Summer doesn’t officially end for a few more weeks, but it’s already beginning to feel like fall. After months of 90 degree-plus weather we finally had a cool down this past weekend. It still got into the 80’s during the day, but the nights dropped down to the 50’s. It felt unbelievably good and we were able to sleep with the windows open for the first time in months. But what really made it feel like fall was harvesting the last of the garden. We might still get a few tomatoes, but everything else is pretty much played out. We picked the last of the eggplants and peppers, and all of the winter squash this weekend. The garden is mostly weeds now, and even they’re starting to look a little sad.
I haven’t posted anything since the end of May. I had great intentions for documenting our first garden and all of the great food we planned to make, but I guess I got too busy actually cooking and canning and baking to write about it — not necessarily a bad thing. I did manage to take quite a few pictures though, so here are a few of the summer’s garden and culinary highlights…
We only had 3 zucchini plants, but it felt like a lot more than that. There was zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini bread, zucchini brownies, squash casserole and more sautéed zucchini dishes than I can count. After some experimenting I figured out that my favorite way to prepare zucchini for sautéing is to shred it on the large holes of a box grater, wrap it up in a kitchen towel and then squeeze out as much water as I can. It can then be sautéed in a little bit of butter or olive oil, and you can flavor it with just about anything you like. Some of my favorite additions are garlic/dill/feta/lemon juice, garlic/red pepper flakes/parsley/parmesan and brown butter/toasted pecans.
We planted pickling cucumbers and they were just as prolific as the zucchini. I ate quite a few of them raw, but a lot of them got made into pickles. I tried a couple of different refrigerator pickle recipes and also canned dill pickles and bread and butter pickles. The bead and butters were the best.
We were looking forward to the tomatoes more than anything else in the garden and they didn’t disappoint. We planted Sweet Pea Currants, San Marzanos, Brandywines and an Italian heirloom called Costoluto Genovese. We ate a ton straight out of the garden, and were bummed out this weekend when we realized we would have to start buying tomatoes soon. We never got a chance to can any of them, but the freezer is full of tomato soup, tomato sauce, slow roasted tomatoes and pizza sauce.