Saturday, August 11, 2012

Cooking from the Garden

This time of year can be a little overwhelming for vegetable gardeners as the harvest rolls in.  There is only so much room in the refrigerator drawer, and I find myself scrambling to use the fresh stuff before it grows mold. Here are a few ways I'm managing. 

Zucchini Pizza Crust
Jackie in plot #38 in our community garden told me this recipe (thanks, Jackie!), and I tweaked it a bit with the baking powder.  Sneak some green veg into the always popular pizza!  The end result has a somewhat chewy texture similar to foccacia.

2 t. baking powder
3 c. flour
3 c. grated zucchini
3 eggs, lightly beaten

zucchini pizza dough
Sift baking powder and flour together.   Combine eggs and zucchini.  Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients, stirring to combine until a soft dough is formed.  Add more flour if the dough seems too loose.

Ready for toppings
Spread dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake until golden brown.   Remove from oven and add toppings, then bake until toppings reach desired doneness. Cold toppings like spreads and fresh tomatoes can also be added.

Swiss Chard Chips 
Both kale and swiss chard can be quickly dehydrated in the oven and made into crispy chips.   I’ve read recipes with longer cooking times at 200 degrees, but I see no reason to have my oven on for an hour in the summer if I can get away with baking for 10 minutes with the same results.   I’m harvesting lots of chard right now, and the kids need to eat something other than cereal and ice pops.  These greens both have a gently bitter taste and are loaded with calcium and other nutrients.  They're a good way to introduce kids to these flavors, since they'll try anything called a "chip."

I bunch of fresh kale or swiss chard (at least a dozen leaves)
1 T. olive oil
1 t. salt or seasoning blend

Preheat oven to 350.  Wash and dry the swiss chard leaves.  Tear the leaves away from the rib, into pieces about the size of the palm of your hand.  Toss the leaves with olive oil until shiny.   Spread the leaves on a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake for 7 – 10 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning.    (It may look like the chips are sticking to the cookie sheet – they’re not! They’ll come up easily once they’re crisped)  Chips will be a dark greenish-brown.  

Remove from cookie sheet and sprinkle with seasoning.  They can be stored in an airtight container, but the sooner they’re eaten, the crispier they’ll be.

disregard random child
Grandma Lucy’s Tomato Sandwich          
Grandma Lucy taught me how to make this simple but incomparable sandwich.  She’d often have it for breakfast or lunch  when we visited her in Ohio in the summertime. There is nothing like Ohio sweet corn and tomatoes at the height of summer!  Some things about this sandwich are negotiable.  For example, you could use Miracle Whip (ew!) in place of mayo – Grandma Lucy did.   You can use any spice blend you like, such as Old Bay, Tony Chachere’s or Goya Adobo (I like the lemon/pepper with the yellow cap), though Lawry’s Seasoned Salt is the original mix.   But you MUST use juicy ripe tomatoes at their peak and wheat toast, though if you want to use bread that doesn’t come out of a plastic bag, that’s certainly understandable.

One ripe medium-sized tomato, sliced
Two slices of wheat sandwich bread
¼ t. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 t. mayonnaise

Toast the bread to it’s desired darkness.  Spread one side of the toasted bread with mayonnaise.  Add two tiers of tomato slices on top of the mayonnaise, then sprinkle with seasoning.  Top with remaining slice of bread.

What are you making with your garden harvests?

Garden Pie (follow link to left for recipe)
More Summer Garden Recipes


Pam J. said...

That zucchini pizza crust is now on tonight's dinner menu. I only have one little zucchini but if I adjust the amounts I can make a little side-dish pie. Gonna top it with pesto that my neighbor made just 2 hours ago using my basil. Maybe dinner will be early b/c I'm ready to make it now. As in *now*.

catmint said...

dear J, simple and wonderful recipes. My fave that I'm dying to try as soon as I acquire some kale or chard is the chips. I'll dutifully offer it to the (grand)kids, but if they don't eat them I'm sure I will love them.

Duncan said...

Set a place at your dinner table for me. I'm coming over! It all sounds SO yummy.

Liz said...

Wow.. Lawry's! Great idea!

k said...

I had Grandma Lucy's tomato sandwich for lunch today, although I forgot the part about toasting it. Pretty wonderful.