July is the sun-drenched heart of summer. Sweet, lazy days of languor and restful basking. Long, sweaty days of hard work beneath a scorching sun. Fortunately, the recipes that follow suit either of these typical summer days. For whether you crave a refreshing treat to relax you after a long day of labor, or to finish off a perfect day of relaxation, the answer may indeed be as simple as agua fresca.
Popsicles are a fine summer treat for kids. So many delicious juices to choose from, each of which makes an inexpensive, awesome treat in the heat of a July afternoon. But popsicles are not just for children, oh no indeed.
As the long days wind down, the belly requires more than fruit and iced wonders to sustain it. This next recipe from the grill is the vegetable equivalent of the turducken. Except, it’s easy to pull off, and super delicious, to boot.
Berries are the signature of summer. Blackberries are free and easy, growing along many a dusty turnout or sun-dappled lane. While they’re considered a non-native, invasive weed to some, to others they are a tangle of delight and thorns, the black berries worth the scratches that are the toll of harvest. As a berry-lover and native-plant enthusiast, I can hold both of these disparate views in balance, the sweet black juices perfectly balancing the wanton sprawl of the invasive vine. I pull it out when it threatens native plant communities. I sing its praises when I find a stand fruiting along an unclaimed stretch of road. Pull over and get out the buckets, kids, it’s time to pick some berries. If you pick half as many as you eat on the spot, there’ll be enough to make this cake.
Perhaps you crave something a little spicier than cake…in that case, we have an invitation for you! The authors of a favorite fermentation book, Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables & Herbs in Krauts, Kimchis, Brined Pickles, Chutneys, Relishes & Pastes, by Kristin and Christopher Shockey, are coming to town! They’re here to celebrate and promote their new book, Fiery Ferments, and they’ll be here, right here, at Mountain Feed on July 18th. We hope you’ll come on down and hear their talk on spicy ferments; from hot sauce to chutney and kimchi, there’s a whole blazing world of fiery ferments to explore. And just in time for pepper season, too.
This event would make a fine addition to a weekend day spent at the Santa Cruz County Fermentation Festival. It’s being held this year at Skypark in Scotts Valley on the July 16th, and we wouldn’t miss it. After all, we’re kind of excited about this whole fermentation thing. We’ll be giving a demonstration on making Sauerkraut. Come say hello, and get inspired! There’s so much energy in the world of fermentation right now, fascinating science being done on how fermented foods affect the microbiome, immunity, and health in general, and some truly innovative and delicious flavors being produced. From sour beer to cider, bread and cheese and kraut and pickles, so many of our favorite foods are made possible by the incredible process of fermentation. Come see, and taste, what all the fuss is about.
We still have some spaces in our Blacksmithing Class, which will be taught by our friend Yori Seeger, of the School of Visual Philosophy. We’ll be making BBQ tools for this 2-day adventure of metal and fire. July 8th and 9th; clear the dates! And come join us.
Or spend the day working in the garden…there’s always plenty to do! A brief look into what we’re harvesting, chasing, planting, and dreaming of, now.