Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vegetable Gardening: July 2009

Spent some time this afternoon in the garden working on things. The evening light was perfect for taking a few photos as well.

Adios, Arugula
After going to seed for the second time, I just decided it was time to yank these out of the ground. It was no longer producing the small, delicate leaves that you normally get.
I harvested enough leaves for a final batch of arugula pesto.

Hey, Broccoli
There are three heads about ready for picking and it looks like more on the way. This is such a fun plant to watch grow. It's pretty low maintenance as well.

Picking Parsley
The Italian flat leaf parsley is doing great. Today I harvested two batches with the intent of drying them. Reading online it seems they need to hang in warm dark place for 2-4 weeks. I hung one batch in the pantry (temperature constant but on the cooler side, dark) and one bunch in the garage (warmer due to the dryer being in there, dark, more temperature variation). I'll report back on these in a few weeks.

What more can be said? We're swimming in it. We're giving it away. We're making zucchini bread on a daily basis. We're searching the internet for zucchini ideas.

Here's a shot of zucchini plant leaves in the afternoon light. Thankfully, the two plants we have are nearing the end of production.

Let us have lettuce

We have been enjoying fresh salads with just-picked lettuce leaves. The romaine heads probably have only a few weeks left in them before they will start going to seed. The Red Sails are winners.

I have made about four batches of basil pesto and stuck them in the freezer. More to be made tomorrow. This year's plants did not grow as tall as last year's most likely due to the cooler summer we've had this year. But overall, they have done pretty well once we got some heat and sunshine.

Seem to be days away from ripening! Other fruit trees are on their way!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Roasted Peppers

This week's box included a pound of "mixed sweet peppers." Once I removed everything from the box it seemed like a lot of small peppers. We had a bowl of peppers sitting there and it seemed that they would not last too much longer.

I decided to try my hand at roasting the peppers. I spent some time on Google and was most struck by this entry on roasting peppers so I followed the recipe. The only addition I did was to cover the peppers in plastic wrap as they cooled in a pyrex dish. I read a number of other sites that recommended this.

Once cooled, I peeled and seeded the peppers--a messy task. I toyed with idea of canning them but there wasn't enough to fill a small jar so I decided that a roasted pepper pizza the next day was in order.

Tonight's dinner was a roasted pepper and zucchini (from the backyard) pizza. The roasted peppers were very sweet and flavorful.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread is the stuff of my childhood. My mother would make it when there was too much zucchini to consume. She would put the finished loaves in the freezer and they would be brought back out in the fall and winter when the delicious bread with cinnamon and nutmeg aromas would be the perfect dessert. We would add a scoop of vanilla ice cream as an extra treat.

Our backyard zucchini is in full production and then we got more in our FFTY box! In the backyard, it's easy to go out one morning and find that yesterday's petite squash is now the size of a man's arm. These are the ones I like to use to make zucchini bread.

This recipe I found online awhile ago and it seems to run close to what I remember mom making. The author adapted a 1974 Sunset recipe. I omitted the 1 cup of walnuts since I am allergic to them.

Zucchini Bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (I am very liberal on this one)
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple (here too since I love pineapple)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • Grate zucchini and place in a colander to drain
  • In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; stir to mix
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a bowl, beat eggs with a hand mixer until they are a consistent yellow color
  • Transfer eggs to Kitchen Aid mixer and add oil, sugar, and vanilla and mix 3-4 minutes until thick and foamy
  • Stir in zucchini and pineapple
  • Add dry mixture in parts allowing it to absorb before adding more
  • Stir in raisins or nuts if you're using them
  • Divide batter amongst greased and flour-dusted bread pans
  • Bake 45 minutes to an hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
  • Cool in pans for 10 or minutes
  • Turn out leaves onto a wire rack and let them cool completely

I wrap them in plastic wrap and then foil for the freezer. As I type, the 45 minute baking time is just about up and the kitchen is filled with a wonderful aroma.