Category Archives: Summer

Garden pasta

Confronted with an ever-growing pile of tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini on our kitchen counter, Andrew and I decided we had better switch gears from last night’s lentil vegetable soup and make something that would highlight our garden produce.

I began by broiling two of our sweet red peppers in the toaster oven until their skins turned black.  I covered them with a bowl to steam briefly before removing the skins.

I cut up five medium-small red tomatoes from the garden and placed them in the food processor along with the roasted red peppers.  To that I added a handful of fresh sage and basil.

In a pan, I sauteed a large yellow squash with a large clove of garlic.  I added half of the yellow squash, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper to the food processor and pulsed until the ingredients came together.

After cooking the pasta, I combined it with the rest of the sautéed yellow squash, the sauce from the food processor, a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, and another handful of chiffonaded basil in a large serving bowl.


Risotto Cakes and Raw Zucchini Salad

The other day I made risotto cakes and raw zucchini salad for dinner.

Raw zucchini salad?  Let me explain.  I’ve never been a raw zucchini person, but I’ve been using my mandolin to slice matchstick-sized pieces of zucchini for my 15-month-old daughter.  While I was slicing away, she asked if she could have some (and by ask I mean, yelled something like “da” “da” and gesticulated wildly).  I told her it was raw, but handed her a very thin piece.  She ate it and seemed happy to have successfully communicated and received the item that she desired.
That night as I was making a salad, I threw in some of the raw zucchini just to add a little variety.  I couldn’t really taste it in there, but I tried a few of the sticks by themselves and discovered that they had absorbed the salad dressing and were very good.
So I decided to make a salad out of just raw zucchini and dressing, after all it’s that time of year when we have an abundance of over-grown zucchini piling up on our counters and continuing to get still more overgrown in the garden.  To dress it I added salt, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, and red wine vinegar.  So good.  I think I’ll do one with the addition of chiffonadded basil next time.

The risotto cakes were made from the leftover herb and vegetable risotto from the night before.  Personally, I think risotto is missing something without the parmesan, but fry some risotto cakes in oil and they shine all by themselves. No pun intended.

I recommend oiling your hands before starting to make the patties, because the rice is very sticky by the next day.  You will probably need to reapply it as you go.

Fry risotto cakes in a hot, cast-iron skillet with a thin layer of olive oil.

I have every intention of creating a risotto post complete with step-by-step photos one of these days, but we’ll see what time will allow.

Rhubarb Pie

The rhubarb in our garden was ready for harvest, so I decided today was a good day to make up a recipe for rhubarb pie.  The pie is a bit tart and perfect with vanilla ice cream.  I love the flavors of the orange and cardamon.

Pie crust:
13 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup ice water
1 3/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar

Mix together the 1 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 2 Tablespoons sugar.

Cut in 13 Tablespoons of butter. Add the 1/4 cup of ice water and quickly work together with a fork.

Switch to working with hands and as quickly as possible make the dough come together and knead briefly just until the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Divide dough in half and on a lightly floured surface begin rolling out the dough. Roll it out until it forms a relatively even circle.

To transfer the dough to the pie plate, fold it into quarters and position the inner corner at the center of the pie plate, then open to fill the pie plate.

Form an edge by folding over or removing and/or repositioning any excess and pressing down with the side of your thumb to form a ribbed edge. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Makes two crusts.

3 cups rhubarb
2/3 cup sugar (makes a tart pie that goes perfectly with vanilla ice cream)
Zest of one orange
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. cardamon seeds
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tablespoon flour
1 pinch salt

Wash and cut the rhubarb into approximately 1/2-inch pieces.

Mix the rhubarb with the other ingredients.

Pour mixture into pie shell.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

Helpful equipment:
Pastry cutter: OXO Good Grips Dough Blender
This makes cutting in the butter for the pie crust much easier and faster.

Zester: Microplane 46120 Premium Red Zester/Grater
This is the zester/grater that I decided to purchase for myself.  It works great for zesting citrus and grating nutmeg.  I occasionally use it for cheese, but I don’t find it to work quite as well for cheese as a rotary or box grater.

Pickled Green Tomatoes

I only had a handful of green cherry tomatoes, so I opted not to can them, but refrigerate them instead.  I used a recipe from Williams-Sonoma The Art of Preserving.

Cider vinegar
Kosher salt
Bay leaves
Pickling spice
Dill seeds
Fresh Dill sprigs
Celery seeds
Yellow onion
Green cherry tomatoes

The pickling spice, also from the cookbook, contains:
Cinnamon stick
Bay leaves
Mustard seeds
Coriander seeds
Mixed peppercorns
Dill seeds
Red pepper flakes

I let the jar sit out until it cooled and then put it in the refrigerator.  I think I’ll give it a day or two to sit and then try them.  Check back for an update in a few days!

Today should be the last day of blurry pictures, because I finally found the charger for my camera!

Update after a week:  Both the tomatoes and onions are delicious and amazing!

Pasta with Zucchini and Cream

A little less than 1/2 lb pasta
1 zucchini
1 clove garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
White wine – dry
Fresh parsley

Put the water on to boil.  Add some olive oil to a sauté pan and turn the heat to medium-low.  Slice the clove of garlic and the zucchini and add it to the pan.  Add just a splash of white wine and stir as needed.  After a few minutes add cream, more or less depending on how creamy you want it.

When the water has come to a boil, add salt and a little less than 1/2 lb. of pasta to the water and return to a boil.  Stir occasionally.  When the pasta still has about two minutes left, transfer it to the pot with the cream and zucchini, but save the pasta water!  Add pasta water as needed and stir frequently until the pasta is cooked al dente.

Top with parmesan, fresh parsley, and fresh ground pepper.

Serves two.

I’ve been having trouble with the camera lately, so sorry about the blurry photos.  Andrew has a manual camera and I really need to take some time to read about how to adjust the settings.  I messed with them a bunch this time, but every single photo came out blurry.