Monday, August 9, 2010

Zukes 'n Cukes

Ok, I know that's a cutesy name for a post, but it was oh-so appropriate for this ode to our flourishing garden.

Our grape tomatoes have been slowly been ripening throughout the month, in twos and threes, so they've been more suited for a quick treat.

Our humble zucchini and cucumber plants have been working overtime - we only have one of each (and thank goodness, since they've both grown so much that they've taken over our meager plot of land.)

This is my first look at zucchini fresh on the plant - I stuck my hand in for scale but I can't even describe how big these suckers are and how quickly they grow. It's literally overnight that a zucchini goes from barely being noticed to a behemoth:

Not to be overloooked, the cucumbers are also coming in nicely:

This is what we harvested over the weekend:

For perspective, our biggest zucchini next to a cucumber and some adorable grape tomatoes to boot:

So what to do with all these vegetables? For dinner last night, I went to my go-to zucchini recipe, which I learned from a college roommate. All it involves is:
  1. Peeling and slicing a zucchini into rounds
  2. Dredging it in a beaten egg solution
  3. Dredging it in Italian bread crumbs
  4. One more dip in the egg solution
  5. Sprinkling lemon and pepper seasoning (without salt) and then dredging through the bread crumbs one more time
  6. Placing it on a Pam-sprayed sheet (or a Silpat)
  7. Baking for 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven, flipping them over at the halfway point.

What you get at the end is slightly browned, chewy piece of zucchini with a bread coating that puffs up while it bakes. We eat this simply with a side of white rice (always present in our house) and a protein. I have to note that we ran out of the lemon pepper seasoning (without salt) in the middle so we had to substitute lemon pepper seasoning (with salt), and I actually liked using both flavors. Let's face it, zucchini is pretty flavorless, so piling on as much lemon pepper seasoning only makes it taste better.

PS, this picture is before the rounds went into the oven. We ate them too quicly afterwards for a "baked" picture:

The two cucumbers we harvested got eaten for dinner tonight. I combined two recipes, one from the Food Network and one from Allrecipes to make a simple cucumber salad.

First came slicing the cucumbers in half, scoops the seeds out, and slicing them into fairly thin slices:

I salted the cucumbers and half a sliced yellow onion (what I had on hand) with around two teaspoons of salt in a colander. While letting that soak and drain, I whisked together a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon of white vinegar, one tablespoon of white sugar and two teaspoons of freshly snipped parsely from our windowsill herb garden.  A quick rinse of the cucumbers and onions in cold water and a toss in the vinegar mixture yielded this picture perfect salad (with the last minute addition of sliced grape tomatoes from our garden):

As Andrew and I grinned at each other over our dinner, we were smug with the satisfaction that nothing tastes as good something you've grown yourself. And in case you were wondering, this was a side dish to accompany our chicken burgers and spicy sweet potato fries.

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