Cooking From the Garden

Hey everyone!  I hope ya'll are having a great week.  Things are good around here, & I've been having some fun cooking from our garden.  It isn't a large garden this time around, but it has been producing like CRAAAZY!  Shall we take a look?

No, it's not a baseball bat, but it might qualify as a lethal weapon....lol!  I truly try not to let them get this large, but these zucchini were hiding in the big plant & I almost tripped & fell over them!  Totally true!  There were several yellow crooknecks, too, but they are a little hard to miss in all their lovely 
mellow yellowness.

I'm getting a basketful of these little beauties every day or two.  I wash them & keep them in a bowl on the counter so we can grab & munch any time we pass by.  Sooooo good!

I had been waiting & waiting, watching all these big green lovelies;  then, YIKES, they all ripened at the same time.  Now what?  

What shall I do with all this bounty?  I decided to make Marinara Sauce -- yum!  I used the tomatoes, of course, both big & small.  I also cut up zucchini, the red peppers that were ripe, fresh basil, oregano & rosemary.  I cut up onion & lightly chopped several garlic cloves.

I loaded everything into the crockpot, added kosher salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes & drizzled on some olive oil.

I cut everything in chunks & didn't peel anything except the onion & garlic.  I did remove the seeds from the tomatoes.  I started the crockpot on high for about an hour & then cooked it the rest of the day ( like 8 hours) on low until all the veggies were very tender.  This smelled sooooo good.  I then ladled off the excess liquid & used my Cuisinart Smart Stick to emulsify all the veggies.  I did a taste test & added a bit of sugar, & it was good to go.

As soon as the sauce was cool enough, I put it into 2 freezer bags with 4 cups each.   I also froze the extra broth which I will use in a soup or stew.  Oh, I feel so "Betty Crocker-ish!"

I've also been trying some vegetarian dishes once-in-awhile.  The one I made this week was
Black Bean & Zucchini Quesadillas.

Check it out at Health.com.  Even The Man, who was so skeptical, thought they were very good.  Super-easy to make, too!

My other new recipe is THIS Mock Apple Pie made with......

ZUCCHINI -- I'm not kidding!  This was a great way to use up one of those "club-size" zucs
that I had.  I pared the squash, sliced in half length-wise, removed the seeds (a grapefruit spoon works great for this little job), & then sliced it up.  Looks like apple slices, doesn't it?

It has a crumble topping & no pastry crust.  Sorry, I forgot to take an After pic.  It was very good!

I was kind of on a roll at this point & decided to try THIS recipe for Iced Coffee Concentrate.  I know, not exactly anything from the garden, but I did need a "pick-me-up" after all of that cooking!

This is a "cold brew" method which is supposed to be the best for iced coffee.  Just as an aside, you may remember that I gave up coffee (caffeine) a few months ago.  I still do not drink coffee in the mornings & have no cravings for it, but I do enjoy an iced coffee "sometimes" in the afternoon.  It's my special treat.

You do have to plan in advance for this, because the coffee & water needs to sit on the counter & brew for a day or overnight.  I strain mine through a fine wire mesh thingy lined with a double layer of cheesecloth.  This recipe is a stronger version of The Pioneer Woman's, which you can find HERE.   I keep mine in a couple of Pampered Chef pitchers in the fridge.

I fill my insulated tumbler with crushed ice, then fill about 2/3 to the top with the coffee concentrate, add milk & then top it off with a flavored coffee cream.  Because I was feeling very naughty (& because I had the ingredients), I made my own sweet cream using Dulce de Leche (melted slightly in the microwave) & Half 'n Half.  Dulce de Leche is the Mexican version of our canned sweet cream, but it is caramel-like.  It doesn't take very much of this delicacy to make my "tumbler runneth over with sheer joy!" 

Well folks, that about wraps up today's post.  I love throwing in a little cooking session every once-in-awhile just for fun.  If you have any good zucchini recipes you want to share, I would totally appreciate it.  It's amazing what one lone zucchini plant can produce.....lol!

Thanks so much for stopping by, & I will see you next time!

I'm happily linking to:
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Heather & Vanessa  At The Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday

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