Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Lovin' It!

My Momma used to say we looked, "a bit green around the gills" when we had an upset stomach. I'm probably looking, "a bit red around the gills" lately, but really it's all the tomatoes I've been eating! :) We eat tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks too! This is the year of the tomato! I'm lovin' it.

We eat tomatoes raw, stuffed, grilled, baked, and now I'm drying them for the winter. The sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil I see for sale have inspired me! I dry ours in my Excalibur dehydrator until leathery, then package them in extra virgin olive oil. Sometimes I put a dried basil sprig or dried garlic in with the oil. This allows me to use the oil for seasoning after the tomatoes are gone. Since the tomatoes are high in acid, and there isn't water in the herbs, this mixture can be stored at room temperature.

What's the best way to eat tomatoes? My favorite

way is to snack on the yellow cherries (Sun Gold)or perhaps my all-time favorite Julianne grape tomatoes, just like candy out of the cup they are sold in. I put the "cup" on the table and each time I pass by I take one as I'm cleaning the porch, which is still our packing shed. I'm lovin' them this season. 

Our award winning, best tasting Sun Gold
Tomatoes...Snack food approved!

In my opinion, fresh is best! Fast food in our house is
 simply cutting up fresh vegetables and serving them on a pretty platter. Last week we enjoyed and easy make ahead tomato "salad". While cleaning up from breakfast I cut up 2 large tomatoes, 1 cucumber, and 1 small onion. I combined all the vegetables and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. I put the mixture into the frig to cool while we went on with our day. By supper time there was a delightful "dressing" made by the salted tomatoes! This simple side dish made a crisp and colorful addition to our meal of grilled chicken without a lot of fuss!

Simplicity in serving vegetables
is my motto. 

Picking these tiny taste temptations
are a labor of love! Thanks Adam , and the other

A couple of weeks have past...

I'm finishing up this post while up in Massachusetts cleaning out my childhood home after the death of my father. I'm staying with longtime friends, and it's like staying with a special sister and brother. 

My roots...Kingston, Massachusetts...the bay..
flounder fishing...lobster pots...feeling the salty
spray on your face...

Rosanna made this special salad for me the other night, and I had it for breakfast the next morning it was so good! The recipe originally came from the Boston Globe newspaper, and had a title a mile long. I've renamed it in honor of my sister in Christ Rosanna.

Sister's Salad

For the marinade/dressing:

2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
2 T. Fresh Lemon Juice
1 T. Dijon Mustard
2 t. chopped fresh Thyme
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/3 C. Olive Oil
Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste
4 Large Portobello Mushrooms
about 6 ounces each or some Colvin Family Farm mushrooms (the larger the better)

Whisk the first 5 ingredients together, gently adding the olive oil to the mixture. Pour 1/4 C. of the marinade into a small bowl and set aside. 

It's time to ready your mushrooms for the grill. For Portobello mushrooms, wash and remove the stems. Cut into 1/2" strips and toss with the remaining 1/2 C. of marinade for 30 minutes. With the gas flame on medium, grill the mushrooms 5 minutes per side, or until a knife inserts easily. Let cool slightly, and cut into 1/3" strips. (Time it so the salad is ready for the mushrooms as they will "melt" the cheese.)

For the salad:

1/2 pound a soft green lettuce such as Red Butterhead or Summer Crisp, torn
3 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste
4 ounces Goat Cheese, crumbled

Tear and toss the salad greens, and toss with the tomatoes and 2 T. of the reserved marinade. Season with salt and pepper. 

Divide the salad among four plates. Distribute the mushrooms among the plates, and sprinkle with goat cheese. Drizzle with the 2 remaining tablespoons of marinade on the salads, and serve.

Note: Rosanna doubles the marinade and makes it available at the meal. Then she has it on hand in the frig for this recipe or uses it for salad dressing. Yummm!

Since Basil has been so prolific for us on the farm this                                          season I'm
including another of Rosanna's favorite tomato recipes...maybe I'll get to try it this week before I head back to the mountains of east Tennessee!

I did get to taste this yummy dish! I know you'll like it. I now need to give it Tennessee roots!

Fresh Tomato Pasta

4 large Tomatoes, diced
4 oz. Goat cheese, sliced thinly
1 Cup Fresh Basil leaves, chopped or in strips
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1-2  tsp. Balsmic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1.5 lbs. Spaghetti

Combine everything but the goat cheese and spaghetti in a large bowl and keep at room temperature at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. Cook pasta, spoon room temperature sauce over it, and sprinkle with goat cheese.

