Sunday, August 16, 2009

Woolley Bear

Sometimes easily distracted, I stopped by my Happy Valley garden intending to pull some turnips, pick what summer squash was ready and give the garden a good watering - at least that was my plan until I found the fuzzy Yellow Woolly Bear Spilosoma Virginica Caterpillar.
The caterpillar of the Virginian Tiger Moth or Yellow Woolley Bear Moth, I found him crawling on a squash leaf. After relocating him to the wooded lot next to our gardens in the hopes of providing him a better environment than my vegetable plants, I went on to tend my garden.
Stopping at nearby Joe's Gardens after I had finished caring for my garden, they had just put out their new crop of garlic braids. With fond memories of how my father often give us a braid of garlic fresh from his garden, I once again have a great supply of garlic hanging in my kitchen.
Thanks to friends Ken and Gwen, I seem to have an over abundance of turnips growing in my garden this year. Even after sharing them with as many friends as will take them, I still find myself trying to come up with creative ways to serve them. Somewhat to my surprise, it turns out that one of my favorite dishes this summer is garlic mashed turnips.
Garlic Mashed Turnips
1 Large Turnip
A Few Garlic Cloves
2 Tablespoons Butter
Lemon Pepper
Wash, peel and dice turnip. Add whole peeled garlic cloves, one tablespoon of the butter, enough water to cover and crack fresh lemon pepper over all. Boil over medium heat until the turnips and garlic are tender. Remove from heat, drain, add the other tablespoon of butter, mash and serve.

And what do I make with all those summer squash? I turn them into an easy to make, very tasty chilled summer squash soup!
It seems a perfect dinner to serve on those hot summer evenings.
Chilled Summer Squash Soup
8 to 10 Small Summer Squash (any combinatio
of Patty Pan, Zucchini and/or Crook Neck)
Fresh Garlic Cloves
4 Cups Vegetable Broth
Assorted Fresh Herbs (any combination
of Basil, Parsley, Thyme, Sage, Fennel and/or Calendula)
Lemon Pepper
2 Cups Buttermilk
Wash squash and fresh herbs. Cut squash into chunks and cover with the vegetable broth in a good sized pan. Add sprigs of fresh herbs and peeled cloves of garlic to taste. Crack lemon pepper over all. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are soft - about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from heat and chill slightly. Puree in a blender or food processor, then blend in the buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate until cold. Serve chilled. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, or freeze in containers to enjoy another day.

Happy dining!

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