Category Archives: From the Garden

Squash-a-palooza: Perfectly Simple Grilled Squash

This might be the last time you get to break out the grill in 2012, so take full advantage!  If summer squash and zucchini have been mysteriously showing up on your doorstep as gardening neighbors do their best to unload the last of their harvests, don’t fret.  This is a classic throw-together dish that can’t even really be called a recipe because it’s so simple.  Simply perfect to go along with anything.  If you have one of those snazzy non-stick grill toppers for veggies, then it’s even easier.

1.  Cut squash into spears

2.  In a large dish, toss together squash, a generous drizzle of olive oil, onion slices, some garlic if you feel like it, salt, pepper and chopped rosemary.  Add a squeeze of lemon juice.  Grill over medium-high heat until nicely caramelized on all sides; flip or rotate as appropriate.

3.  Serve with grilled meat or fish.  Or cut it up and toss it into pasta.  Leftovers are great for an egg scramble the next day–sprinkle with parmesan cheese for extra umami punch.

4.  Eat outside…it’s probably our last chance to do it this year.

Sigh…good-bye summer!  It’s been a joy.  And thank you for not short-changing the Pacific Northwest this year, our garden is especially appreciative.


Squash-a-palooza: Summer Squash and Corn Chowder

Oh my squash.  This chowder is truly, simply, really delicious.  And fast and easy to make!  You can also prepare it vegan or vegetarian by subbing the milk and omitting the bacon, see instructions below.  It’s the perfect summer segue into fall and uses the best of the passing season’s bounty.  Get your soup bowls ready!

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Squash-a-palooza: Spiced Summer Squash Bread

Move over, zucchini bread.  This summer squash bread is delightfully and perfectly spiced, moist, and travels well. It’s the perfect quick breakfast to jump-start your day.  This recipe makes a large-ish amount, twice as much as your normal loaf pan. Use a 9×13 dish, or 2 loaf pans.  It freezes well, so eat one and store the other for that last-minute bake sale, for a good friend, or whenever.

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Squash-a-palooza: Summer Squash Relish

It’s 80 degrees and sunny in Seattle today.  I’m in Maui right now but cheering on the last warm days before heading into what will surely be a bittersweet, gorgeous Fall.  If you are still harvesting summer squash, there are lots of options to use your glut…don’t toss it!  Today I’ll be posting several recipes, but this one stands out as a way to use up quite a bit.  Also–if you shred your squash (food processor to the rescue here), you can stash it in your freezer for months.

This relish is unexpectedly delicious; slightly sweet and just acidic enough to brighten any meat.  It’s also easy to make.  Grill up the last of those hot dogs and hit ’em hard with this relish…I think you’ll thank me.

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Jerry Traunfeld’s Nasturtium Capers

Adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld (Scribner 2000)

Nasturtiums are true multi-use flowers.  They’re easy to grow and beautiful, and they attract pollinators to your garden to boot.  Both nasturtium flowers and young leaves are edible as long as you grow them organically, which isn’t hard to do.  They provide a peppery punch similar to watercress in salads, and the flowers add a gorgeous splash of color.  Nasturtiums even contain decent amounts of vitamin C.

A regular caper is the flower bud of the Capparis spinosa plant and its seedpod is called a caper berry, which is also delicious (especially in a bloody mary) when brined.  The seedpods of nasturtiums look just like the caper plant’s buds, and they taste similar to capers once pickled.  In my opinion they’re better.  Nasturtiums form seedpods in late summer; you’ll find them attached to the stems underneath the foliage, where they develop in clusters of three.  You want young pods that are still green since mature seedpods turn yellowish and hard.

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Fava Bean Risotto with Super Easy Shrimp Scampi


This risotto stands on its own as a full, hearty vegetarian meal.  It also packs a great protein and fiber punch, so no need to feel too bad about the starch indulgence.  Bonus: your dominant arm gets a little workout in the process!  Fava beans require a little bit of work before you can enjoy them, but they freeze well and can be enjoyed for months.  I felt like having the risotto as a side dish, so I threw together the world’s easiest shrimp scampi and asparagus for the perfect al fresco summer meal.  The scampi recipe is at the bottom of this post.
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Prettiest Pickled Chioggia Beets

How pretty are these?  I didn’t grow up eating beets, but I’ve come to love them–in salads, roasted with other root vegetables, as chips, and especially pickled.  Dan grew a bunch of chioggia (aka “candy cane”) beets in the p-patch and since I rarely turn the oven on during summer, those babies were just begging to be pickled.  I’m certain that this recipe will work well with any kind of beet; I think golden beets would look pretty gorgeous in jars too.
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