Zucchini Week: Day 1

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For day one of zucchini week, I decided to try something new and different. I just love Elise’s website for recipes and this one jumped right out at me as being something relatively easy and delicious and above all, different from the normal uses for zucchini. The Zucchini Fritters were all of those things and this is definitely going see many repeat performances! I switched out the scallions for a locally grown onion, and used goat’s milk yogurt and cheese, both from local farms. The cheese in little lumps at the back of the plate is a spicy chipotle chevre and since I like a bit of tabasco sauce with anything involving egg, this pleased my palate to no end. This may not be a whole meal, but it’s a great use for at least one of those zucchini! Zucchini Fritters – Recipe on SimplyRecipes.com
Ingredients Used:
*Zucchini – my own garden
*Egg – Mt. View Organics
*Onion – North Star Orchard
*Flour – Mill at Anselma
*Yogurt – Shellbark Hollow Farms
*Cheese – Amazing Acres

Introducing the Lemon Cucumber

I’ve taken to growing this peculiar little vegetable in the garden every year after finding a packet of seeds in Target (Thank you Martha Stewart).  I thought, Wow, that’s different, let’s give it a shot.  Well they grew like weeds the first year, but our soil wasn’t quite ready to support them, so I got a few, but the vines died off.  We tilled in a little compost this year and they’ve all but taken over the garden.

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They’re somewhere between baseball and softball sized usually and, when ripe, have a yellow skin that ranges from a very pale yellow to nearly orange. All the information I can find online says that they’re less bitter than traditional cucumbers and have more seeds.  Today, one little cucumber was destined to be a part of my sandwich, paired with some bison bologna, lettuce, goat’s milk feta cheese, and some rustic wheat bread.  DELICIOUS!  This upcoming week, we’re going to review the Zucchini, all week.  If you’ve ever grown zucchini, you understand the agony of finding new things to do with zucchini after you’ve already steamed it, fried it, and grilled it.  I’m going to try and do all the recipes using only local ingredients to go along with my One Local Summer challenge.

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OLS: Week 8

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Pizza for Week Eight!  I saw the post on FarmToPhilly.com about making pizza and I just *had* to!  This has become a popular item in the house since the crust is actually done on the grill.  I usually do a big batch of them at once and then stick them in the freezer or fridge and throw toppings on later and stick them in the microwave or toaster oven to melt the cheese really quick.  It saves time, the crust comes out nice and crispy without using a pizza stone.  I’m giving credit to Bobby Flay for this one since we saw it on Food Network a while ago and I thought it was absolute genius.  Cooking in the house during the summer is just TOO hot sometimes, so taking everything outside to the grill is a great option.  The show featured this recipe, and I really just only use the flatbread part and make my own toppings.  On to the ingredients!

Crust: Whole Wheat pastry flour from the Mill at Anselma.  Non-local Olive Oil, Salt, Yeast
Toppings: Heirloom Tomatoes and onions (hiding underneath) from the North Star Orchard, Colby Cheese from Agape Acres, and a little basil from the back deck.  Couldn’t find a local Mozzarella, and really, all cheese is delicious in my humble opinion, so Colby it was.  I didn’t even bother with sauce since the tomatoes were nice and juicy.

The pizza made for a quick and easy meal.  I actually botched a batch of the pasta dough from last week by using a bad recipe that had me adding way too much water.  I decided to throw in some more flour and gave up after a certain point, added yeast, and let it sit to see if it would work for pizza dough.  Happily, it worked out just fine.  After the flatbread was grilled up, I turned the heat down low and set the flatbread with toppings off the direct heat, closed the lid, and came back in about 15 minutes.  The cheese had melted nicely and it looked perfect.

I have so many ideas for using local ingredients in meals, I feel like there won’t be enough weeks for all of them!

OLS: Week 7

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One Local Summer rolls into week seven.  This week it’s back to being all me and I went all out.  Let’s start in the front with the zucchini, from my very own garden.  Next around, clockwise, is a zucchini bread muffin.  Finally we have a DELICIOUS bison with pesto and sharp goat cheese ravioli.

Zucchini – Yep, zucchini.  Non-local salt, pepper, and olive oil.  This one was perfectly ripe and gosh I could’ve eaten the whole zucchini at once.
Zucchini Bread Muffin – I’ve been getting a LOT of zucchini from the garden and decided to give this recipe a try.  This was tricky since I was trying to keep as local as possible and the result isn’t quite perfect, but considering the amount of zucchini I’ll have this summer, there’s plenty of time to get it right.  I used my own garden zucchini, wheat pastry flour from the Mill at Anselma (stone ground there too from PA wheat), honey from Baues Busy Bees, eggs from Mountain View Organics, and goat’s milk yogurt from Shellbark Hollow Farm.  Non-local ingredients include salt, baking soda, baking powder, canola oil, and vanilla extract.  If you’re keeping tally, yes I left out the spices, walnuts, and apple sauce.  It still tastes delicious and I love what the honey adds to the recipe, but I think I need to add more flour or less wet ingredients since it didn’t rise as much as I had expected and is a little dense.  Still, incredibly good, and worth a repeat.
Ravioli – WOW.  Wow.  Wow.  This was the most labor intensive part of the meal, but it was 100% worth it.  I dug out the pasta roller for the Kitchen Aid mixer and went to town.  Used the same wheat pastry flour as above for the pasta along with some non-local salt (and tap water, of course).  The filling is ground bison from Backyard Bison, with basil and oregano from my back deck planters, some of the frozen pesto sauce from Week 1, and Sharp II goat cheese from Shellbark Hollow Farm.  Non-local salt, pepper, and olive oil were also used.  The sauce is from the same batch of tomato sauce I made last year with the tomatoes from our garden (there were lots, and lots, and lots of tomatoes, in case I haven’t mentioned that before).  I haven’t ever made ravioli, so it was a learning experience for sure, but now that I know what I’m doing, I expect next time, this will go MUCH faster and be much easier.  I’m not quite sure if it tasted so good because it really was that good or that the amount of effort I put into doing something new mentally enhanced the flavor. 

Really though, I’m quite proud of myself for pulling this whole meal off and not giving up in the middle, leaving the kitchen a complete disaster and my stomach empty.  Through doing this whole challenge, I’ve been finding myself spending less time inside grocery stores and more time outside at farmers’ markets – I might go once every other week to the grocery store for things I can’t get at the market, essentials, etc.  It’s neat, and I hope to continue this as long as possible, maybe even freeze some meals to pull out in the dead of winter when I need a dose of *real* food.