At 2 a.m. I was still in the kitchen. Peach jam in the canner, tomato jam out of the canner, three trays of fruit leather in the oven, tomatoes and peaches in the dehydrator, prepping zucchini relish. This is what I always forget in those dreamy, carefree spring months when I plant my garden or sign up for a CSA (or, this year, do both): The harvest season is also a season of all-out frenzy.
This recipe is here to help. You will find both emotional and practical relief as you reduce two truly gargantuan zucchini to five tidy pints of the hot dog relish you remember from childhood.
Pile it onto a field roast sausage with that better-than-ketchup (and I don’t say that lightly) tomato jam and a beery mustard, and you’ll almost forget about the boxes of ripe pears in the basement still awaiting your attention.
The lazy cook in me was intrigued by the baked pasta recipe that appeared on Smitten Kitchen today. Because the pasta it used was orzo and (why did I never think of this before?) the orzo can be baked without pre-boiling, thereby saving you six minutes and the washing of an extra pot. You’re welcome.Deb’s recipe, adapted from our favorite Yotam Ottolenghi, is for a cheesy (just-cheesy-enough, she says) bake with the usual Ottolenghian flourishes of lemon zest and oregano. And it sounds lovely. But once I started browning perfect summer vegetables–eggplant, zucchini, peppers, falling-apart fragrant tomatoes–I couldn’t bear to adulterate them much. (If your tomatoes are less than perfect, by all means try out the original recipe’s suggestion to jazz them up with a few tablespoons of chopped oregano and the zest of a lemon; you could even add that chopped mozzarella.) For me, whole wheat orzo, salt, and the heat of the oven were enough to make the pan of vegetables a hearty late-summer meal. I crumbled feta on top at the end and browned it under the broiler, but it’s perfectly delicious without the cheese. A tomato salad on the side provided a sweet little bite of acid to compliment the richness of the cooked vegetables. (The Indigo Rose tomatoes were almost too pretty to eat. Almost.)Continue reading →
I’m no Cheryl-style desperado when it comes to dispatching zucchini. In fact, I’m kind of pleasantly surprised when they come my way. The squash plants in my garden are despondent and I think they may have given up for the year, so I’m glad to be getting a weekly bag of bitty squash (with flowers!) from the warm side of the mountains in my CSA box.