We have an excess of zucchini. Muriel started picking this morning, and now is sorting though the 100+ pounds. Picking out the ones that are not the size of baseball bats. It’s overwhelming to look at the huge bins of the green vegetable, imagining what you would possibly do with that much zucchini. Bake more zucchini bread than you can eat, perhaps, or in our case invest it in the pigs, who gobble it up happily as a mid-morning snack.
On the farm, this degree of bounty is what deep summer is all about. We wait and wait, watching the earth for the next leaf, the tiny blossoms. Then suddenly, you look out and see a row of plants that shades the rows around it and sends vines in every direction. It’s a nice surprise when everything is lush and the harvest is beginning to be at its peak.
Early settlers must have loved zucchini. The prolific nature of the plant means that one could pickle and fry and still have some left over for any hungry pigs you had around. Or maybe just for some nice compost material. Or for the chickens. This I tell myself as I consider whether I will be able to lift the tubs of zucchinis and lug them across the farm.Then I remember how wonderful it is to have something preserved. I grated zucchini and froze it last winter, thawing it in January for zucchini bread. The smell of the bread, rich with the fresh feeling of summer squash, was something I had entirely forgotten when I was begrudgingly dealing with my overabundance of zucchini last fall.
Excess means that there is enough to go around, and then some, and then enough to have a little when the cold threatens to push down the front door once and for all. It’s the wealth of July, August and September, when all of the labors of summer begin to emerge, overwhelming us with the flavors of summer.
Excess is a flavor to enjoy, to rejoice in having extra and the bounty of the land. It’s sheer fortune and abundance, the taste of high summer that we wait all year for.
I’m planning on savoring every bite.
- Bok Choi
- Salad Mix
- Green Garlic
Summer Quinoa Cakes with Beet Greens and Beet Salad (adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison.)
- 1 lb. beet greens
- 4 small beets
- olive oil
- juice from 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp. finely diced onion
- 4 tbsp. chopped cilantro
- 1 1/2 c. cooked quinoa
- 4 oz. mozzarella, provolone, or goat feta, grated.
- 1 egg
- Discard stems from greens. Wash, then cook over medium high heat until wilted and tender. When done, put them in a colander to drain.
- Steam the beets until tender-firm, then peel them. Cut them into wedges or fine dice and toss them with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a small skillet. Add onion, stir, and cook for a few minuts. STir in the cilantro, then remove from teh heat and add to the quinoa followed by the cheese, egg, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
- Return to the greens. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible with your hand or a wooden spoon. Finely chop the greens, stir them into the quinoa mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat a skillet with oil, then pack the quinoa mix into 1/2 or 1/3 c. measures. Turn them into the skillet, flatting slightly with a wooden spoon. Cook until golden brown (2 or more minutes per side). Serve with the beet salad!
Here’s a recipe for Spicy Ginger Noodles with Bok Choi – you could easily substitute pork with baked tofu for a vegetarian version! http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/1016023/spicy-ginger-pork-noodles-with-bok-choy.html
Beet and Carrot Slaw … http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Candy-Stripe-Beet-and-Carrot-Slaw-366408
And in other news….
Friday Pie Club is making PEACH RASPBERRY and GREEN TOMATO pies this week, as well as SUMMER VEGETABLE AND HERB TURNOVERS. Click the link below to place an order!