The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

On The Table

August 7, 2013

Amanda Stone: Bounty of the season cuts down trips to store

JOPLIN, Mo. — This is the time of year I wait for. Our gardens are producing everything at the same time. I love being able to make meal after meal without having to visit the grocery store.

We're gearing up for a road trip, so the timing is perfect for eating out of the garden for the next few days, while using up whatever is left in the fridge. Luckily, my garden is currently producing enough squash, eggplant, beets and kale to feed us well for the week. Of course, I combine my garden bounty with random cheeses, pastas and grains. I don't live off the land entirely.

The stars of the show are tomatoes and basil. Since my cucumbers fell prey to relentless squash beetles, I did supplement by visiting the farmers market. Tomatoes and basil make my world go around. They're ready to pick at the same time, combining to make sweet perfection. Add the cool crunch of a cucumber and a dash of salt and pepper, and tomatoes and basil are what summer tastes like.

Planning dinner in the summer is such a pleasure. There's nothing tedious about combining veggies you've grown or bought from a farmer's hands to make a fresh, tasty meal. Have a salad with fresh greens, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, grill some squash, eggplant and beets, and top it all with a sprinkle of feta or Parmesan cheese. Easy summer perfection.

Get your hands on some fresh corn and jalapenos, too. The corn adds a filling, whole grain aspect to your meal, while the jalapenos give a seriously fresh kick to everything. Fresh salsa with garden tomatoes, cilantro, onions and jalapenos is one of the best flavor combinations ever. Add some lime juice, fresh corn, black beans and avocado and you hardly need the chips. Grab a spoon -- the salsa is a meal in itself.

The dinner possibilities that can spring up from your garden or the farmers market are infinite. Here are a few suggestions if you're in a rut.


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A new provision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows qualifying districts with high percentages of students on food assistance to allow all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches. Would you agree with this provision?

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