Rosanna's Notes:
Alternative IF the whole dish will be eaten in one sitting (like at our house!)...

Replace goat cheese with 1 lb. fresh mozzarella (diced). Combine mozzarella with the tomato sauce. 

The mozzarella works well for a nice chewy pasta but if not eat right away, it forms mats of cheese and pasta; especially if you try to reheat it.

In our large family there is ALWAYS an opportunity to show lovin' to someone. Believe it or not we are not always easy to show love to. Some chore gets left undone, and someone needs to jump in and do it on top of their own numerable responsibilities. Someone leaves the kitchen untidy after making a late night
snack (more like a meal!) when they come in from a late work day or market, and we need to wake up to the aftermath...or someone decides they've done enough, but the work day is far from over. There are packed trucks that need unpacked, eggs that need to be gathered and washed when someone drops the ball... there are soooo many ways we are in need of lovin'! We're a regular family just like yours, only multiplied! 
Adam & Allison Colvin


Caleb & Shelby Colvin

Luke & Levi

Faith Anne & Charity Rose

(Oh...I give up trying to find pictures of everyone! Here's the easiest way with only two children missing.)

Starting at the right: Matthew, Hope, Adam, Caleb, Isaac, Titus, Noah
Faith Anne, Luke, Levi, & Charity Rose. Missing: Melissa & Hannah Grace, two new daughters-in-love Allison & Shelby Colvin

It's at times like this Farmer Steve and I are learning to love like Jesus. Whenever we see God's love in the Bible is not an
 emotion, but an ACTION!  This thought has driven me to look at ways that I can show true love in a world that has perverted it's real meaning.

In Scripture I've found many examples of this lesson Jesus is patiently teaching me. Jesus was a tireless giver...He gave attention to the needy Samaritan woman at the well. He gave healing to the dying ten lepers. He gave food to the hungry multitudes. He gave peace to the frightened disciples in the ship in the midst of the storm that raged. He gave sustenance and teaching to the crowds that daily followed him. And finally, "For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him might have eternal life." John 3:16. This verse so graphically shows He gave eternal life to all when He chose to give up His desires and give His life for us if we simply believe on Him and turn from our sin!  And finally He gave direction to the crowds as he ascend up into heaven. He was always giving...He was always lovin' someone.

As a family farm we're in transition this season. Our son Caleb has chosen to leave the family farm and work for another farm in the valley. The heavy workload needs to be done by fewer hands and without the Farmer's Wife's help, as I'm away for an extended period of time. 

For every family there are days that are easier to
love than others. For us other than Sunday, there is only one weekday in which a truck doesn't need to be packed with fresh vegetables...one day that the porch looks somewhat like a porch...one day to have a normal evening meal...one day to get the repairs done with everyone involved. On the other days we are learning to deliberately show lovin' in action...jumping in and packing a market when you are busy canning or sewing...seeing a need in the field because someone else stopped short of finishing...calling home to encourage someone...or volunteering to take a market because someone is dog tired. Christ has called us to love.."in word and IN DEED". 
I've asked the Lord to open my eyes to ways I can
show love like Him...in action.

 Before I left for Massachusetts I couldn't quite get
this blog to "feel right"...so it wasn't posted. God had a plan. He wanted me to see this truth in action so I could fully learn this lesson by someone else ministering to me. Richard and Rosanna Buhl have enfolded me into their home life for almost 3 weeks. They seem to actively look for ways to meet my needs and care for me. Since I'm usually in that role, it was a process for me to allow someone else to do this for me. But in doing so I've felt the love of Christ ministering to my every need, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I thank God for them, and teaching me a vital lesson in lovin' like Christ loved...by deliberate action.

Is there someone in your life that needs a bit of lovin'? What is something you can take time to do for them today? 

Abundant Blessing,

The Farmer's Wife,

My big brother Ric showed me lovin'
by taking me out on the bay for a ride!

There were many people God used in my life during the past 3 weeks to teach me this lesson. God enabled me to clean out my parents home with the GENEROUS help of my home church family. A big thanks to my loved ones at Mayflower Congregational Church in Kingston, Massachusetts.
If you live on the South Shore and need a good church, visit this site for details about their ministry.