I've barely had time to slap a hotdog or two on the grill this week let alone plan and cook anything more elaborate. Luckily though, it's June and the beginning of the season of abundance in the garden. For us that means we can eat a wonderful meal without a lot of cooking. After becoming a student of permaculture a few years back, the kids and I have spent a lot of time transforming our small city plot into a dynamic, growing system, and although it is far from perfect, I'm still routinely stunned by how much food our small plot yields each year. Besides the simply wonderful feeling you get from harvesting what you have watched grow just a few steps from your door, gardening can be a fun way to incorporate the small people in your life into the mealtime process. I've also been amused to see the kids take a break from playing to run over and grab a handful of something from the garden and chomp on it with a gusto that you'd never see if I were to carefully prepare and serve it for dinner.
Tonight, when I would have been cooking dinner, I was instead watching my boys harvest the garden peas. After the fun work of shelling them, the peas were quickly steamed and tossed with some bow-tie pasta, leftover roasted chicken from a neighbor's farm, the last of the pesto frozen from last year's garden, a few leaves of fresh basil harvested from the herb garden, and some crumbled locally made feta cheese. I also served fresh applemint tea from the garden, a tossed green salad made from heirloom Amish Deer Tongue lettuce, and a crusty loaf of bread. Altogether it was both simple and delicious. I forgot to take pictures of the meal itself but here are a few from the preparation: