On a typical summer day, I take off through the countryside to my old haunts. Mostly, I am going to get my teeth cleaned at Dr. Sonner’s dental office in Wakarusa. But it affords me the chance to wander through the county roads west of town where I used to live.
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For three years, we lived the old-fashioned way on an 80-acre farm and woods, milking by hand, churning our own butter, raising chickens, ploughing and haying with the work horses, gathering and making maple syrup, washing clothes in an old tub washer, planting, harvesting and putting away our own food. It was a hard life, but also a rewarding one.
Living mostly self-sufficiently, we learned what it takes to bring food to the table and heat to the home. We also learned much about the natural and seasonal rhythms as we lived our days surrounded by fields, woods and a stream.
As we drove into Goshen and back regularly, we soon memorized the landmarks: houses along the road, the half hidden barn down the hill, the long lane on the right, the guernsey herd on the left, five points and St. John’s Lutheran Church on the crest of the hill.
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Today, as I retraced those roads, I soaked in the geography, dressed in its late summer greens. I followed the corn fields, let my eyes roam down the lanes to the front porches of white clapboard farmhouses, saw the laundry drying on the lines and the gardens thriving. I read the homemade signs: “veggies,” “fresh sweet corn” and “tomatoes.” And I remembered life in a slower lane.
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So, on my way back to Goshen, I stopped in at Shirk’s and bought some peaches, sweet corn and tomatoes. A little further on, I pulled off to the side of the road to take a picture of St. John’s in yet another striking pose. And I breathed in the smell of country. Though I am a town dweller these days, I continue to be amazed at the richness of our out-of-town. It’s worth taking a ride out to soak it in.
Here’s a recipe for a salad that you can throw a lot of summer vegetables in. It is delicious and the dressing gives it a little kick.
Roasted vegetable salad with couscous and Harissa dressing
For the salad:
- Green beans
- 8 oz. Feta cheese, crumbled
- Package of couscous
For Harissa dressing:
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp. cumin
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 4 tbsp. lime juice
- Cut the onions and tomatoes in wedges. Snap the beans. Cut the other veggies into finger-size pieces.
- Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and roast at 375 degrees until veggies are tender and brown at the edges. Let cool to room temperature.
- While veggies are roasting, make two cups of couscous per package directions.
- Make dressing by combining all ingredients in a small bowl.
- To serve the salad, spread a bed of greens on each plate. Spoon on some couscous. Cover with a generous serving roasted vegetables. Top with crumbled feta. Drizzle with dressing.