing years, we’ve persevered with that plum because our heart said it should be valuable and now, you finally got the benefit. (Any question as to my sanity or the lengths I’m willing to go when I think I’m right, should now be removed.) That story, combined with the pleasurable eating experience will now remain in your memory banks until next summer and it’s just something you don’t get with “Organic Plums $3.99” Shukrat is interning with our farm from Uzbekistan for the next year and his first job is to do the “what’s going on on the farm this week” video to expand on this connectedness that we’re very serious about. There are a couple other things up our sleeves, but we won’t let the cat out of the bag just yet.
Last week, Kyle came up short on his Armenian cukes and Erik decided to only put cucumbers in the small box. Long story short, the big box got ripped. Big box gets more this week by that amount and problem solved except for 1) folks who vacationed out this week did get ripped-off. & 2) Big box folks who were vacationed out last week or just joined are getting more than they paid for. In Agriculture, 2+2 sometimes = 1 and other times = 7. We’re supposed to be professionals but 32 harvests later still leave a lot for me to learn. My uncle’s fancy packing shed has the 3 parking spaces next to the entry labeled “grower” “grower” & “best grower”. In the 100 times I’ve been there, the “best grower” spot is always empty and any farmer who did park there wouldn’t do it his 2nd year farming. It’s a perpetually humbling & learning and adapting experience. One thing I hope all of you know by now is that if it’s not right, we’ll do all we can to make it so and we so appreciate your support.

Maybe you have seen it in the market and passed it by because you didn’t know what it was or how to cook it. Crookneck squash is a “summer squash” like zucchini, globe, pattypan, and scallopini, which we had earlier in the season. Unlike winter squash you can eat summer squash rind, seeds and all. Although the summer squashes vary in size shape and color, one can easily be used in the place of another in your recipes.
In days past the names summer and winter squash were indicative of their growing season. With today’s growing practices you can find either most any time of the year. Now days the term “summer squash” generally refers to varieties that do not store for long periods of time as opposed to the varieties that are referred to as “winter squash” and can be stored for months.
Crookneck is a mild squash and herbs such as dill, pepper, basil, marjoram, chives and mint are great enhancements to its flavor.
Serve your crookneck raw on a vegetable platter with dips, in salads; grilled, steamed, fried, baked, well you get the idea. This squash can be cooked almost any way you can think of and will add color, flavor and texture to main dishes and pasta sauces. Several of the items in your box this week compliment crookneck squash. Get creative and use it in combination with onion, pepper and tomato. Cook it soft or keep it crisp. Let your family be the judge of how they like it best.
Store your squash in a perforated bag in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator. Squash can be frozen but the flesh will soften so it will be best used in casseroles or other dishes where crispness is not a factor. To freeze your squash cut it up and blanch it for 2 minutes. Place it in storage containers or plastic bags in the freezer for up to 4 months. If your preferred use for squash is in breads you may freeze the squash raw, either whole or grated.

Fresh dill has feathery green leaves. Dill leaves usually droop very quickly after being picked so even if the dill looks a little wilted it is still acceptable.
Store fresh dill either wrapped in a damp paper towel or with its stems placed in a container of water in the refrigerator. Fresh dill can be frozen, either whole or chopped, in airtight containers for future use. You may also freeze dill leaves in ice cube trays covered with water or stock for use in soups and stews.

Here is what you will find in this week’s box.
-Seasonal Stone Fruit
The Peterson Family, Kingsburg
-Bell Pepper
Troy Huckabay, Kingsburg
-Russet Potatoes
Family Farm Organics, Madera
-Armenian Cucumber*
Kyle Reynolds, Kingsburg
-Heirloom Tomato*
Ginger Balakian, Reedley
California Organic, Lamont
-Crookneck Squash
-Mediterranean Cucumber*
-Red Spanish Pepper
-Yellow Spanish Pepper
T & D Willey, Madera
*Denotes Large Box Only
Contents may vary due to availability on day of delivery.

Peel and half the peach, sprinkle lightly with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Place the peach on the grill while preparing your meat and leave it just long enough to heat through. Watch it closely so it does not burn.

Mushroom & Spinach Stuffed Peppers Preheat Oven to 350º
4 bell peppers (any color) tops sliced off, seeds removed
1 Tbsp salt, plus more to taste, and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup butter, divided
1 large onion, minced (about 1 cup), divided
1 ½ cup uncooked long grain white rice or brown rice
½ pound mushrooms chopped
1 cup finely diced celery (optional)
¼ cup finely diced carrots
¼ cup fresh or frozen corn
1 large handful spinach, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Dash cayenne pepper, or diced other peppers
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, diced
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large soup pot
Add the peppers and 1 Tbsp salt
Cook the peppers until they are almost soft, 3-4 min

Remove peppers from water and set in a colander to drain (reserve cooking water). Transfer the peppers to a rack, cut-sides up, and let cool.

Heat 2 Tbsp of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add half the onions, sauté until translucent and soft, about 5 min. Add the rice and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the rice begins to turn golden, about 10 min. Add 3 cups of reserved cooking water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until liquid is completely absorbed, 12-15 min.

Melt remaining butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining onions, mushrooms, celery, corn, spinach, garlic, and cayenne pepper (or other small peppers); sauté until vegetables are tender, about 10 min. Add salt to taste.

Combine rice and sautéed vegetables in a large bowl. Stir in tomato and half the Parmesan cheese. Season with pepper to taste.

Fill each pepper case with the filling and arrange them in a 9 inch square baking dish. Garnish with the remaining cheese. Spread any extra filling around the peppers. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.