Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I won!

Actually, I got first place in the cherry tomato division of the Farm and Garden competition at the OC fair. It's my first placing at the county fair! Sadly the day to pick up my ribbon was this morning from 7am to 9am and I didn't hear about my placing until this afternoon. :( I don't even have a picture of the tomatoes because we completely forgot to visit the farm and garden competition display and take one. They go off display as of today and are now property of the OC fair to probably throw away, including my ribbon! There is one more pick up day for the next round in the competition, so maybe I'll go and see if they still have it. I hope! I entered a new variety of cherry tomato just sold this season from Burpee called "Black Pearl". Not as tasty as I'd hoped, but they do look quite striking. I have more than I know what to do with, so I think I will try to sun dry some of them, or maybe freezing. I could even make jam out of them! I wonder how that would taste. Hmmm.

Speaking of too much produce, I also have tons of zucchini (surprise). And since many of my readers are in Utah, I know you have extra zucchini too (or will soon). So with that in mind, here are my best zucchini recipes! Enjoy!

The best cake recipe I've found is in the Richey family cookbook "Nearer Home" on page 273, 'Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake' (for those of you who have it). There are also tons of zucchini bread recipes in that cookbook on pages 208-210. But the very best zucchini bread I've made is from the "Best Ever Banana Bread" recipe below, just substituting 2 cups of shredded zucchini for the bananas.

For something more main-dishy, I really like my mom's 'Zucchini Boats' (see below). And I just discovered a zucchini recipe that my boys, who WILL NOT eat zucchini, actually like! It's a zucchini pancake recipe, though I like to call them "Zucchini Patties" to avoid confusion.

I am also in the process of trying 'Quick Zucchini Pickles'. They are like the familiar cucumbers in vinegar water we all know.

Even with all these recipes at my disposal, I still have to give some of my zucchini and summer squash away! And unlike most Utahans I actually try to pick my zucchini while they are still small! However, since the zucchini are the same color as the leaves they are sometimes hard to spot, so often I am surprised by a giant after I thought I had picked them all! They are VERY prolific plants! I'll have to check into preserving them. Then I can have zucchini bread all winter!

Happy to have a garden,

================================================================= Best Ever Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Mix sour cream and soda in a separate bowl; let stand until foamy. Add vanilla, bananas, salt and flour; mix well.Place in 2 greased, floured 9x5x3"loaf pans or one bundt pan. Bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Freezes well. ================================================================== Zucchini Boats

Cut in half lengthwise:
4 medium zucchini

Scoop out pulp, reserving:
1 cup pulp

Place zucchini cut side down in a large casserole dish with:
1/2 cup water

Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes, or until zucchini becomes slightly tender

Mix in separate bowl:
Reserved pulp
1/2 lb. ground sausage, cooked
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup saltine crackers, crushed
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
Some of your favorite herb, fresh or dried
1 clove minced garlic

Drain water from zucchini and place cut side up in casserole dish. Spoon mixture from bowl into the boats. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serves 4 to 8. ================================================================== Zucchini Patties

Shred on the large holes of a grater:
2 1/2 lbs. green or golden zucchini

Sprinkle lightly with:

Mix together in a bowl:
2 large eggs
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (or medium firm tofu)
1/2 cup dry unseasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup flour
1 bunch scallions, slivered
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
Salt and pepper to taste

Quickly rinse the squash, then, using your hands or a towel, squeeze out the excess liquid. Add the squash to the batter.

Heat in a large skillet:
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Drop in the batter, using 1/4 cup for 4-inch cake. (Flatten if needed). Fry over medium heat until golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn and brown the second side (I like to sprinkle them with cheese here). Keep the fried patties warm in the oven while you fry the remaining batter, adding more oil if needed. ================================================================== Quick Zucchini Pickles

Cut zucchini in thin slices and place in a colander. Salt generously, rubbing the salt into both sides of the zucchini. Let it drain over a sink for 30 minutes, squeezing the excess water out every few minutes. Rinse well in cold water. Transfer to a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 Tbsp dried dill, and enough water to cover. Refrigerate for an hour. Enjoy! ===================================================================

Monday, July 10, 2006

Thank You!

I'm participating in the One Skein secret pal exchange and I got my first skein over the weekend. I love it! It's 100% organic cotton, so smooth and soft, and in pink! Gorgeous! So I just want to say a big thank you to my secret pal!

This past weekend we also went to the OC Fair. We went on opening day because parking and admission were free between 12 and 1pm. It was fun, but crowded. We went with out friend Vicky and her 2yo son. And I got to take some pictures of my crochet entries (I found my camera). They weren't displayed very well, and my picture taking abilities leave something to be desired, but here they are anyway.

I've got 4 free tickets to the Fair!