When the sunflowers bloom, I know that the yellow heat of the summer is upon us and that I will soon be canning tomatoes, picking golden orbs of apricots and taking draconian measures to rid my home of the dreaded fruitfly. Harvesting produce is far from over for the season, but working alongside Chef Nancy at Meadowlark Farms has opened my eyes to the gradual unfolding of this Northern Michigan's summers bounty of fresh veggies made delicious from Chef Nancy'sinnovative recipes.
Today she is planning a lunch with Stuffed Squash Blossoms, a ruby red Beet Salad, a couscous dish and a fresh Zucchini soup. All of her recipes incorporatefreshly picked veggies. And all of her food is consumed by the hungry farm hands that work tirelessly rain or shine, on this farm in the summertime. What a perfect fit!
But the yellow of the blossoms and the long frond of the flower has captivated my attention and I can hardly think of anything except the large and delicate squash blossoms that are soon to become a meal.
Who first discovered that this lovely vegetable flower was an edible delight?
And did you know that we eat the male squash blossomso that the female bloom is left to produce the fruit?
Neither did I.
There is so much yellow in the summer. And the yellow is big and bright, nothing like the delicate pink or blue of the springtime.
Sunflowers are like that too. Bold and stalky, their necks lean over in a summertime kind of relaxation. In a vase, they press up against each other seeming to crowd out the glory of the next.
Nancy's egg cups have the yellow brilliance of summer too. She prepares them inside muffin tins, producing individual servings that are really easy to make. Perfect, I think for a weekend breakfast with out of town guests. (You'll have to wait for the Cookbook on this one, says Chef Nancy.)
Can't give away too many of our secrets!!
The farm folks are hungry, so Nancy rolls out the rest of the lunch. I am awed by the variety and beauty of her creations. I love being at the farm too. It's beautiful here, even with chipped plates and mismatched coffee mugs, it's so very farmstyle. And, so will the cookbook be; farmstyle, fresh local food is what Nancy's recipes are about.
And there they are again, those lovely squash blossoms, stuffed with a delicately Moroccan spiced, ground turkey and also a vegetarian cheese version. The aroma is intoxicating. Everyone else is noticing too, and people are quickly piling food up on their plates.
It's been a lovely lunch and a lovely time reflecting on the brilliance of "yellow". I'm continuing to take the time to savor this special moment in the summertime. It lasts for such a short time.
Eventually, the sublime yellow of this mid-moment in summertime turns to the amber of fall.