Friday, September 5, 2014
Summer Garden Meals
There is something magical about planting a tiny seed in the ground and watching it turn into a plant that produces food to feed the family. Often times a garden just supplements what we buy from the grocery store, so it is always extra rewarding when we can create a meal that was entirely (almost entirely) grown at home. Here are some of my favorites from this summer.
i rarely use recipes, i just sort of throw things together without measuring anything. So i'll give you a description of each meal, link to the recipe if i've posted one or link to a similar recipe if i haven't for those of you that prefer recipes with exact amounts.
1. Raw zucchini noodles with pesto and fresh tomato
This makes a really great light lunch. i used a carrot peeler to create raw zucchini noodles, you can also use a veggie spiraler. Mix the noodles with a bit of homemade pesto. i topped it with fresh diced tomatoes and a sprinkle of parmesan and pine nuts. If you don't have pesto, an alternative to this recipe is to dice a fresh tomato, add diced garlic and shredded basil then drizzle olive oil over it. Mix well and and top the raw zucchini noodles with it. Then add a sprinkle of feta or homemade goat cheese if you have some or leave the cheese off if you prefer.
2. Garden Veggie Frittata and Mock apple pie.
Click on the links above for the recipes. Our chickens provide us with lots of fresh eggs, so i love recipes that use garden produce and eggs. You can make your frittata using many different garden veggies. In the spring i like to make them with spinach, swiss chard, morel mushrooms and asparagus, while summer frittatas tend to have lots of squash and tomatoes in them. You can create them with what ever garden veggies you have on hand. The mock apple pie, doesn't fit as an entirely homegrown meal, but it was in my frittata picture so i included it anyway.It's always a good recipe for using up those giant zucchini.
3. Sauteed squash with onion, garlic and cherry tomatoes. This is a simple and delicious meal. i included a similar recipe. All i do is heat up some olive oil and add diced garlic, sliced summer squash and zucchini . Saute about 5min-10min. you want your squash to be tender crisp, not soft and slimy. Add some shredded basil and cherry or grape tomatoes and heat another minute or two so the tomatoes are heated through. Then sprinkle with goat cheese, feta or parmesan if you like. Salt and pepper to taste.
4. Bruschetta topped with heirloom tomatoes and goat cheese. Here is an official recipe for bruschetta if you need one. All i do is take some sliced french bread, brush with olive oil and put under the broiler until it's lightly toasted on both sides. You really have to watch it, it browns quickly. For the topping dice a couple tomatoes and place in a bowl. Add minced garlic and a handful of shredded basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and let sit a few minutes while the bread is toasting. Then spoon the tomato mix onto the bread and sprinkle with goat cheese, feta or whatever you like. Place under the broiler again, and heat just another minute or two being careful not to let the bread get too brown.
5. Garden Veggie Hash This is favorite with breakfast dinner. Multi colored potatoes, peppers, squash, onion and garlic pan fried in a cast iron skillet and seasoned with salt and pepper. We usually serve it with scrambled eggs or omelets.
6. Rainbow Veggie Bake
This is both beautiful and delicious. All you do is dice onion and garlic, cook in olive oil till soft then pour in a 8x8 casserole or glass pie pan. Make sure the bottom of the dish is covered well with the oil mix. Then slice potatoes, squash and tomatoes and place them in the dish like this. add salt pepper, rosemary, italian seasoning etc. Drizzle with olive oil cover with tin foil and bake 30 min. remove foil, sprinkle with parmesan and italian cheese and bake another 15-20min. until potatoes are tender. i used purple and red potatoes, zucchini and yellow squash, pink, yellow and purple tomatoes to give it lots of color.
You can layer your veggies in a spiral in a round baking dish/pie pan or make rows in a square 8x8 casserole dish. Both have a beautiful presentation and taste fabulous either way.
7. Ratatouille This is a perfect fresh garden meal. Everything came from the garden except the olive oil, salt and pepper. If you follow the link there is a recipe for ratatouille. When i make it i don't measure anything, i just chop a bunch of veggies and throw them all together.
8. Caprese salad with balsamic vinegar reduction
This is another really easy and delicious meal. All that is in this is fresh tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar. If you want to use fresh mozzarella you can learn how to make it here. For the balsamic vinegar reduction i used about 1/2 cup vinegar, and simmered it on med heat until it had reduced to about 2 tbsp and was thick, but still pourable. You can add a little honey if you prefer it sweeter. Let it cool while you slice the tomatoes.
i used pink, purple and yellow tomatoes because i love color. Slice your tomatoes and mozzarella cheese into 1/4" slices and arrange them on your plate by alternate between the different colors and the mozzarella cheese, like above. Then add a handful of shredded basil, salt and peppers and drizzle the balsamic vinegar reduction over the top. Serve immediately.
These were just a few of my favorite garden recipes this summer. i hope you enjoy them!