Green beans! Green beans! Just as my family tires of the peas, in comes the green beans! Raw, steamed, grilled, pickled, roasted with salt, tossed with Hoisin and soy — we love them every which way! I even have a recipe for Frijole Mole — a green bean guacamole. I’ll have to dig that one up for next week.
What shall you find in this week’s basket?:
- beans, Blue Lake Bush Bean and Yellow Pencil Pod
- baby carrots, Nantes
- basil, Sweet Genovese
- chard, Rainbow Lights
- cucumbers, American Slicing and Asian Long
- garlic, German Softneck
- napa cabbage
- peppers, sweet green California Wonder
- potatoes, Yukon Gold
- salad mix
- summer squash
- tomatoes — a mix of Sungold grape; Stupice; and Silvery Fir Tree (I know the amount is absurd, but I’m giving you all I got! Just wait til next week!)
Now, here are some recipes to help you “add value” to some of this fresh produce:
It’s the time of year when Tom says we need to implement a “zucchini tax” at the farmstand. Any time anyone buys ANYTHING, they are forced to take a zuke with them. No, not really, as I love blending them up to add extremely low-calorie creaminess to everything and anything — from smoothies to soups. I also have been eating them in huge amounts straight from the grill. They are also wonderful shredded and cooked in a fritatta with our lovely chicken eggs and a little grated parmesan.
Grilled Zucchini/Summer Squash
Thickly slice zucchini lengthwise. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper and fresh herbs. Toss to coat. Grill right on the grill rack until tender. Yum! These are great the next day heated up for lunch and sprinkled with a little low calorie feta cheese OR on some our artisan bread smeared with Laughing Cow Lite cheese (another low cal fav at our house).
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
1 c butter, softened
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. baking cocoa (I increase this to 3/4 c. — or to taste)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 c. shredded zucchini
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1. In mixing bowl, beat butter, oil, sugar. Add eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and mix well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda baking powder, salt, cinnamon; gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in zucchini.
2. Spread into greased 13×9 pan. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cook on wire rack.
Okay, for those of you worried about eating healthy ALL the time, here are some modifications that I make:
- substitute applesauce or yogurt for either the butter or oil.
- 4 eggs whites instead of 2 whole eggs
- whole wheat pastry flour in place of the white flour
- All in all, this makes a pretty healthy “cake,” but it will make it moister and denser, almost like a fudgy brownie. It may require a bit longer baking time, too.
Our total “go to — have it handy during busy weeks” recipe in the summer:
Fresh Veggie Pizza
1 tube reduced fat crescent rolls
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix (I usually just skip this and add my own herbs and spices, like dill, pepper, or whatever with some salt.)
2 T fat-free milk
whatever chopped raw veggies you have on hand — amounting to about 3 cups total. All of the following are good, in whatever combo you like:
broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green pepper, sweet pepper, mushrooms, snap peas, tomatoes, green beans, kohlrabi, cucumbers, zucchini
1. Unroll crescent roll dough into one long rectangle. Press onto bottom of 13×9″ pan or cookie sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray; seal seams and perforations. Bake at 375 degrees for 11-13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.
2. In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, salad dressing mix, and milk until smooth. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with vegetables. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
(Modifications: I tend to lighten up the consistency of the cream cheese with a little lowfat yogurt or sour cream instead of milk. They blend together more easily, but, by default, I just use whatever is on hand. This is a pretty forgiving recipe.)
If you don’t feel like putting together true recipe, next time you are grilling just toss all of your veggies together with some salt, pepper, and a splash of olive oil and either grill in a grill basket, skewer on kabobs, or make a foil pouch. Actually, my favorite way to eat greens like chard, kale, or spinach is grilled in a foil packet with a drizzle of oil or vinegar and salt. I’ll throw in some garlic cloves for good measure, too. I’ve also been drizzling grilled veggies with this:
Creamy Dill Dressing:
1 T dijon mustard
1/3 c heavy cream or low fat plain yogurt (I also cut calories and thin the dressing out by swapping some of the yogurt with buttermilk)
1/4 c rice or white wine vinegar
1/2 c olive oil (I usually halve this amount)
1/3 c chopped dill
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
you can add a pinch of sugar or honey if you want to sweeten it.
Blend all together and drizzle on fresh greens, veggies, or grilled potatoes. I’ve even drizzled this on a grilled veggie and cheese sandwich.
I hope you are enjoying the bounty of our garden. I sure love growing, tending, and harvesting for all of you.
Remember, if anyone wants bunches of herbs — any variety — or a cut-flower bouquet, let me know. Basil has shot up in the recent heat wave, so if you are feeling like big basil caprese salads/sandwiches or pesto, I can get you a healthy bunch for $1.50 or a larger bag for $3. We currently have in bloom: bee balm, snapdragons; cosmos; love in a mist; bachelor’s buttons; red amaranth; brown-eyed susans, sunflowers, bells of ireland, veronica, zinnias. I can make a bouquet to order or one of my own design for $4.