Archive for August, 2014

Roasted Tomato Zucchini Sauce

Sunday, August 24th, 2014
Roaster Full of Raw Ingredients

Roaster Full of Raw Ingredients

We’re having an excellent harvest this year. Of course, this is due to Noel’s diligence in the garden. With the abundance of tomatoes, zucchini, onions and garlic I’m trying something new – at least for us.

I filled a roasting pan with chunks of washed and cored, unpeeled tomatoes – the more variety the better. Then I added about 6 small chopped zucchini – yes a few were harvested at optimal size – 2 large chopped onions (1 yellow and 1 red) and a whole bulb of peeled, minced garlic.

I added about ½ cup olive oil, 2 tsp. salt and several grinds of black pepper. After mixing it all together the veggies were roasted uncovered for about 4 hours at 350 degrees. I stirred them every hour.

Tomato Zucchini Mix Tossed with Oil

Tomato Zucchini Mix Tossed with Oil

The veggies were certainly cooked after 2 hours but were still quite juicy. I chose to roast them for another 2 hours until they were of a stew-like consistency. This is a delicious way to use up a couple of trays of tomatoes before the next batch comes in from the garden! As much as I wanted to eat a bowl full right away, I froze it all in 1 quart containers. It yielded 3 1/2 quarts.  We’ll appreciate it more in the middle of winter as a quick start to a belly warming meal.

Finished Tomato Zucchini Sauce

Finished Tomato Zucchini Sauce

Fresh Garden Salsa

Sunday, August 17th, 2014
Fresh Garden Salsa

Fresh Garden Salsa

Judy made this season’s first salsa yesterday.  It’s about as local as you can get. Everything in it is from the garden except the lime. Here’s the recipe:

2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes – red, yellow, orange – most any tomato will work, but the cherry tomatoes, especially the orange Sungolds, give it a particular zing.

¼ c. chopped red onion

3 cloves garlic – chopped finely

1 T. hot pepper (or to taste) – chopped finely

½ c. cilantro – chopped

1 lime – juiced

Mix all together serve in a bowl for dipping.

Good Food from Wisconsin

Good Food from Wisconsin

I enjoyed this with blue corn chips and beer and here the local story continues. The bowls in the pictures are from Cambridge Wood Fired Pottery, owned by our good friend Mark Skudlarek and just 2 miles from home.

The blue corn chips are from Blue Farm Chips in Janesville, produced about 37 miles from Cambridge.

And last, but certainly not least, the beer in the picture is Moon Man Pale Ale from New Glarus Brewery in New Glarus, Wisconsin, 45 miles from home.

We try to eat local and enjoy good food here in Wisconsin, and a snack like this should rate us a gold star.

Summer Veggie Harvest

Saturday, August 16th, 2014
Summer Harvest

Summer Harvest

We spent an extra long weekend in Pittsburgh for the Garden Writers’ Conference, touring public and private gardens, learning what garden writers learn when they go to school, and connecting with old friends and making new ones.

When we came back last Tuesday the garden was bursting with produce. The big bowl above is just  a small portion of what we’ve harvested in the last couple of days. Of course, I had to make our favorite summer casserole which uses up a lot of what you see. Here’s a link to my post from 2 years ago, Ratatouille Hot Dish Casserole Bake with Potatoes.

This time I made it with 3 oz. of blue cheese. You don’t have to be a blue cheese fan to enjoy this yummy dish!

Garlic Scapes

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014
Garlic Scape Bouquet

Garlic Scape Bouquet

For years we grew soft neck garlic – because that’s what we got started with. It’s only been about the past 5 years that we switched to mainly hard neck types. We found a lot of different hard neck varieties at farmers’ markets and garlic festivals that looked intriguing, from small to huge, red to tan and mild to spicy.  Each garlic type has an individual flavor.  It’s been fun to grow the different types but we’re certainly not connoisseurs. When cooking I’d rather peel a couple of huge cloves than several little ones and not worry about the various flavors.

Hard neck garlic grows scapes. They’re a shoot that grows up from the top of the garlic neck and forms a flower and eventual seed head. In order for the bulbs to get bigger more energy will revert back to the bulb if the scape is removed. According to one garlic farmer I talked to, you let the scapes grow until one curl forms then cut it off. Of course, some of our garlic was past that stage, hence multiple curls in the picture above. And some of the garlic, probably a different type, barely seemed to curl at all so I probably let that one go too long before harvesting.

In years’ past I didn’t do anything with the scapes except salvage a few baby garlic cloves from the flower portion. Each year I’ve learned more ways to use them. The flower heads are removed and just the tender green portion of the stem is used by snapping the tougher and thicker end off like you would asparagus stalks.

I cooked with them 3 ways this year: (1) finely diced and cooked with a pot of rice (2) pan fried until crispy (3) garlic scape pesto

Lastly, I put a few in a flower vase which made a beautiful bouquet. They lasted over four weeks as a bouquet, but now the stems have faded and the flowers have gone to seed.  What I found very interesting is that the seed heads have continued to grow while in the vase into bigger ‘little’ garlic cloves. They can be tossed in a pot of soup or planted, though with the tiny cloves it’s a two-year process to get full sized bulbs – your choice!

Scape Flowers Gone to Seed

Scape Flowers Gone to Seed