“Beauty can exist in the vegetable garden and be appreciated every bit as much as beauty in the perennial bed,” he continues. “I cannot conceive that the activity of farming will ever completely be divorced from the vision of beauty, even in the most mechanized and industrialized farming, for flower and fruit are beautiful in and of themselves.” (“The Fragrance of God,” pp. 80-81).
I’ve been enjoying the visual beauty of summer produce this year, not to mention the delightful taste! Sometimes I buy vegetables at the farmer’s market just because they’re pretty, but I always find that the sight of them and the taste of them are equally appealing. Rainbow Swiss chard leaves as big as paper fans melt down into silky sauteed greens; uniquely striped, violet eggplant soaks up olive oil to become a melt-in-your-mouth delicacy; the sweet tang of red zebra tomatoes melds with red wine and basil in thick homemade sauce; and the stunning green geometric forms of romanesco cauliflower add some crunch to a salad.
In these last few weeks of summer, I hope you “taste and see that the LORD is good,” appreciating both the culinary and the visual beauty of ordinary vegetables. Let me share a few of my favorite recipes to help you take advantage of what’s in season while it lasts: