Monday, September 6, 2010

Busy Fall Kitchen

We are currently in a very food-centric stage of our growing season. We have been getting great yields from our garden and taking on some of the yield from my dad's garden as well. In order to not let it go to waste, we are making efforts to cook as much as possible, to try new recipes that incorporate specific produce and to preserve as much as we can. We have been cooking and baking and pickling and canning and freezing and drying!

I have baked many, many loaves of zucchini bread. I've made a few varieties to keep myself from getting bored with it. I started with a few loaves of the chocolate zucchini bread, which is actually much more like chocolate cake and is completely divine. I've also been making variations on the family recipe, including orange/walnut/raisin, lime/almond/cranberry and lemon/walnut/cranberry. I also froze some shredded zucchini to see if I can thaw it and bake with it later. Has anyone had success with freezing zucchini? I'd like to hear about your experience with it. I've read and heard a lot of conflicting opinions.

For immediate consumption, I made this zucchini and sundried tomato risotto. We are trying to be inventive about ways to use our zucchini. Luckily there are a lot of recipes out there since an abundance of zucchini is common amongst gardeners. We've recently come into so much of it that I've been giving it to friends, family, coworkers and strangers. I put a box of them out in front of my house with a "FREE" sign on it. It made me happy when they disappeared within a few hours.

Next up on the list of abundance is cauliflower. The thing about cauliflower is that you only get one head from each plant. And, if you plant them all at the same time, they come ready all at the same time. This is hard to avoid when you buy the plants in sets of 4. We've tried to stretch them out a little by picking some when they are younger and some when they are older, but you basically need to eat 4 heads of cauliflower in the span of a few weeks. Vegetarian Times must be on to this because their September 2010 issue includes a section called 1 Food 5 Ways: Cauliflower. We made the Cauliflower Gratin with Tomatoes, Capers and Feta. It was delicious and made for excellent leftovers.

My dad stopped over yesterday and dropped off approximately 5 flats of tomatoes. We got a mix of roma, bloody butcher and mariglobe tomatoes, all of which are heirloom varieties. Although, his bloody butchers dwarf pictures I have seen of the variety online, so I suspect his seed saving and tracking process may have resulted in tomatoes and names that are a bit mixed up.

The flats he gave us must easily total 100 pounds. We were grateful to receive them because we have been keeping pace with our tomatoes plants and haven't had many extras to preserve. He was grateful to give them to us because he had already canned gallons of tomatoes and salsa and was feeling pretty overwhelmed with his crop.

At this moment, we are roasting a few trays of bloody butchers, dehydrating a mix of roma and mariglobe and prepping to make Summer Minestrone Soup (Moosewood recipe) to pressure can and Tomato-Carrot Soup to freeze. A busy kitchen have we!


  1. Holy crap! Just reading it overwhelmed me, but also excited me about all the yummy veggies and produce there is out there right now. We're enjoying it a lot, even though it's from our farmer's market and not from our own backyard. Feel free to pass on zucchini (or anything else) any time! We loved what you gave us a few weeks ago and used all of it! Thanks again! :)

  2. lovely food pictures! i hear you about not getting bored with zucchini bread. someone gave me a zucchini brownie recipe and i have also made zucchini pineapple bread which is lovely! your pictures are making me hungry :)


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