Zucchini is taking over my life (with squash in a close 2nd). This summer, zucchini has been harvested early and often. Although we harvest a bunch at one time, it has averaged one a day. Ironically I couldn’t find one zucchini last year. We didn’t grow any nor did I see them at the farmer’s market. I suppose we’re making up for lost time this summer. My thoughts and research are consumed with zucchini and different ways to cook and eat it. I refuse to waste any of it and giving it all away is just too easy at this point.
I’ve challenged us to eat zucchini at least twice daily. And you know what? It hasn’t been as difficult as I thought. There is the obvious choice: Grilled Zucchini.
And the most pleasing choice: Zucchini Bread… and muffins… and mini muffins. We’ve had our share but I’ve also found healthier ways to utilize the harvest.
Last week, I made zucchini soup. Yes, soup! It was very tasty as a gazpacho as well. Unfortunately I do not have a formal recipe to share as this is a work in progress but I can explain the process. Almost all of our zucchini goes through the food processor for shredding, aside from those that we slice up and grill. I used about 4 cups of shredded zucchini for our soup. After sauteing onion and garlic in a large pot, I added the zucchini and 2-3 cups of water to boil. Plus all of the fresh herbs I could get my hands on. Namely, basil. About 2 cups. Plus oregano, marjoram and chives all snipped fresh from the garden. I seasoned with salt & cayenne pepper. I reduce to a simmer and used my immersion blend to puree the combination. We ate it just like that but decided the smooth soup would make a great base for shrimp. Next time! There will definitely be a next time to continue to tweak zucchini soup.
We also tried juicing zucchini which I am not a big fan of on its own. It tastes like, well, zucchini water. But with the addition of lemons, it was much sweeter. Zucchini-ade anyone?
I’ve found the easiest way to use up all of the zucchini is in smoothies! I fill the blender with the shredded zucchini as a base for the smoothie. I’ve cut out yogurt and banana completely so this smoothie is lower in fat than our usual. Once the zucchini is blended, I added in berries which completely dominate in flavor. As an added bonus, I’ve been blending fresh mint from the garden as well. When blended, like in the soup, zucchini takes on a creamy texture.
Summer tastes so good! What is your favorite zucchini recipe?
I’m usually that girl who plants mums in August and has pumpkins out for Labor Day. This year, however, I have been reluctant to say goodbye to summer. I’m simply not going to do it ’til summer is really over. At the end of September.
But I can’t deny the crisp air and winding down humidity so I have been thinking about switching out my seasonal decor and introducing some late summer favorites. I love this time of year at the farmer’s market. The colors, textures and pickins’ are in abundance. Not only do I want to eat the season’s harvest but I want to decorate with it!
Here are a few decorating ideas that will bring the changing season in without breaking your budget. If you’re lucky, you might already have these crops growing in your own backyard garden. If not, you know where to go!
Indian Corn Wreath: Husks of Indian corn aren’t just for the lamp-post. Pick up clusters of mini Indian corn which show a variety of colors. Attach them to a wire form and you have yourself a new wreath plus a squirrel’s feast. These are best hung between a storm door and front door or you won’t have anything left in a matter of hours!
Hot Pepper Wreath: Pick up some hot peppers next time you’re at the market. If you can find a surplus of them, you’ll get a better deal. Wire them up to wreath form for new door decor.
Farmers Market Vignette: This vignette is nothing more than colorful, seasonal squashes and a pumpkin mixed with locally grown flowers that are drying out. Arrange them amongst some other items that are already on hand like a rusty old scale and homemade pumpkin for instant impact! When you’re not sure about what’s for dinner, slice open that squash and steam it.
Mumkin: There is always the classic pumpkin planter stand by. Grab a large pumpkin and 6 inch mum at the market. Carve and hollow the pumpkin. Plant the mum, pot and all, directly into the pumpkin planter.
Seed Packet Art: If you can’t bring the freshness of the harvest inside, you can always create your own original seed packet art. I duplicated a few vintage seed graphics last fall with paint and reclaimed wood.
I’m back with another food post, friends.
I’m talking about beetroots today. They are said to be a natural anti-inflammatory vegetable which is what we are after in our house. But what can be done differently with beets? Well, this is one of my new faves that I like to think I made up because I’ve never heard of a Beet Stuffed Pepper before. About a week ago I posted a prep picture of this entree on instagram and got a lot of inquisitive likes.
So I’m sharing the deets but hold onto your seats because there’s really only one thing you need to know about making this deliciously, filling vegetarian dish.
Are you ready for it?
The secret to Beet Stuffed Peppers is to follow your favorite traditional stuffed pepper recipe and then subtract the ground beef and add ground beets.
That’s it. Earth shattering, I know. It kind of rhymes too: Subtract the ground beef and add ground beets.
Here’s exactly what I did to make this simple yet tasty dinner.
- Take 3 average size beets, wash and peel the epidermis. Grind the beets in the food processor. Next, mix seasoned bread crumbs into the ground beets. I used about a 50/50 ratio of bread crumbs to beets. The bread crumbs absorb the moisture that the beets cook off.
- Wash and core 2 green peppers. A tip I learned from a friend when baking stuffed peppers is to briefly cook the peppers in boiling water to soften them. This way they are more pliable and do not tear when you stuff them.
- Next, you guessed it, stuff the peppers with the beet mix. I sprinkled fresh shredded parmesan cheese to the top along with more bread crumbs. Also, a dollop of raw honey (my favorite sweetener) on top complements the beet flavor very well. The honey will cook into the stuffed pepper.
- Bake at 325 for about 50 minutes and enjoy!
These stuffed peppers are so filling that I couldn’t even finish mine! Let me know if you give it a try. And again, try this with your own stuffed pepper recipe and just substitute the beef for beets.
P.S. Doesn’t the color remind you of red velvet cake?