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Come See How Their Garden Grew!

August 30, 2012 By:
Linda Morel, Jewish Exponent Feature
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Two years ago, our family planted its first vegetable garden. With the best of intentions, the 2010 and 2011 ­seasons were a bust. We ­didn't harvest enough to cover a salad plate. My two granddaughters' hopes were dashed by this meager showing.

But this summer, with raised beds, enriched soil and some experience behind us, our garden yielded more lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans, zucchini, yellow squash and basil than we could handle. Our crops grew so high that the little girls, ages 3 and 5, entirely disappeared among the greenery, which climbed toward the sky.

After we rejoiced at our ever-increasing bounty, I devised ways to prepare our vegetables. I chopped, sauteed and sizzled. But every time I turned around, our vegetable patch delivered more goodies.

Before our garden took off, I used to hit farmer's markets at this time of year. Whether from backyard gardens or food stores, the end of August bestows a cornucopia of economical produce just begging to be tasted. Wherever you pick your veggies, do grab a basket and enjoy!

 

Zucchini Frittata

(Dairy)

1 large zucchini 
2-3 Tbsps. olive oil 
6 large eggs 
1 Tbsp. plain yogurt 
salt and pepper to taste 
2 Tbsps. sweet butter 
4 Tbsps. ricotta cheese

Clean the zucchini. Cut off ends and discard. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise. Cut out and discard the seeds. Cut the two halves into thin slices.

In a large, cast-iron frying pan, heat the oil on a medium flame. Saute the zucchini slices until golden brown. Remove pan from the flame.

Preheat the broiler.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs. Add the yogurt, salt, and pepper, and beat again.

Melt the butter in the cast-iron skillet. Place the zucchini in the skillet and stir. Pour in the beaten eggs. Let the eggs cook until solid around the edges and almost set in the center.

Remove the skillet from the flame. Place in the preheated broiler. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, watching constantly until the eggs brown lightly on top and solidify in the center. Remove from the boiler. Dollop the ricotta cheese in several places on the eggs' surface. Serve immediately.

Serves 2 to 3.

 

Dressed Up String Beans

(Pareve or Dairy)

Parve Variation:

2 Tbsps. olive oil 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 lb. string beans 
kosher salt to taste

In a small pot, mix olive oil and garlic. Heat on a low flame until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Reserve.

Rinse string beans under cold water. Cut off the ends and discard. Steam the string beans, until just tender but still quite green, about 3 to 5 minutes. Place in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle on the oil mixture.

Gently toss string beans until coated. Turn into an attractive bowl. Serve immediately or later at room temperature.

Serves 4.

 

Dairy Variation:

2 Tbsps. sweet butter 
1 lb. string beans 
kosher salt to taste

Cut each tablespoon of butter into 4 pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Reserve.

Rinse string beans under cold water. Cut off the ends and discard. Steam the string beans until just tender but still quite green, about 3 to 5 minutes. Move to the mixing bowl with the butter. Sprinkle on salt.

Gently toss string beans until coated. Turn into an attractive bowl. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

 

Summer (Yellow) Squash, Asian Style

(Pareve)

3-4 medium-sized summer squash 
3 Tbsps. toasted sesame oil 
2 inches of fresh ginger, skinned and minced 
1 can of water chestnuts, drained and cut into quarters 
4 cloves of garlic, minced 
1 bunch scallions, white ends and some of the green part, chopped 
1 Tbsp. soy sauce 
2 Tbsps. lemon basil (or Italian basil), chopped

Cut each summer squash across the width into 3 barrel-shaped pieces. Cut each barrel in half lengthwise. Cut each half into vertical slices, creating wedge-shaped summer squash sticks.

Heat the oil in a large skillet on a medium flame. Saute squash until it begins to brown. Add the ginger and water chestnuts. Stir occasionally as squash continues to brown.

Add the garlic and scallions and stir to blend. Sprinkle on the soy sauce and stir to combine. Add the basil.

Stir briefly and turn squash into a serving bowl. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.

 

Roasted Zucchini or Summer Squash

(Pareve)

3-4 zucchini, or yellow squash, or a combination 
nonstick vegetable spray 
olive oil for drizzling 
kosher salt to taste 
optional garnish: 3 Tbsps. fresh mint, chopped

Cut each zucchini or summer squash across the width into 3 barrel-shaped pieces. Cut each piece lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Repeat with the remaining pieces of squash.

Preheat the oven to 425°. Coat two (10x15-inch) ovenproof baking pans with nonstick spray.

Arrange the squash slices in the prepared pans, overlapping slightly. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Turn over the squash slices and repeat.

Place baking pans in the oven. Turn over the squash slices every 15 minutes, adding more oil, if needed. Bake for 75 minutes, or until the slices are cooked through and browning at the edges.

Move to a platter and sprinkle on mint, if using. Serve immediately or serve later at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8.

 

Summer Garden Chopped Salad

(Pareve or Dairy)

10 leaves of Romaine lettuce, chopped 
2 tomatoes, diced 
1 yellow pepper, diced 
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced 
10 to 12 string beans, cut into 1/4-inch lengths 
1/3 cup pitted black olives, such as Kalamata 
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese (optional) 
3 Tbsps. Italian basil, minced 
3 Tbsps. red onion, chopped 
1/3 cup pignoli nuts 
kosher salt to taste 
Dressing: your favorite vinaigrette, or red wine vinegar and olive oil

Place all ingredients, except the dressing, into a large salad bowl. Drizzle on your favorite vinaigrette or red wine vinegar and olive oil. Toss the salad. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

Linda Morel is a writer based in New York City. Email her at: lindam212@aol.com.

 

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