Category Archives: zucchini

Now we’re cooking

I can stop complaining about the lack of vegetables now:

Harvest on 8-14
Harvest on 8-14
Harvest on 8-17
Harvest on 8-17

This was a lot of stuff to come in all at once.  It looks very impressive, posted on Facebook.  I had several offers to, “….take some of that off your hands.”  So kind of those folks!  Where were they when I was on my hands & knees for four hours, weeding?

In the end, we put up 5 jars of pepperoncini peppers:

PepperoncinisI found a great recipe for pickling them on Food.com. Our first batch tasted a little mushy, probably from the length of time they sat in the canner until I was able to finish stuffing all the jars and bring it to a boil.  This time we stuffed the jars, filled the brine, removed the air and then put them all into the canner at once.  We’re hoping this makes them crisper.  The ones available commercially taste too bitter to me, so if they are just a little crunchier, they will be perfect.

We’ve got some beans coming, too:

Anellino di Trento and Royalty Purple bush beans
Anellino di Trento and Royalty Purple bush beans

We grilled these with a little bit of olive oil, lemon juice and dill and they were fantastic.  We’re enjoying the beans more than normal, given that just three weeks ago we thought they were a total loss.  Something was getting over our fence and eating the bushes.  We suspect a woodchuck, and so we set up the electric fence around the wire one.  Problem solved.

After picking all those tomatoes, we parboiled, peeled, seeded and diced them into 2-cup quantities and froze them.  We ended up with 2 bags of Krim, 3 bags of Kellogg, and a bag each of Brandywine and Roma.  But we didn’t freeze all of them:

2014-08-17 19.22.33That is a Tomato Stack Salad with Corn & Avocado.  It is delicious.  We used Krim, Kellogg and Brandywine, plus corn, fresh chive and basil from the garden in the dressing.  We have been waiting all season to make that stack of deliciousness.  It was worth the wait.

In a fit of optimism, I planted 191 Knight peas in the back 40 yesterday.  Average time to harvest?  56 days.  That puts us somewhere around October 12, give or take depending on how warm fall is.  I may have wasted $1.50 in seeds if we have an early frost.  This is my idea of living dangerously.

A banner year

So while we’ve had a few problems this year (see also: rabbit in fenced garden, bugs) it’s turning out to be an amazing year:

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We’ve lost a couple of squash plants – due to powdery mold, bugs or both, it’s not clear, but we’ve successfully harvested zucchini pretty consistently since the middle of July.  Of our 6 plants, 3 are producing – all zucchini – and we’re keeping up with consuming what we’re picking.  We’ll stick with the 6 plant plan for next year, because if everything does well we’ll have to give stuff away even at that low number.  We’ve come quite a way from the days of 6 of both types of plants.  Those were some dark times – for us, and the neighbors.

The tomatoes this year are amazing.  Our sungold plants are over 6 feet tall, and so heavy we’ve taken to leaning the cages against the fence and lashing them in place:

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Our peas this year have been somewhat anemic – Mr. Big Pea produced enough peas for a sandwich bag, and the sugar snap lagged further behind that.  Which is interesting, given that we rotated them to a different part of the garden and we used a soil inoculant to help the plants live longer.  Currently they start to die off just as the pods begin to form, so instead of being indeterminant, we get one harvest.  J yanked out all the Mr. Big Pea plants earlier this week and planted a second crop, something we’ve never done before.  We estimate about 7 to 8 weeks before we’re at a huge risk for frost, although the last 2 years we’ve had snow near Halloween, which is about twelve weeks away.  We had the seeds for planting, so we figured we’d give it a shot.  Also planted this weekend – the third crop of lettuce, and more parsley, cilantro and basil. I’ve picked pretty much what we have, so if I want stuff for the fall, I had to replant.  I’m also hoping for enough basil to do a little pesto this year, and freeze it.

We’ve had a lot of rain this summer, punctuated but spells of hot, sunny weather, which has been enormously helpful to the garden, and to our non-farmed yard.  It has never looked this nice this late in the summer since we moved in.  And as I write this, it’s raining again, after a week of sunny 80-something days:

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I’m sure in years to come we will look back on this season fondly.  Except for the peas.  And that rabbit.

Squashes and Herbs

Yesterday I made Herbed Summer Squash using a fresh summer squash, zucchini, thyme and parsley from our garden. 

I am always in search of new recipes – I search the Food Network website often (and have found two great recipes in two days this past week from there) and I also subscribe to Every Day with Rachael Ray, Cooking Light, Food & Wine and my mother in law gives me a gift subscription to Vegetarian Times, which is then gifted to Stella Caroline who has a policy of cooking vegetarian at least once a week.  (Admirable; I use the recipes for ideas for sides.)

I love the magazines because Food & Wine and Every Day with Rachael Ray often have great suggestions for kitchen gadgets and other gift ideas that I think are perfect for the cooks in my life.  I’m not the only cook in my household; J has quickly become a grilling expert.  He’s very partial to the show on PBS called Barbeque University with Steve Raichlen.  The show has given us Bourbon Brined Pork ChopsBourbon & Apricot Pork (the recipe calls for ham but we substituted) and Tennessee Pork Loin, the latter prompting J to ask if we had a good pepper mill.  We didn’t, so he made do with what we had.  The recipe was fantastic.  Good thing, because he’ll be asked to make it again.  If only he had the right tools….

Fast forward to today – I am flipping through the August issue of Food & Wine where NYC chef Nick Anderer cites this pepper mill as kitchen gear worthy of a splurge.  Since I like to encourage J to cook (and keep the heat out of my kitchen in summer), I went over to the website and ordered one for him.  The company is based on Nantucket, which seems both odd and fascinating to me as I always think of the island as being purely a tourist destination, but obviously it must have some other industries.  One of which is making pepper mills. 

Further along in that F & W issue is an article about Sauvignon Blancs, which caught my attention for two reasons – 1.) Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite type of white wine; 2.) the author, Ray Isle, writes, “….But Sauvignon Blanc has always been a love-hate proposition, much like cilantro or beets.”  Hee.  Read the article if you don’t believe me.  It’s been established already that I like cilantro, the jury’s out on beets (although I’m leaning favorably towards radishes, so who knows) and I love Sauvignon Blanc – in fact, I would recommend it with any of the above-mentioned pork recipes.  Or anything, really.