Friday, July 22, 2011

Free Range Friday from another Coast

My son on the tractor, he's such a farmer!
Yesterday, we made strawberry ginger lemon jam.*  I was so involved in doing it that I completely forgot about taking photos of the process. So I wondered what I'd do for Free Range Friday. As usual, some things just shouldn't be a concern; they work out.

First, get invited to dinner with good people, who just happen to have lamb on the menu. Lamb from a neighbor, traded for beef from this farm. Then ask what you can bring. When the answer is 'a side dish', figure out a dish from your son's garden. In this case it was summer squash, with two cheeses (the cheeses were not from the garden. That would be very nice). Along with some other things. Like this.

Okay, not like this just yet.

 If there was going to be cheese from the garden, it would come from her.

 But it won't, because it all goes to her son Chuck,
to make him extra tender when that day arrives

Ok, now we're ready. Like this.

 Mince up some onion and garlic. You'll also need some basil
and a tomato. Maybe two tomatoes. And some cheese too. 
I used a pepper jack and a raw cheese we bought at the market.
Just use something medium strong and contrasting. 
Even better, just use cheese that you really like!

 Slice up the squash, pretty thin but not paper thin

 Arrange it however you like, as long as it's not densely packed.
I am sometimes, sometimes! a little silly. This was only the first layer.

 Oh right! Put about a tablesppon of butter in a pan

 to saute your onions and garlic. 
Just barely saute them, they are going in the oven later.
 Decide you want purple basil for the next layer. Go pick some.

 Some of the cheese is cut, some grated. Just for variety.

 So now you have about three layers (or two, depends on how many you are feeding. I made three layers for what ended up being five people and there was one helping leftover) of squash, cheeses, tomatoes, chiffonaded basil (why chiffonade it? Because it's fun and it's pretty!), some salt and pepper to taste and if you have some toss in some bread crumbs too.

 (I have no idea why these last two shot are so yellow, but I can't go back and re-do them!)
Put it in the oven at 350 for about 45 minutes. Buen provecho!

Here is something I've gotten in my email a couple of times. You might have gotten it as well. But it is worth a re-read. Out here, where people are doing so much living like it was done 'back then' it seems especially relevant (of course, everyone does recycling in a big way as well, the times, they've been a'changin'). If you haven't read it, you can now. 

The Green Thing

   In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she
   should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good
   for the environment.

   The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green
   thing back in my day."
   The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did
   not care enough to save our environment."

   He was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

   Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to
   the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and
   sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and
   over. So they really were recycled.

   But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

   We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every
   store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't
   climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two

   But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

   Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the
   throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling
   machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry
   the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or
   sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we
   didn't have the green thing back in our day.

   Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every
   room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief
   (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.

   In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have
   electric machines to do everything for us.

   When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded
   up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

   Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut
   the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised
   by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on
   treadmills that operate on electricity.

   But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

   We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup
   or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.
   We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we
   replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the
   whole razor just because the blade got dull.

   But we didn't have the green thing back then.

   Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their
   bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour
   taxi service.    
   We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets
   to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget
   to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in
   order to find the nearest pizza joint.

   But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old
   folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?
   Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a
   lesson in conservation from a smartass young person.

Have a fruitful Friday! Do something fun, not finicky.

*Strawb-inger-mon  (strawberry, ginger, lemon) Jam


  1. Love love love this post! Love everything about it!

  2. Oh, that makes me happy! Thanks, Deb!

  3. Still in CA?
    Do you know how old that tractor is? It looks like my Grandfathers old tractor. 1950's
    Could be worth a lot.

  4. My son's response to that is, Yes, it's worth a hell of a lot, it makes the farm work and saves my back!

    Not sure of the age, but somewhere in there. I'll check it out