The Taste of Nature

I have a completely organic vegetable garden every summer at my house. It is cheaper than buying vegetables in a grocery store or farmer’s market and I know exactly where my food comes from. In addition, I can grow whatever varieties I want and a tomato from my garden always tastes better to me and my family than the hormone enhanced, genetically modified strains they sell at the store. Store bought veggies grow on factory farms with genetically modified seeds formulated to grow rapidly and have maximum yields. They use manufactured fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and the end result tastes nothing like what a real tomato should taste like.

It is everyone’s personal choice what to feed themselves and their families, but I know that in my life, with all of the potential carcinogens and toxins just hanging around in everything we use and eat, it is important to me to do what I can to offset those toxins. I also love that I made those veggies happen! I gave them love, care, and then made them into delicious dishes for my family. Below is a recipe from my mom for Gazpacho. It is a delicious cold soup and every year I can make it using just the food in my garden and a few staple kitchen items. I also make a great salsa every summer and that recipe is below with a quick homemade way to make tortilla chips. I know that in this economy everyone wants to save a few dollars. What better way to do it than in your own backyard?

Noreen’s Gazpacho


2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered

1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

1 green pepper, cored, seeded and quartered

1 small clove of garlic

1 cucumber, peeled and cubed

3 cups tomato juice

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

3/4 cup chicken broth


Freshly ground black pepper

Garlic croutons for top

Instructions: Blend veggies in blender. Add tomato juice and blend again. Pour into large bowl; add vinegar, oil, broth, salt and pepper. Blend well and cover. Chill for several hours and serve.

AJ’s Salsa
3 large tomatoes, chopped
2 bell peppers, cored, seeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 chives or scallions, chopped
2 sprigs of cilantro, chopped
Lime juice to taste, approx. 3 tbsp
1 jalapeno, minced (seeds = heat, use gloves & wash hands thoroughly

Instructions: Combine all ingredients and chill. Enjoy with tortilla chips or multi-grain pita chips.

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Use a pizza cutter to section fresh flour tortillas. Brush with olive oil and season with salt. You can add a little limejuice, too. Lay pieces on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F until crispy.