First Zucchini

I harvested my first zucchini (zucchino?) yesterday and turned it into a roasted vegetable goat cheese pizza. I roasted broccolini, red bell pepper, red onion, Brussels sprouts and zucchini, and spread those on a garlic bechamel. Topped it all with goat cheese and fresh mozzarella. (Recipe from the cookbook Eat Delicious). The pictures do not do it justice. It was delicious!

June Harvests

Earlier this week I harvested my garlic scapes and turned them into garlic scape pesto. I (loosely) used this recipe, but omitted the cheese as I plan to also use the pesto on fish or for other purposes where cheese might not work. I am loving the sunflower seeds in the pesto. They made it super creamy and tasty. As always, I froze the pesto in ice cube trays and transferred the frozen cubes into Ziploc bags for storage.

Last leeks plus rhubarb

I also had several harvests of rhubarb, all of which were turned into strawberry-rhubarb compote to go over vanilla ice cream. The rhubarb plant is still young, so I did not want to over-harvest, but I got quite a good amount of stalks.

Peas 🙁

This is the first year that I did not get to harvest a single pea. I was very successful in protecting the peas from the rabbits by fencing them in, but they sadly were no match for the birds. I ripped out all plants this week. I will need to think about what I want to plant there now. Beans? Beets or carrots? More greens?

Sowing, Staking and First Harvests

This morning, I sowed more flowers in my flower patch (Zinnias Queen Lime Blush and Queen Lime Red, and Cosmos Rubinato and Sensation mix) plus nasturtium (all over the plot) as well as a row of Golden beets. I also staked all my eleven tomato plants. I noticed that one (Black Prince) had a broken stem. It looked like it was cut in half. I will replace it with a new Black Prince seedling that I still have on my back porch. Luckily I had started two seedlings for each variety, and all germinated. A few days ago, I harvested a few of my overwintered leeks (which I roasted for dinner last night together with carrots, Brussels sprouts and potatoes and served with a bright Chimichurri) and some rhubarb (which I turned into a strawberry rhubarb compote and enjoyed over vanilla ice cream). I need to harvest the remaining leeks soon to prevent them from flowering.

Nicely sized overwintered leeks

Last Squash

Today, I used up the last butternut squash from the fall. I made a rose harissa-roasted squash salad with greens, toasted pumpkin seeds and blue cheese (because I did not have feta on hand) in a white balsamic vinegar dressing. It turned out pretty spectacular.

My last squash, harvested on October 31, 2023
Looking good for having spent the last five months in my back hall way
Last soft-neck garlic

As for home-grown vegetables from last year, I still have garlic hanging in the pantry and a few beets in the fridge. In the freezer, there is still basil pesto, lemongrass, Thai basil, and Thai peppers. I used some of the lemon grass last week to make this lemongrass chicken dinner. Very good. It is nice to still enjoy some produce from the garden while this year’s harvest is starting its journey in the seedling trays.

Fall Sandwiches with Fresh and Pickled Garden Vegetables

October 23. “Farmers Lunch” sandwich: arugula, Granny Smith apple, sharp cheddar, home-made pickled green tomatoes and grainy mustard on home-made onion focaccia.
September 19. Using up one of the last big (Striped German) heirloom tomatoes: Caprese sandwich with garlic chili mayo.
October 29. Burger with arugula, beef patty, home-made refrigerator pickles, heirloom tomato and red onion on brioche bun.
Same burger before assembly
October 12. Zucchini grilled cheese with Gruyere, made with frozen grated and drained raw zucchini. Freezing the grated zucchini draws out extra moisture making it more flavorful (picture form July).

Pickled Green Tomatoes

I picked the last of my tomatoes today – a handful of green Ailsa Craig. All my tomato plants are done for the season now. I picked one last larger tomato (a Dr. Wyche’s Yellow), that will ripen on the counter. I turned the green ones into a small batch of pickled green tomatoes. Those are so good on sandwiches (with sharp cheddar, apple slices and coarse mustard, inspired by City Feed’s Farmers Lunch sandwich).

Basil “Pesto”

I had harvested a ton of basil from my garden two days ago but only this morning found the time to turn it into pesto. Some of the leaves had wilted a bit, but overall, storing the basil wrapped in dry paper towels in a produce bag in the fridge worked very well. I just washed the leaves and dried them well and then processed them with olive oil and salt using my stick blender. As usual, I did not add garlic, cheese or nuts to my “pesto”. I find it more versatile this way. And it also keeps better in the freezer.

Washed and dried, ready for processing
Topped with a bit more olive oil – ready for the freezer. Once frozen, I will transfer the cubes to a zip-lock bag.