Thursday, August 23, 2012

Zucchini Soup

I've been trying really hard to use all the produce from the garden. But when all those zucchini come and become the size of a baseball bat overnight, it's hard to figure out what to do with them all. Last week I made zucchini fritters and I made a crock pot zucchini lasagna earlier this week. I finally had to leave some in the garden because I couldn't keep up with them and their crook neck counter parts that are also growing out of control.
Crook neck from our garden and one patty pan from a friend's garden.

What inspired me for this zucchini soup recipe was G's simplistic broccoli soup. He only uses boiled broccoli, the water you boil it in, and some salt. He blends it up to create a deceptively delicious soup. You would swear he used vegetable broth or something to get the different levels of flavor.  I use one humongous zucchini and one crook neck for this recipe. But after pitching the idea to G, he convinced me that since zucchini get a little less flavorful the bigger they get, that I should make this soup with a tad more ingredients. 

Zucchini Soup

1 large zucchini
1 large crook neck or other summer squash of your choosing
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 shallot, sliced
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 Tbs Bragg's liquid aminos
1 tsp tapatio or other hot sauce, plus more for garnish
1 Tbs olive oil
fresh ground black pepper

1. In a large stock pot over medium heat, add olive oil, shallot, and garlic. Cook until softened about 5 minutes.

2. While the garlic mixture is cooking, wash and quarter length wise both squash. Cut out the large seeds if using large squash because they have become too tough. Roughly chop the squash into 1 inch chunks and add to pot.

3. Add in the broth, water, Bragg's, and 1 tsp of tapatio. Cover and increase heat to medium high, letting it boil for about 30 minutes.

4. When all squash is tender, move to blender and liquefy. Be careful to hold the lid on tight with a towel, despite my best efforts some still spouted out. Taste and add salt to your liking.

5. Dish and garnish with fresh cracked black pepper and more hot sauce.

I haven't tried this dish chilled yet. But I have a feeling it will be really nice on hot days sitting in the garden. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Plum crisp

Our good friend D gave us basically a case of plums. I'm not sure what G did with his, but I made mine into an impromptu breakfast crisp. I did this all last year with whatever stone fruit I could get my hands on. I change the ingredients and amounts for the topping every time I make it, so feel free to just experiment. They all taste good no matter what you do.

Plum Crisp
Flour of your choice (I used brown rice flour)
Honey (you can also add brown sugar if you need more sweetness)
Oil of your choice

1. Slice as many plums as you want and place in baking dish.

2. In a separate bowl combine oats (as much as you think you need to top the plums), enough flour to coat the oats, and a teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Throw in a pinch of salt for good measure. Add in as much honey as you want to the dry mixture, dependent on how sweet you like it, I probably added about 1/4 cup (this would also be the time to add in the brown sugar if you're using it). Then add in enough oil to the mixture so that it gets a little clumpy and everything looks moist. I used coconut oil.

3. Pour mixture over plums and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.
I forgot to take a picture straight from the oven, so here it is almost completely eaten.

I really like letting the fruit play the main roll in this dish, the plums were sweet and tart so I didn't want to over power that with too much sugar. This is hands down my favorite summer breakfast.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Today (and a potato recipe)

The garden was so full today, just begging to be harvested.  There are a ton of squash waiting to be picked and I got some delicious cucumbers that have been going nicely on my salads.  I tried to pull up the biggest looking carrot, but it turned out to be tiny so maybe they're not ready yet. There are more beets than I know what to do with, especially because it's so hot out, there's no way I'm turning on the oven or stove long enough to cook them. But the purple potatoes! They were so amazing to upturn, cook, and eat.  I looked up a recipe for just sauteing potatoes and found quite the gem. This recipe calls for leaving the garlic skin on which after it's finished, tastes like you roasted garlic in the oven for an hour. Amazing.

(This recipe is for whatever amounts you want, so improvise!)

Simple Sauteed Garlic Potatoes

Potatoes (new, purple, red, fingerling, whatever variety strikes you)
Cloves of garlic unpeeled
Olive oil

1. Chop the potatoes into inch chunks. 
2. Pour about 3 Tbs olive oil into skillet and heat on medium. Add in potatoes in a single layer, cover and cook 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until they start to brown.
3. Add in garlic cloves unpeeled, turn down heat to low, and cook covered for 7-10 minutes. You can add more oil if things start to stick.
4. Remove garlic, smash, remove and discard skin, then replace garlic back with potatoes. Cook a few more minutes until everything is cooked through and browned.
5. Season with salt and pepper.

Potatoes starting to cook.

