Two zucchini. This may not scream insanity to you. Well, then you’ve obviously never grown zucchini before. These were the first two (of MANY to come) zucchini I harvested from my garden on Sunday. For those of you unfamiliar with the all-space-consuming phenomenon that is zucchini in your garden, allow me to enlighten you: once they start, they come on strong and they DON’T STOP. The plants are huge, and bear much fruit (or vegetables).
In summers past, I have made innumerable recipes for zucchini breads and muffins, roasted them, grilled them, stuffed them, made zucchini cookies, even a zucchini dip once! I plan to do most of those things (and more) this summer, so expect to see a lot of zucchini cropping up on HHH in the coming months…you’ve been warned! And if you live near me, or are visiting the area, please please please allow me to give you some of my bounty – you’ll be doing me a favour!
The zucchini was used in the tasty pasta I made for lunch on Sunday, as well as in my supper, which I like to call “summer on a square” (in case you can’t tell from the photo, the meal was served on a square plate). This meal was just completely and totally summer-y and delicious, so much so that I was tempted to scream “I love you summer” at the top of my lungs as I ate in my backyard, but I feared that that might alarm the neighbours, so I kept my seasonal exclamations to myself. Allow me to break this plate of summer goodness down element-by-element.
The zucchini element. I made a tasty salad by grilling about 2/3 of one of the zucchini, seasoned only with salt and pepper. I tossed the zucchini with some sliced tomato, topped with more salt and pepper, a simple balsamic vinaigrette (balsamic, fat-free Italian, Dijon and a touch of Splenda) and chopped fresh basil (green and purple, just to be fancy). Simple, but delicious. The only thing that would have made it better would be if the tomato had come from my garden, but that will come in time.
The last of the leftover “birthday beans.” Let me tell you, even after a few days in the fridge, these guys were still delicious. I wasn’t tired of them at all, despite eating them (in various incarnations) throughout the week.
Veggies, chips, and dip – perfect at any summer BBQ, no matter how small. More specifically, PC Blue Menu Tzatziki (which keeps remarkably well in the fridge, I’m not going to disclose how long the current container has been in there), fat-free Sour Cream and Onion Pringles (American), baby carrots and kohl rabi. What is kohl rabi, you may ask? Here’s a picture of what it looks like whole:
…and then after I peeled and cut it up:
I saw kohl rabi at the market on Thursday, and decided to give it a try. I had seen it and heard of it before, but never bought it. The vendors at the farmers’ market were very helpful and eager to answer my questions (as most farmers’ market vendors are…don’t be shy!). You need to cake off the green peel, you can eat it raw or cooked, put in salads, etc. It kind of tastes like raw cabbage (a taste that I enjoy). I cut mine in wedge-shaped pieces for optimum dipping.
Burger. It’s no secret how much I love burgers – but this one might make you laugh a bit, mainly because I put meat on a veggie burger! I wanted to create a “cordon bleu”-style burger, so I spread one wedge of Laughing Cow light on a thin bun, topped with grainy mustard, sliced ham, arugula from my garden, a Boca burger, more ham and a thick slice of grilled Vidalia onion. YUMMY! Why the veggie burger, if I’m adding meat anyway, you may ask? The short answer is that since I was adding more calories with my meat/cheese accompaniments, I wanted to start with a base burger that was lower in calories.
Now if you can come up with a meal more summery than my “summer on a square” – chips, veggies and dip; garden-fresh salad, baked beans and a burger, I wanna see it!
Speaking of garden insanity, Sunday marked the beginning of another “harvest season” in my backyard – raspberries! The pictures above show a little bit of my patch (which started many years ago with just 10 little stalks in the back of my vegetable garden, which we have since had to re-locate due to the raspberry expansion). You can’t really tell from the photos, but the patch is pretty expansive. What this means is that for the next couple of weeks, raspberry picking will become my life. If I fail to update this blog on a regular basis, assume I’ve passed out in the patch due to raspberry exhaustion.
I LOVE raspberries, but they are a royal PAIN to pick! They are nice and thorny, and the bushes give me a mild rash (as do zucchini plants, by the way), so I usually have to don a long-sleeved shirt and pants to pick, which, as you can imagine, feels wonderful outside in the July heat. And since it is “my” patch, that means I have the sole pleasure of picking them (lucky me, right?). No one in my family has any problem helping eat the berries though…funny how that works. All whining aside, I know I’m pretty lucky to have an amazing crop like this right outside my back door.
Last year wasn’t a very crop, but things are looking good this year. My berry yogurt/cereal bowls are looking up already.
For today’s question, I ask, do you have any good zucchini recipes/uses/ideas you’d like to share? I think this season I’d like to try making relish…