Sunday, July 02, 2006

Garden Journal, Week 13

The rather large pumpkin vines are finally sending out female flowers. I pollinated this one today, and we'll probably try making a soup or something out of it since it will be ready well before Halloween. I'm letting the vines climb along the fence since there is little room left on the soil.

This zucchini will soon become zucchini bread. You know that joke about the couple who visits their Utah relatives and gets a car load of zucchini while in the church since they didn't lock their car doors? We are considering disposing of some of our zucchini that way. We only have four plants, but they are vigorously obeying God's second commandment. Here are some ways we've used it these two weeks:
Zucchini bread
Roasted vegetables (with steak or chicken)
Zucchini/squash chicken cassarole
On sandwiches (very nice when they're still young)
Spaghetti sauce (whole and pureed)

Anyone else know any good ways to use zucchini? We're running out of ideas.

The watermelon vines are FINALLY starting to take off. They'll probably get their first flowers in a week or two. I can't believe how long they took- they were just dormant for over two months.

The rest of the regular tomatos are taking their merry time ripening. It seems like the first batch of tomatos to ripen always takes a lot longer. I wonder if it really is longer, or if it just seems longer to my excited taste buds. Each plant has over ten tomatos on it, some have twenty. Even the brandywines now have at least one each (which is a miracle in itself as I only got one tomato last year from my four brandywine plants)

The strawberries are sending out their runners. I've loosened up the soil underneath all the new plants so they'll establish a better root structure and hopefully survive the summer this time.

The crookneck squash was good in that cassarole. I'm not the biggest fan, but it sure looks nice in the garden and Jenny seems to like it.

The first cherry tomatos are finally ripening. After the first few ripen this week, we'll be drowning in them next week (who could ask for a better death?)

The tomatillos are benefitting from the bees that have suddenly taken an interest in the garden. They need cross-pollination, and they're finally getting it. They are also getting very tall. One is as tall as the corn, which comes up to my chest.

All the garlic tops died off in the last three weeks so I harvested them. They're supposed to last until August, but mine always wither away in June. This October I'll try planting only large cloves.

The onions are getting big, large enough to start using on stuff like sandwiches.

Same with the green peppers. They look scrumptuous. Each of the six plants has a bunch on them.

We've got a few raspberries this year. Next year will be nice since I'm going to transplant them to a better location.

After I pulled up all the garlic I needed to replace it with something, so I bought a bunch of anaheim and habanero pepper plants at the clearance sale. They won't be ready until August/September, but I think I might try canning them. They'll at least be good in salsa.

This Cherry pepper plant has at least 15 peppers on it, with many more to come soon. They'll be good for sandwiches or stuffed peppers.

Every year I think I plant enough basil, and I always want more. The seeds I planted a few months ago are finally growing into larger plants. The package advertised four-inch leaves, and these are only a little over one inch. But the summer is young. When they get a little bigger we'll be able to use some with our garlic and make some pesto.

We just harvested a banana pepper and put it on sandwiches (at the suggestion of Morgan) along with the zucchini and lettuce (which is all gone now, rest in peace). They were the best sandwiches we've had in awhile.

The little zinnia seeds are grown into large plants about to blossom. This one looks like it will be red.

And I love the blanket flower. It's very hardy, and gives the flower circle a nice fiery center.


JonnyF said...

Katie has a couple of good recipes that include zucchini, as well as an awesome tomatillo salsa recipe. When I get home we will post them.

Jenny said...

Hooray! More ways to eat zucchini!

erin said...

My aunt made some mashed zucchini with cheddar cheese and it was really good...ugly, but good.

A couple of months ago I went to a raw/vegan cafe and they had a spaghetti dish made out of zucchini--not the sauce, but the "noodles" were zucchini. It was fantastic.

Jenny said...

Zucchini and other summer squash keep on appearing in my "in box" in the morning after Nick's made his daily morning rounds in the garden.

Today I put them in as the veggies (along with carrots and onions) in our red chicken curry. I was a little skeptical at first, but it was probably the best curry I've made in months. Just goes to show you that summer squashes (especially zucchini) are kind of like the tofu of the vegetable world if tofu wasn't already a vegetable (you know tofu--appears in a variety of forms, can be cooked/eaten almost any way imaginable, and takes on the flavor of the dish it's being cooked in ...).

Warren said...

Here's a recipe my mom made up that is good (I made it with Jared once so you can ask him). My mom throws it together, and so do I so the directions are a little vague.

Ingredients: Baked potatoes, Zucchini, eggplant, tomato sauce, spices, queso

Slice the potatoes
Slice the zucchini and eggplant and fry them in oil
Put some tomato sauce in the bottom of a glass pan.
Put down a layer of potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and cheese. Add some spices (I like thyme, rosemary, basil, dill, whatever else is in the cupboard).
Cover with tomato sauce, and add more layers until you hit the top of the pan, and put a nice layer of cheese on top.
I also like to boil some carrots and add them. I haven’t added garlic, onion, or peppers, but I think they would work

Cook in the oven on 300-400 degrees until the cheese is melted (I never time things I put in the oven, I just eyeball it)

It’s easy to make, just time intensive frying the vegetables and putting it together.

Nick said...

So is that a vegetarian lasagna? It sounds good.

Today we had chicken curry on rice. We put zucchini and crookneck squash in the sauce and it was good.

