Casaubon's Book

Days of Zucchini and Tomatoes!

When the heat wave finally broke this week, I found myself dying to cook again. After days of it being too damn hot to cook – and too hot to eat anything that had been cooked, when salad and corn on the cob were the extent of my culinary ambitions, food appealed again.

This is good, because the list of things you can do with raw zucchini is somewhat limited and we had reached the “For the love of god, someone, please cook something with these damned zucchini” stage. So we did. And with the tomatoes, the blueberries, the eggplant, the kale, etc….

Zucchini make wonderful dried zucchini chips – just slice thin, dehydrate and then toss with a spice mixture of choice. We grilled some, and sauteed some with tomatoes and zaatar spice mix. I sliced some up for bread-and-butter zucchini pickles. We also made chocolate-cherry-zucchini bread, which is not exactly healthy, but is fabulous.

3 cups grated zucchini
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup cocoa
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup dried cherries (or any other dried fruit you’ve got lying around)

Mix the dry stuff together and the wet stuff together. Combine. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 375 until a tester comes out dry, about 35 minutes.

For dinner on those really hot days, we drown in tomatoes and corn, and have a favorite dinner we call “corn and salsa” – it isn’t really a salsa, more like a salad, but that’s its name. The corn is just briefly boiled – a minute or more, and needs no adornment. The salsa is made with lots of ripe tomatoes, black beans and sweet onions. Then add a lot of lemon juice (lime is fine too), salt and a bit of sugar to balance the acidity, and some canned chipotles in adobo or dried chipotle powder, also to taste. Serve with a giant salad and eat by the bowlful. My kids can eat their weight in this meal! It is really nice with cilantro as well, but Eric doesn’t like the stuff, so I forget to add it for my own.

Once it cools off more, we’ll probably eat another favorite tomato dish more often – it is particularly wonderful with the late, slightly watery tomatoes you get after summer’s peak. We had it for the first time the other night, though, and ti was great. Please try not to hold against it the fact that we have given this the rather unappetizing name “tomato goop” at our house. Feel free to give it a better name, like “tomatoes a la goop” if that will please you more ;-).

This consists of a whole bunch of sliced tomatoes in a pan, layered with basil and garlic. Then add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, any spices you like, bread crumbs, and if you want, cheese. I like goat cheese crumbled on top, or parmesan sprinkled over the breadcrumbs, but do as you like. Bake at 400 until juicy and golden and serve over homemade bread.

We harvested the apricots on our trees this year – not enough to bother preserving, the kids (and the adults) ate a ton of them fresh, and then they were made into blueberry-apricot-almond crisp. A layer of sliced apricots, a quart of blueberries, a little lemon and sweetener if you like, and a streusel of brown sugar, rolled oats, almonds, a bit of flour, a little oil and almond extract. How bad could that be?

That’s the great glory of this time of year – the food is so lush it doesn’t need much – but gilding the lily has its pleasures.

So what are you eating right now?

Sharon

Comments

  1. #1 scott
    July 29, 2011

    Tuna fish sammich.

  2. #2 scott
    July 29, 2011

    Tuna fish sammich. With tomato of course.

  3. Pad see ew with homegrown garlic, shallots, piracicaba and egg, to go with the boughten rice noodles, cilantro, soy sauce and fish sauce. I could eat this stuff everyday if the piracicaba supply held out. It takes only a few minutes of stovetop cooking to prepare the dish, so I’m making it a lot these days. Next week I’m sure it’ll be tomato-basil sandwiches every. single. day. Can’t wait!

  4. #4 knutty knitter
    July 29, 2011

    Add a couple of lightly beaten eggs to the goop and you have our version – tomato vomit :) Also delicious!

    viv in nz

  5. #5 heather
    July 30, 2011

    Gee, and I thought our food names were strange; we have “stuff”, and ‘sgoodforya, but i think the best came about while serving up an invention to use up x,y,&z, to a chorus of ‘but what is it?’ ‘what’s it called’ and in exasperation, having tried to explain that it didn’t have a name cos I just made it up, I said that they could name it….vigorous discussion followed, and I was leaning towards ‘the dish which has no name’, when our 4yo announced, suddenly and firmly, that we should call it….Bob. Who could resist?

