Friday, August 5, 2011

This years garden

The weather has been crazy this year for the garden to say the least.  It was so wet in June my baby tomatoes that I grew from seed got early blight.  I had to strip them down to like two or three unaffected branches each, they looked so pathetic.  Then it go so hot for so long and last week 3 days of rain in a row again brought back the blight on the tomatoes.  I'm hoping to still have some but it certainly won't be the crop I was hoping for!
bucket of basil I picked

That stretch of warmth, besides being good for weed growing was great for the Basil!  I picked a bunch and made 5 batches of pesto for the freezer!  Ymm!

Logan especially loves the stuff.  We put it on crackers (his favorite way) and over bowtie pasta.  It's also great spread on a sandwich or burger bun but we typically don't have any left for that.

Here's the recipe I use which is a bit different than the traditional but we love it.

Pecan meal Pesto-
2 cups loosely packed Basil leaves
3/4 cup pecan meal
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (you could substitute Parmesan)
1/4 cup oil (sometimes need a tad more)
1 T. garlic crushed
Salt and Pepper to taste
I just put it all in my little kitchen aid chopper/processor and whirl it till the basil is all chopped.  It's kind of the consistency of a chunky natural peanut butter.  If it's not whirling well you may need to add another tsp. or so of oil but it is pretty "dry".  Enjoy!

While the tomatoes may be disappointing this year the green zucchini has done the best ever!  Last year my yellow zucchini did well but I only had maybe a dozen total green all year.  This year I haven't had a yellow yet (they keep starting and rotting) but I've had probably 20-30 green zucchini.  What in the world have we done with them you ask?  We grilled some, made lots into "mock apple crisp" both to eat and freeze (I may try to pressure can some later this way), a new recipe for zucchini pizza crust my friend gave me and I might make one or two batches of zucchini relish though we still have a couple left from last year.  Other years I've made "mock pineapple" which we like but I still have some left and last year we tried jello-jam which I personally didn't care for although the kids liked it "okay".

Now I really thought I'd given those recipes in my old blog before but guess not so I can't link them.  Here they are;

Mock Apple Crisp- (courtesy of my friend Trisha, thank you!)
Peel and slice 8 cups seeded zucchini (to look like apple wedges)
2/3 cup lemon juice
cook those in pan till tender then add,
1 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon (Trisha also adds nutmeg, I don't we don't like nutmeg)
Cook for 3 more minutes and set aside
Mix: 2 cups flower
        1 cup sugar
        1/2 tsp. cinnamon
        3/4 cup butter
        dash of salt
Add 1/2 cup of the crumb mix to the zucchini mix.  Place in 9X13 and sprinkle rest of crumb mix over the top.  Bake at 325 for 30 minutes.  This is yummy served with ice cream and unless you missed a little bit of the green peel or a seed no one every knows it's really zucchini!  Also, what I do is prepare the zucchini part and freeze in freezer bags for use in the winter then all I have to do is mix up the crumb topping.

Zucchini crust pizza (Thanks to my friend Lorie!)
4 cups finely shredded zucchini
3/4 cup of flour
3/4 cup of grated Parmesan
1/2 cup of mozzarella
2 eggs beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350, shred squash and lightly salt and strain for 15-30 minutes.  Press out the liquid.  Combine squash, flour, cheeses, eggs, salt and pepper, and mix well.  Spread unto a greased cookie sheet (I do two round pizza pans).  Bake for 25 minutes.  Top with favorite toppings and place back in the oven just to heat and melt cheese topping.

Now on this one I have to say the first time it turned out great.  The second time the crust was soggy.  I called my faithful fried Lorie and she said I probably didn't get enough water out of the zucchini.  So just a work of caution, get the zucchini REALLY dry.  I think it's got to be closer to the 30 minutes of draining and squeeze it out every so often during that time.  But if you get it right it's very yummy and even when it was a bit soggy it was still yummy!

Well I guess that's all for now.  I'll hopefully have some great pickle recipes for you later.  I've been searching for the perfect, CRISP, dill pickle and have tried several recipes for my dill pickle loving girl Lexie.  She comes home from camp tomorrow and it will be two weeks so we can test them to celebrate her home coming!  I'll let you know if my searching and canning proved successful!  I'm hoping...

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