The finished product, sooo delicious.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

French Onion Soup Tartines

Yesterday our good friend gave us more plums than I can count. They reminded me that last year I used to make a breakfast stone fruit crisp almost every day for 3 weeks; that will definitely have to be reinstated. Today was the farmer's market and honestly, none of the food was calling to me. There were some purple string beans that looked interesting, but nothing that really caught my eye.  So I'm not sure what recipe I'm going to try next. We will have to wait and see.

I hope you love onions and much as I do.

This recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Times:

French Onion Soup Tartines

2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 medium sweet onion, quartered and sliced
1 medium red onion, quartered and sliced
3 small yellow onions, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
2 Tbs dry white wine
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 tsp honey
1 sprig fresh thyme
4 large slices of country bread (I used gluten free bread, toasted)

1. Heat 1Tbs oil in saucepan over medium heat. (I used my dutch oven because I needed something big to hold everything.) Add sweet onion and red onion, cover, and cook until onions begin to brown. This took me 30 minutes.

2. Heat remaining 1Tbs oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add yellow onion slices, and cook 5 minutes on each side, or until browned. Transfer to plate.

3. Add wine to sweet and red onion mixture and cook 1 to 2 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in broth, honey, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Partially cover, and simmer 10 to 20 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated.

4. Toast the bread and top first with the onion mixture then the onion slices. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Wild rice cookies

Well, I know I said I would post the wild rice cookie recipe soon, the one that was in the oven during my last post. But honestly, they weren't that good. They almost chipped my tooth the second day. I didn't really think about it, but if you leave rice out it gets hard, even if you have it in an air tight container. I froze some though, so I'll see if putting them in the oven or microwave (gasp) to thaw brings them back to a tooth friendly density. They didn't taste that bad I guess. My boyfriend and other gluten-free friend enjoyed them. I just wasn't as convinced. I feel like I rarely bake anything that comes out mediocre, so this was disappointing for me. But it's time to move on! I already have a plan for a much better cooked grain recipe, quinoa muffins. "G" my boyfriend made muffins the other day with cooked quinoa in them and I am going to fidget with the recipe to make it gf. 

I'm going to be going back to school! Not for myself though. I am going to be an aid for a child 5 hours 5 days a week and I need to bring a lunch. I haven't thought about packing lunch in many years and I think it might be fun. I used to take lentil soup all the time to school when I packed my lunch as a kid, I think I'll need to get one of those soup thermoses again. I never thought I would need one of those. Maybe I'll get one with princesses on it for the fun of it, at least one that is sparkly. What I really need is a bunch of homemade baked goods that I can throw in the freezer for those days I just don't feel like waking up early to pack my lunch.  So, that's where my mind is at these days. What's your favorite lunch box lunch?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Roasted Fennel Bulbs

This past week has been pretty hectic and trying to find time to write a post has been difficult.  I made this dinner a few days ago, but haven't had the time to share it. It has been fun though, going through the pile and looking for things that are in season to make.  Right now there are wild rice cookies in the oven that I will post another day. But today I want to tell you about the roasted fennel bulbs I made!

I've never been a huge fan of the fennel/anise flavor. So I knew this was going to be an interesting dinner and that I may need to make a second one in case this didn't taste good. But I was pleasantly surprised, this was soooo good! I think the roasting really tamed the fennel flavor and made it really enjoyable. It had almost a bok choy texture with much more flavor. With it I made a wilted beet green salad with pine nuts.  I accidentally used way too much oil with the wilted greens, so be careful with your pour. Luckily the orange segments seemed to clean the palate between bites. 

Both of these recipes are adapted from Vegetarian Times Magazine: 

Roasted Fennel

2 Tbs olive oil (I used coconut oil and it still tasted great)
4 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 medium fennel bulbs, quartered

1. Preheat oven to 350F. (They recommended almost 100 above that but I found it started to smoke and burn too quickly.) Coat baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Blend oil, garlic, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper until smooth. Toss fennel with oil mixture.
3. Place fennel on baking sheet and roast 35 to 40 minutes.

Optional: They suggested adding in Parmesan and tossing it with the fennel before roasting. 

Wilted Beet Greens with Pine Nuts

1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 large shallot, peeled and sliced
2 Tbs olive oil
1 orange
1 bunch of beet greens, cut into 2 inch strips (I only used 1 beet from the garden for this)

1. Place pine nuts, garlic slices, shallot slices, and olive oil in small skillet, and cook over low heat 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
2. Separate orange into slices and cut into chunks. 
3. Stir in beet greens in the skillet for 1-2 minutes, until beet greens are wilted. Plate it up and top with the orange segments.