Sometimes life feels more like a race to the finish line than anything else. Like a cross country ski marathon on slushy snow or a face-first ride on a skeleton sled at 80 mph. On the craziest days, we might as well be careening over a ski cross jump—one minute we’re in gold medal form, the next, a jumbled mass in the ditch. It’s exhausting. Terrifying. Unpredictable. And more. Our to-do list spans multiple pages, but all we really hope for is a clean pair of pants—without too many wrinkles—and a jug of milk in the fridge—that’s not too far past the freshness date—to start the day. These are times when texting family members in the next room seems perfectly normal. When dishes pile in the sink and dirty clothes in the corner, and no one notices. Clearly, we’re just trying to hang on, and at the end of the day, what we need is food on the table without a crash. Food that’s soul-soothing—because really, that’s what’s getting us through this patch in one piece.
These are enchilada days. With a bit of homework done ahead (Olympic gold isn’t won without the training runs), the classic tortilla bundles are a cinch to pull together, and receive raves around a hungry table. How perfect is that?
Lately I’m obsessed with lentils. Our pantry shelves are lined with them—bags and boxes filled with miniature rounds of black, green and brown. To those who rifle around looking for more readily edible snacks, my compulsion is slightly puzzling. A collection of shoes in the closet or books on the shelf is easier to understand. But mothers have other odd obsessions as well, best ignored, as teens well know; simply shove the legumes aside and move on to the chips.
Loving lentils makes sense to me, if to no one else. I cook dinner every day for a vegetarian family, and legumes and beans offer us a rich source of vegetable protein that’s essential to our diet. And beyond the nutrition, they’re a treasure trove of inspiration as well. I’ve no doubt I could add lentils to the pot day after day, week after week, and never repeat the same concoction twice (unless I wanted to). One day it’s soup, another a main-dish salad. Then on to a stew or dal.
This fall I’ve been writing more than ever, though it’s been awhile since I’ve made any mention of food. Instead I’ve poured myself into crafting sentences about progressive education at an all-girls school—for my other job. As much as I adore writing about what’s happening in the classroom though, I’ve missed musing about the goings on in my kitchen. And though I’ve been busy, there’s been much of a delicious nature going on.
Moving forward expect to see continuing posts, though their timing will vary—and their focus may meander a bit beyond the Freshness Farms delivery at hand. The spirit, though, will continue to revolve around cooking with freshly harvested, local ingredients. Fans of Freshness Farms will find plenty of ideas. I hope to continue featuring guest writers, too, so if you’re inclined to give that a try, let me know.
With Thanksgiving just around the bend, I’m knee-deep in planning my contributions to the holiday table. Providing for a vegetarian family this time of year is surprisingly easy. As much as the turkey makes headlines, it’s often the side dishes that steal the show.
Please join us to celebrate Freshness Farms’ Five Year Jubilee this Saturday, November 2. Drop in anytime between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 76 Race Street in San Jose. You’ll see new projects in the works, and more.
Five years ago Nasim Hashemi (pictured above, with a farming friend) launched Freshness Farms. In the early years Nasim and a few friends ran the logistics from her dining room table and a small shed in her bountiful backyard. Today Freshness Farms is a successful business that supplies locally grown vegetables, fruit and more to corporations and individual consumers across Silicon Valley. I recently asked Nasim to answer a few questions about the journey Freshness Farms has travelled and where’s it’s heading next…
If you’re wondering what to do with the lemons in this week’s farm share beyond squeezing into a pitcher of water, know that these sleek yellow orbs are among the most useful tools in the kitchen. On a par with salt and pepper.