Julie said...

My in-laws always have an abundance of zucchini from their garden. One summer they were out of town for a week and came back to harvest over 50 pounds of zucchini! Every zucchini recipe that I make is from them.

This is one of my favorites. It always turns out better when my mother-in-law makes it, probably because she uses twice as much cheese as it calls for . . . or so I suspect. Unlike me, she doesn't shy away from all the fat in cheese. So, for what it's worth here it is:

1 egg
1 tablespoon water
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup dry bread crumbs
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil, divided
5 medium zucchini, sliced
4 medium tomatoes, sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 teaspoons minced fresh basil

In a shallow bowl, beat egg, water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Set aside 2 tablespoons bread crumbs. Place the remaining crumbs in a large resealable plastic bag. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then place in bag and shake to coat. In a skillet, cook chicken in 2 tablespoons oil for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown; remove and set aside. In the same skillet, sauté zucchini in remaining oil until crisp-tender; drain. Transfer to a greased 13 x 9 baking dish. Sprinkle reserved bread crumbs over zucchini. Top with tomato slices; sprinkle with 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese, basil and remaining salt. Top with chicken. Cover and bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 4 servings.

I also have a zucchini brownie recipe, if your interested. Brownies are good for you if there is zucchini in them, right? Actually, most people can't even tell that they are "healthy," just that they are more cake-like.

Jenny said...

This is looking good--as I already have three loaves of zucchini bread (one out, two in the freezer) I definately need some more "main dish" ways to use it--thanks!

JonnyF said...

Tortellini Soup

1 1/2 punds mild Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups dry red wine or water
1-16 ounce can tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1-8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1-7 ounce box cheese-filled tortellini or fresh tortellini
grated parmesan cheese

Remove sausage casing and brown in a large stock pot. Remove sausage, drain and reserve two tablespoons of drippings. Saute onion and garlic until onions are tender. Add broth, wine, tomatoes, carrots, spices, tomato sauce and sausage. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir in zucchini and tortellini. Simmer covered for an additional 20 to 30 minutes or until tortellini is tender. Garnish each bowl or soup with Parmesan. Makes 10 servings. Prep time: 30 minutes.

How we generally do it: use only 1 pound sausage, 2-15 ounce cans beef broth, and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar and 1 cup water for the red wine ingredient. We saute the onion and garlic in olive oil first then add sausage, brown and drain. Then we follow most of the rest of the recipe, except that after we add the tortellini and zucchini, we only simmer about 5 minutes, otherwise everything gets too soggy.

Zucchini Maison

(Not to be confused with "Zucchini Mason", the one where you have to do a secret handshake before eating it.)

6 medium sized zucchini
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese

Wash, slice the zucchini about 1/2 inch thick, and cook in boiling salted water to cover until tender. Saute onion in olive oil until yellow. Add parsley and remove from heat. Drain zucchini, put in casserole in layers with the sliced tomatoes and olive oil and onion mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grated Parmesan cheese. Bake and 375 for 30 minutes. It is almost as good without the cheese.

How we do it: It is not almost as good without the cheese.
Quarter an onion, brake apart. Slice zucchini. If you want garlic, chop 1 clove. Now use the biggest, deepest frying pan you have and saute covered all these ingredients with liberal amounts of salt and pepper in olive oil until zucchini is almost cooked through (bright) and onions are almost clear. Slice tomatoes and place them on the bed of onion and zucchini with a little salt and pepper. Sprinkle liberal amounts of grated parmesan and cook uncovered until cheese is melty.

-Jon & Katie

Julie C said...

This is all making me hungry for zucchini and a bit jealous - in my "garden" (one pot on our deck) I have 2 tomatos and about 6 tomato flowers that I am watching very carefully. Is there any way to ship zucchini from Utah to Seattle and not have it arrive as zucchini-paste?

Jared said...

This isn't a recipe, per se, but it is an idea. For the last month and a half I've been craving zucchini fries. My family used to always eat at a restaurant owned by this Iranian family in Bellevue called Broiler Bay. They made really good burgers, patty melts on sourdough, sandwiches, etc. You always had the option of getting normal french fries or zucchini fries. They cut the zucchini long and semi-thick (like steak fries) and dipped them in batter and deep-fried them. So I recommend finding a good fry batter recipe ( and making some zucchini fries. Sooooooo good...

Jenny said...

Jared--you ate zucchini fries at Broiler Bay too!!?!! We used to go there all the time--it was just about a mile or two away from our house and so we'd head there after games or concerts or for FHE ... ahh ... grease ...

The wife of the owner was in our ward and her son Nathan was just a bit younger than us (was he younger than you Julie? I can't remember). Anyway, I'm now completely craving their zucchini fries and one of their mushroom burgers ... mmmm ... grease ...

Jared said...

Nathan was my age. Were they active?? The Pirhadis (sp?) used to be in our ward in Kirkland when I was young and Nathan and I were Bear Cubs together. But we thought they went less-active when they moved and we would only see them occasionally when we went to Broiler Bay.

Julie C said...

I'm not sure about active - I don't see them at church, but I'm not sure where they live now. However, I did see Nathan at Broiler Bay (on a visit home) this last year. And Robbie (the mom) opened a consigment shop. I even think Nathan is married now.