  6. #6 Amy W
    July 30, 2011

    Israeli salad: tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, a little onion, lemon juice and olive oil. Make it a few hours in advance of the meal for the lemon juice and olive oil to work their magic!

    We’ve also been eating a lot of green beans and purple hull peas and the early potatoes that were dug in late June.

  7. #7 Claire
    July 30, 2011

    Why does everyone else drown in zucchini, while all I’ve gotten so far this summer is one zucchini from 3 plants? Past summers haven’t been any better. Sharon, what variety are you growing?

    We’re eating newly harvested potatoes, the last of this summer’s cabbage, a little broccoli, and the first tomatoes. We’d have had tomatoes long before this, but I didn’t get the plants in the ground till early June. My DH just started a batch of pickles.

  8. #8 Lorna
    July 31, 2011

    We’re enjoying lots of grilled corn, grilled zucchini with just a little olive oil brushed on before grilling, and potato salad and cole slaw. We’re still waiting for our tomatoes which I planted late due to the cold weather. When they come we’ll be drowning in them and I’m going to make this great recipe which I found last summer. It really is wonderful and so easy; I’ve been anticipating it for months: http://www.salon.com/food/francis_lam/2010/07/30/summer_tomato_pasta/index.html

  9. #9 Lorna
    July 31, 2011

    Forgot to say that I always add basil to the recipe I posted above. Makes it even better.

  10. #10 Lisa
    August 1, 2011

    Right now we’ve been eating kale chips – a new favorite. Lots of kohlrabi – I finally DID plant enough. Last night’s meal was grilled veggies – three types of summer squash, bell pepper, garlic scapes, spring onion, green beans, some quartered roma type tomatoes – served over solar oven-cooked rice. Mmmmmmmmmm. We’ve had three different kinds of potato/green bean salads in the past week. Oh, the eatin’s good!

  11. #11 NM
    August 5, 2011

    Green salads, broccoli, early corn on the cob,chard calzone, pizza with kale,kale sauteed with onions and eggs, home fries with broccoli, marionberry cobbler, ripe peaches, berry fruit salads. Delicious time of year …
    No ripe tomatoes in the garden yet, but there are some at the farmers market.

  12. #12 Icarus
    August 12, 2011

    Hi folks – my first time commenting, as I haven’t been reading this blog for very long.

    I live with my wife and 3 teenage kids on the south coast of England, in a small-ish 3 bedroom terraced house, with a garden about 6m x 12m (20′ x 40′). We’re trying to move house, to somewhere with a larger garden, but having no luck so far.

    I’ve been itching to grow some food for a while now, but it didn’t seem worth bothering as we didn’t know how long we were going to be there. Well, a couple of months ago I realised that I might as well just put something in the ground and see what happened, so I disemboweled a couple of supermarket cherry tomatoes and started growing plants from the seeds. I bought a cheap packet of ‘mixed salad leaves’ seeds and sowed those in my one solitary flower bed. I liberated six slightly sad jacket potatoes from the vegetable drawer, which had already started sprouting white shoots, and gave them a new life six inches under.

    Well the salad stuff grew well, but only the red lettuce was really edible – the rest was too bitter. I did have lots of bowls of salad using the lettuce though, for a few weeks. Now the tomato plants that I put in the same flower bed as little seedlings have grown into a great forest of sturdy-looking plants and have started producing tomatoes, though they are still green and a little too small as yet. I’m hoping for another couple of months of half-decent weather so that I can get some worthwhile quantities of tomatoes from them. I planted the seedlings a few inches apart and haven’t picked out any of the new branches so I have this big thriving healthy-looking mass of plants rather than spindly plants in orderly rows – I think it’s probably better that way.

    The potato plants grew massively and I’ve been enjoying my crop of delicious potatoes for several weeks now, ‘furtling’ them up rather than digging, to try to avoid damaging any. For two minutes’ work of shoving six potatoes in the ground, with no particular hope of anything coming of it, I’m pretty pleased with the results. I’m sure with a bit more knowledge I’d get a better crop and have them keep going for longer.

    So now it’s August and we’re still in the house, still don’t know how long we’re going to be here, and the potato plants are probably about finished… so what can I plant in their place? I like the idea of something perennial – maybe some kind of climbing fruit, or a very small tree, but we may not benefit from it if we do move soon. What is worth planting in August – anything? Thanks for any suggestions!

    Nice blog, very interesting, cheers…
    John.