Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs

Grilled Zucchini Ribbon KebobsMutiny Because of the Bounty
Come with me and let me take you on a little journey to see if this is something you can relate to. It’s February and you’re sitting at the kitchen table, a stack of the latest seed catalogs in front of you. (Ahhhh…that new catalog smell!) The excitement and anticipation of the fresh bounty to come are impossible to contain. And, you are convinced that you actually need every variety of those heirloom tomatoes and squash because who doesn’t like tomatoes and squash? And of course, the best part is sharing with others. So, having too much shouldn’t be a problem. And, you never know when Better Homes and Gardens will call to ask if they can come to do a photoshoot in your garden because it’s Just. That. Awesome.

Fast forward to the end of July. It’s been hot and some of your plants are showing the damage. You’ve battled a round of blossom end rot on your tomatoes. The ants are taking over your bell peppers and your squash “cup” runneth over.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to pawn a lot of my produce off on my sister which, frankly, is one of the reasons I plant a garden. (She loves the produce but her yard is too shady.) But there is still a lot of produce on the vine.

Planting and taking care of a garden is a lot of work but it’s worth it for the fresh produce. There will never be anything that can hold a candle to a homegrown, vine-ripened tomato. But, during the peak months, you will find yourself scrambling to come up with ways to use everything so it doesn’t get wasted. And, in doing so, you might find that you never want to see another pepper in your lifetime. Zucchini is notorious for this.

I love squashes of all kinds. But, even I will get tired of them day after day—especially if they are prepared the same way each time. That being said, I like them cooked simply so you can actually taste the flavors of the squash. Grilling them is my favorite but can be tricky. Cook them a heartbeat too long and they will be mushy.

I saw this recipe for Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs in the New York Times and wanted to try it because it looked like a great way to avoid soggy squash and the ribbons seemed fun. Play around with the seasonings you use. You don’t have to go with BBQ. Salt, pepper, and olive oil are always fantastic as is your favorite Mediterranean blend. Za’atar would also work really well…

Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Kebobs Recipe
Adapted from Stephen Raichlen and New York Times Cooking
Yields 6 servings

To keep the zucchini crisp during grilling, slice it thinly and cook over a hot fire. The edges char and get crisp like the burnt ends of a rib.

Read more…

Caprese Vegetable Kebobs

Caprese Vegetable KabobsKe-bob Ka-Boom
Not going to lie. Things have been rather busy lately and I am really looking forward to some time off for the Fourth of July. Fourth of July means a BBQ…if you are doing it right. And, that thought just makes me want to hind under my pillow.

So the BBQ for this holiday is going to be easy-peasy ‘cause that’s all I can handle. Simple stuff on the grill like steaks, sausages, or chicken and most likely some salad on a stick.

Even though it’s just the start of July, my garden is in full swing—especially my cherry tomatoes. The recent heat has put cherry tomato production into overdrive. And, I have been hard-pressed to keep up. So, in order to solve that problem. and make for some tasty treats this weekend, I am planning on making some caprese skewers for the BBQ. The best part is they don’t require a lot of effort, which is ideal for my current state of mind.

Our recipe for Caprese Vegetable Kebobs is great for the veggie lovers in your life. I like to drizzle some balsamic over them for a little extra kick. And, if you can get your hands on the bottled balsamic glaze, even better…

Caprese Vegetable Kebobs Recipe
Yields 30 6-inch Kebobs

A new way to eat your salad! This recipe feeds a crowd, so you dial back the ingredients as needed. You can also keep some prepped veggies and marinate them in the fridge for an easy weeknight batch of delicious leftovers.

And, note that you will need to begin marinating the vegetables for at least half an hour and no more than 2 hours before serving. Read more…

Panzanella With Fresh Burrata

Panzanella With Fresh BurrataBreaking Bread
If you like to bake bread, are just learning, or are trying to master a particular technique, chances are you have found yourself with extra bread that goes stale. Fresh, homemade bread is one of life’s great pleasures. But, it doesn’t last very long. So, you either have to eat it all immediately (not a totally awful idea) or find different ways to use it. Throwing all of your hard work away is just not an option.

There are plenty of ways to use stale bread. You can make fantastic croutons for your salad. French Toast is always delicious—depending on the type of bread. Though, I have been known to make French Toast out of anything that will hold its shape after dunking. Also, never underestimate the power of good bread crumbs when making some meatballs.

Now that we are heading into the warmer months where the tomatoes get better and the idea of a big heavy dinner is unappealing, my mind starts to turn towards meals that are light, don’t require heat to prepare them and still have a lot of flavor. And, if they use up any ingredients like say, stale bread, then so much the better. Panzanella is one of those options.

Panzanella is a classic Italian bread salad that comes in many iterations. I recently found the recipe below and my family is excited about it. Good tomatoes are the key to this recipe. So look for the best ones you can find.

Panzanella With Fresh Burrata Recipe
Yields 4 servings
Adapted from Tuesday Night Mediterranean by Christopher Kimball Read more…

Green Pea Salad with Pea Shoots and Tarragon

Green Pea Salad with Pea Shoots and TarragonThe Vegetable Diaries
Spring break is here—which means it’s time to plant a veggie garden. I’m very excited. I haven’t had a true garden for many years. There have been too many other activities getting in the way of being able to take care of the plants. So, I am beyond motivated.

A few weeks ago I started my seeds. And, we had way too many cubic yards of good planting soil delivered that we used to fill our planter boxes. (I totally over-ordered.)

The waiting has been the hardest part. As a rule, you’re not supposed to plant until the temps stay above 50 degrees—and my patience has been running thin. I tend to jump the gun, usually planting a week or two too early. I showed better restraint this year. I did get the peas in the ground early though, mainly because they like the cold. But, I also chose a variety that is frost-resistant…just in case.

The recent weather has been great. But, the mornings have been a bit chilly. I am crossing my fingers that we are done with the frost. As of this post, all of my tomatoes are in the ground as well as the beans and peppers, both the bells and the spicier versions. I have been growing strawberries in my greenhouse which have recently exploded with so many berries. So, that’s some tastiness to look forward to. My peach tree is also showing significant signs of life.

I am experimenting with grow bags this year and I have to report that so far things are going well. I planted potatoes in them which are super easy to grow. And, from the looks of them, potatoes love grow bags. Grow bags are a great, inexpensive option for those who don’t have the space to have big planters. A friend of mine has had success growing tomatoes in grow bags. So, apartment dwellers take heart, you have options beyond a wine barrel or bulky planters.

With everything in the ground all that is left is the waiting. The peas will probably be the first to produce anything in great numbers. There’s nothing better than fresh peas right out of their pod. Although fresh picked corn on the cob might be a close second…and then there are the tomatoes. It’s great to have options!

Green Pea Salad with Pea Shoots and Tarragon Recipe
Adapted from Alex Guarnaschelli and the Food Network
Yields 4 to 6 servings

This is the ultimate salad for pea-lovers. It showcases three kinds of peas plus pea shoots—which are delicious if you have never tried them! Read more…