Though it hasn’t been a banner year for us with the garden, there’s still plenty to keep us occupied. And rather than preserving, say, a million pounds of tomatoes like we did last year, we’re eating most of what we take in soon after it’s picked. Well, for the most part, that is. There’s still the matter of our basket full of the biggest zucchini in the universe. (Okay, not really, but still…) But! Guess what we found growing the other day:
Yup, that’s a baby White Scallop or “pattypan” squash! It’s been hiding all by its lonesome among the huge (and now dying) zucchini plants. So far this is the only non-zucchini of the year, and we’re keeping a close eye on it. Hopefully it’ll mature easily. Not too sure what we’d do with just this one squash, but we sure are glad to see it growing!
Back in the kitchen, we’ve been making all sorts of things, from the typical, like zucchini bread:
To the new (to us),a light and lovely Three-Bean Salad with a Dijon vinaigrette, here made with some of our string beans and Rattlesnake beans (both lightly blanched), and though you wouldn’t know it, a handful of our Pinto beans. (Canned pinto beans and garbanzo beans complete the mix.)
Moving on from baking and salads, we’ve also done some quick pickling of our radishes and cucumbers. (It’s been far too hot here lately to stand in the stove for hours to do actual canning, so quick pickling in the way to go! And the food still keeps well for 4-6 weeks in the fridge.)
The radishes were done easily with just white vinegar, sugar, and salt.
Then, it was onto the cucumbers. Our cucumber crop has been moderate this year — the extremely warmth (we’re on, what, our fourth or fifth heatwave of the summer!) likely both helps a little and hinders a lot. We have gotten a few nice-sized pickling cucumbers (Homemade Pickles), but the new variety we tried this year, Alibi, have all come in short and spherical. And unlike last year, we haven’t gotten in a single Crystal Apple. But a cucumber is a cucumber, and cucumber are perfect for pickles! We started out with dill pickles first, following a recipe we found online.
Then we moved on to trying to make bread and butter quick pickles. After a good bit of searching for a good recipe, we landed here: Easy Bread and Butter Pickles. The results were perfect, and the pickles are d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!
As of right now, the search for zucchini recipes is our number one priority. One can only eat so much zucchini bread and Zucchini Parmesan and zucchini fritters, after all. An article in one of our local papers pointed us to the idea of using zucchini in quiche (don’t know why we didn’t think of that before — and we love quiche!), which led to the discovery of Zucchini Clafoutis. While this idea is new to us, clafoutis (kla-foo-tee) is anything but. And it’s actually known as a baked desert, usually made with cherries, apricots, plums, and the like. Turns out that it’s somewhat like a quiche, it contains eggs and milk and bakes up all puffy-like, but there’s no crust and it’s a little less rich. After coming across dozens of zucchini clafoutis recipes, here’s what we settled on, based mostly on what we had available in the kitchen and garden. It makes for an excellent vegetarian entree. (Though you could certainly add in meat. Bacon or ham sound like they’d do quite well.)
(Makes 4 servings)
- 1 half of a foot-long zucchini, peeled and cut into small cubes (about 2 cups, and peeled because the skins on our tend to be a little on the tough side)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
- A couple dozen leaves of fresh basil
- 1/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup lowfat half-and-half
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Spray a little cooking spray on the bottom and sides of an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish
- In a large saute pan, melt butter over medium-high heat, add onion and saute for 4-5 minutes, until translucent
- Add in the cubed zucchini and saute with onions for 6-8 minutes, until cooked through and browned
- Once done, place mixture in the prepared baking dish
- Layer the tomatoes, basil, and cheese over the zucchini and onions
- In a separate bowl, beat eggs together, then completely mix in the flour and the red pepper flakes
- Slowly whisk milk into egg and flour mixture until fully combined and add salt and pepper to taste
- Pour batter over the vegetables in the baking dish
- Cook for 45 minutes until set — top should be golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean
- Serve with dressed greens and warm bread