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Archive for the ‘vegetables’ Category

Last of the tomatoes 😦 Gosh, they are just so delicious! Some went into sauce, some into meatballs….. some roasted as well as many jars of salsa. End of another fairly good growing season. I’m gonna miss picking you off the vine come mid February and no doubt cussing. LOL!

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….. the start of scrumptiousness… just picked carrots for the cake.

……. carrot cake from the garden… yumma! 🙂

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I just love pickled veggies. Crunchy, with a great garlic bite…with a hint of dill flavor, plus they are easy peasy to make, and make a great healthy snack or side dish. So, as it’s a cool and drizzly Labor Day here.. it was just perfect for spending the morning tackling some pickling.

Summer is winding down, and if I have to spend time in the kitchen canning, September’s clearly the month for me. Cooler, dryer days vs. August’s sweltering humid days… and I think I enjoy processing this time of year the most too, because now.. everything being made in my kitchen, is for my family or me! Farmers market will close in just a couple of more weeks and then the buttoning up of the farm begins, to close out yet another albeit odd and challenging growing season, but still a most productive one.

Our many tourists have packed it up, and heading back down south, ( * whispering, hooray! LOL) the kiddies back to school… apples, cider, pumpkins and comfort food meal menus will begin… and then there’s also football season! This is another of my fave seasons.. quieter (clearly), less hectic (for certain), solitude.. (my time) with long lazy daily walks on the beach (what’s not to love?) LOL

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Finally, our first of the corn! Yum! And I beat the raccoons to it! 🙂

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As I work my way through our very abundant zucchini harvest this summer, I thought I’d post a few of my fave zucchini recipes. As well as zucchini, I am picking a bowlful of zucchini flowers pretty much daily that I feel the need to use in a productive way. Though the zucchini flowers do not have a lot of flavor on their own, their vibrant color makes them a great addition to many dishes, in addition to just stuffing them.

This week I made this creamy risotto using up some of my zucchini, summer squash and zucchini flower buds… along with a leftover ear of corn on the cob in the frig just screaming.. ‘use me up!’ LOL I also added just a spoonful of basil pesto made fresh from the garden that really added a bright note to the dish.

If there is one thing I have an over abundance of growing here, besides zucchini.. it’s the basils. I am constantly picking basil before it flowers and often make a batch of pesto to garnish a bowl of soup, to toss with hot pasta or to stir into a risotto, such as this one. If you do not have your own supply of fresh basil on hand, you could use a good quality store brand pesto instead. ( for shame! 🙂 Just a mere spoonful of pesto is all that is needed in this dish. If you use too much, it will take over and all you’ll end up tasting is basil, and you’ll lose the summer fresh flavor of the zucchini.

2 TBLS unsalted butter

2 TBLS olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1 small shallot, minced

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

3/4 cup dry white wine.. I used Pinot Grigio

5-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth, warmed

1 1/2 cups finely diced zucchini ( or summer squash, cousa, pattypans etc) (1/2 ” dice)

10-12 zucchini flowers, stamens removed & diced

1 ear, steamed corn on the cob, cooled and kernels removed

1 heaping tsp basil pesto

1 tsp lemon juice

Sea salt & ground pepper

To finish….

1 TBLS butter

1/3-1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Place the olive oil and half the butter in a saucepan and heat until sizzling over a medium heat.

Add the onion and shallot and cook until translucent, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

Add the rice, and stir to coat the rice completely with the oil mixture. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring often.

Add the wine to the pot, stir to mix and continue cooking over medium heat until the wine has been absorbed.

Add a large ladleful of warm broth and continue to cook, stirring constantly.

Halfway through the cooking period, or 10 minutes, add the diced zucchini.

As each addition of broth has absorbed, add another, stirring until the rice is just slightly firm to the bite.. about 20 minutes.

With the last addition of broth, add the chopped zucchini flowers, corn kernels, pesto and lemon juice.

Stir to mix, and season with sea salt and ground pepper.

Cook another 3 to 4 minutes, then remove from heat.

Stir in the butter and grated Pecorino cheese, stirring until the cheese has completely melted into the rice.

Serve immediately with some rosemary focaccia bread and a fresh garden salad as a stand alone meal. I served it as a side with grilled salmon. Either way, it’s just plain yummy! Enjoy.

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Every summer when the vegetables in my garden burst into color, it’s hard for me to think about eating anything else.

I still remember sitting in the middle of my dad’s victory garden, where each vegetable seemed a work of art, creating my own private pageants by lining up the eggplants, zucchini and peppers, arranging them — then re-arranging them as the light bounced off their shapes, sizes and colors.

Once I tired of my game, I would help myself to an impromptu picnic, the ripe tomatoes, radishes and carrots still half covered with dirt. And today, I still conduct these pageants… and still enjoy biting into the first pulled carrots.. dirt and all. After all, which man-made image can surpass the silhouette of a plump purple eggplant, a pear shaped yellow pepper or even a bulbous garlic? And what of the elongated cylindrical zucchini? Or.. that perfectly rounded juicy first tomato off the vine. But in today’s fast paced world, most rarely pause to appreciate them.

More often, they arrive in our kitchens swathed in paper and plastic and are sliced, diced, squeezed, chopped, julienned.. even puréed, becoming secondary components of larger dishes.

Since I love ❤ examining these miracles of nature, I use every excuse to create dishes where I can keep my vegetables whole. Crazy I know LOL.. but hey, that’s just me.

But think about this for a moment.. by leaving vegetables whole, scooping out the center, then piling back complementary ingredients, a new and nourishing relationship is born. Sometimes, the outside indicates the inside. But even though zucchini traditionally cries out for onions, and peppers and tomatoes; mushrooms provoke Parmesan, shallots and bread crumbs; and sweet peppers propose meat, tomatoes and garlic, when we travel afield… you begin to realize the choices and combinations are endless and flavor synergies are limited only by our imaginations. And if you are imagination stumped hop over to my other blog here for some new ideas.

Nature’s bounty can produce parades of stuffed veggies for your tables, from the plethora of various squashes, to eggplant and even tomatoes! Plus offering you some tempting new items for your menus, rather than just plain old boring steamed zucchini, for next to pennies if you plan right. Stuffed vegetables– the summer’s bounty–can make any meal a special event and so healthful too!

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…. is worth the wait!

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