Here’s the deal – I have a bunch of stuff to say about vegetables. Two posts worth probably, this being the first. There will be lots of pictures I’ve been saving up. There’ll be me babbling about the garden and about the CSA and about summer things in general. There will be complaints about weather and some overflowing pride in Molly. There will be some ideas for recipes as well, but you’ve got to sift through the above to get to them. I’m not trying to alienate all the carnivores out there, but it’s that time of year. Here we go…
That first picture is a zucchini and roasted tomato pizza. First, everyone who knows anyone has zucchini right now. It’s unavoidable. We’ve been eating alot of it, but this is the first time I’ve had it on pizza. I ran it through the recently acquired mandoline (so fun, so fast, so threatening to the livelihood of my fingers). I salted it, tossed it up and put it a strainer for a good hour to get out as much water as possible. Moisture + pizza = problems, and I was picturing the rest of the toppings building an ark after seeing zucchini show up. The salt and strain helped, but the pizza was still juicy coming out of the oven, so it went on a cooking rack and I used a meat thermometer to poke it full of holes – yes, drainage holes in your pizza. It worked.
The tomatoes were the last of last years. Towards the end of the summer we were talking all the cherry/roma/grape tomatoes we could get, tossing them with oil and salt (and optionally garlic and herbs) and putting them in a real low oven for a few hours in the evening. Vacuum sealed and frozen, they made for some kick-ass pizza toppings and pasta sauces all winter.
Finally the lemon. In the middle of Mark Bittman’s 101 picnic ideas list (a list full of inspiration) was a comment to try some squeezed lemon on leftover pizza. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Forget the leftovers, it seemed like it would be great with the zucchini and it was nothing short of incredible. In fact, I think it made the pizza what it was. It brightened up the entire thing. Just amazing.
Simpler zucchini: Mandolined thinly the long way, sauteed in oil with sliced garlic, salt and pepper. Chopped mint and basil once it was cooked. Simple, simple, simple.
I had never really put 2 and 2 together between cilantro and coriander. I mean, I knew they were from the same plant, and that coriander was the seed, but never thought about it more than that until our cilantro grew so far out of control that the seeds showed up on the top. Neat. So they got collected and seem to be drying out well on the windowsill. An unexpected harvest. A fisheye-looking self portrait above, along with some rare blue sky. Below, I had to include the photo, as it appears that one of the coriander seeds has decided to go snail and grown some eye-stalks (click and check it out bigger – bizarre).
Here’s the herb garden from a few weeks ago. It’s completely out of control at this point. It seems like I throw a few herbs in just about everything we’re eating, but still can’t keep up.
What are your favorite uses for fresh herbs?
Our weather has been truly bizarre. I always complain that we get shortchanged on the spring and fall here, but it appears that late July and August are a little lazy this year and we’re all about fall. We’ve had more cool, rainy days that I can count. I don’t think there’s anything in the world better for sleeping than 65 degrees and thunderstorms, but for tomatoes? I don’t think they’re too happy. We have an awful lot of guys that still look like this…
In fact, aside from our sun gold cherry tomatoes (awesome), we haven’t harvested a single full size tomato. On the other hand, our lettuce is doing fantastic and hasn’t crapped out on us yet.
The carrots I was previously drooling over – I ended up making, as promised, a shredded carrot salad. Peeled and grated several carrots. Ate several more,(What’s up, Doc?), toasted a handful of cashews and crushed them up and added them to a carrots. A little salt, pepper, oil (I used avocado oil) and half a lime’s worth of juice. Finally a pinch of chopped mint. I thought it was fantastic. Tina thought it might be a little too minty…which I could see – so if you add mint, really just a little bit. It was definitely best fresh, as after a night in the fridge nothing was quite as crisp, especially the nuts.
Finally, if you’re you’re the one person that found this site after Googling for “Chunky Scottish Snowball” – congratulations! That’s the best search ever. I hope you found what you’re looking for.