Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Garden Glory


Long hot summer days are here. There isn't a much better way to cool off than the way Little Sister does it—playing in the "sprinkles." Daddy-O said he knew he had put in the irrigation system for a reason. This may be the best use ever.


Our garden this year is a small one and much of it is wilting in the dry heat. Except for the herbs. I've always figured they are cousins to weeds. Since I have a brown thumb instead of a green one, I limit my gardening to the herbs.


But even with the lack of rain, our garden has yielded enough zucchini and squash and cucumbers to keep us in summer vegetables. And the garden next door has provided potatoes and onions. Publix and Bilo have filled in the gaps.

A side dish at a favorite restaurant we enjoyed while I was doing my grandmother tour of duty in the midwest gave me an idea for a new way to cook the ever-abundant squash and zucchini. They served just zucchini cut into a large dice and cooked with a quick saute. I've done my version twice in the last four days.  If I didn't have to feed the other people in this house, I'd have eaten it all myself. It's not really a recipe, but here is what I did:

FRESH MIXED VEGETABLES

Cut assorted vegetables into 1/2-inch cubes. (I quartered the squash and zucchini lengthwise, then cut 1/2-inch slices.) Heat 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add vegetables to hot skillet. Season with House Seasoning (or salt, pepper & garlic powder.) Let vegetables cook until the bottom begins to get a little color, then turn with a spatula. Continue browning, then turning until everything is tender crisp. The really good flavor comes from the golden brown color. 

The top photo I made with zucchini, squash, onion, carrot, celery, corn, green peppers, and grape tomatoes (halved.)

The bottom photo has new potatoes (let these cook about 5 minutes before adding the rest,) zucchini, squash, red pepper, celery, onion, and corn.




And the cucumbers are ready, too. If I could only have two garden vegetables, I would choose cucumbers and tomatoes. I'm a little sad for those folks who can't just go pick these in the back yard. 

Here is our favorite way to enjoy the cucumbers. This is as quick and easy as it is delicious. 

CUCUMBER SALAD

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 slightly-rounded tablespoons sugar
sprinkle of salt 
cucumbers, peeled & thinly sliced
sweet onion, thinly sliced & separated into rings

Mix vinegar, water, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour over cucumbers and onion. Place in refrigerator for an hour or longer before serving.


We didn't have an hour before lunch today, so I can tell you that 30 minutes in the vinegar mixture was pretty good. We'll enjoy the rest at supper tonight. 


I always do these in a glass bowl because I think the vinegar mix is better that way. Today I got to use my new favorite kitchen storage containers--the glass bowls with Easy-Find lids from Rubbermaid. I am remembering how much better things keep in glass instead of plastic. I found some at Target and another little set of small ones at the grocery store. 

Now we are waiting on the tomatoes. 



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