Okay, so here I am sitting on the patio staring at this mass of greenery that surrounds me. (Hubby ALWAYS over-plants but he is a Leo, so things done on the grand scale are to be expected. J) To the right: we’ve got corn, tomatoes, zucchini, green peppers, some kind of jalapeňo peppers, string beans, cucumbers, basil and a slew of sunflowers. (I’m sure some of you noticed those from a recent post ;). On the left, more zucchini and at least three pumpkins ready for carving. (Way too soon for anything fall-related as my end, but it’s there so I figured I’d mention it.)
Like anything else, the garden lends itself to a certain routine. Every morning I gather the zucch and pumpkin blossoms. For a while, I was contending with the bees and wasps that tend to nestle inside the blossom, gathering nectar and fertilizing the plant. By tapping the flower, I can usually coax them elsewhere. Some literally tumble out, looking weighted down and even heady from the drink, lol. Last week, though, I started leaving those particular flowers be. (Since stepping on a stalk could get me in trouble, my husband usually combs the garden after me and picks the blooms I can’t reach or left to the bees. I have noticed more fruit on the vines since I started this practice.)
So what to do with the bumper crop of fresh goodies my gardener-hubby brings in daily? (I’m up to my ears in tomatoes right now. Anybody living in my area want some?) Come up with some new ideas on how to eat them, on the spot of course! (Who has time to plan anything?) Over the next few weeks, I’ll share seasonal recipes—easy, perfect-for-summer light snack and/or meal ideas that require only a few ingredients to throw together—most of them on hand anyway, regular kitchen staples. Several may fall into the realm of “clean eating,” too. Try them and let me know what you think! (BTW, I may or may not have re-invented the wheel on some of these—I just throw together what I think might taste good and then hope.)
My easiest: Grilled cheese with tomato and basil*
2 slices bread (I love multi-grain; my boys are fans of potato)
2-3 slices of cheese (American, muenster—yum!—etc—mix them up for fun)
thinly sliced tomato
2-4 basil leaves (cut into small pieces if the leaves are fairly large)
butter or buttery spread
Heat a frying or grill pan over medium heat while layering one slice of bread with half the cheese. Add a layer of tomato, top with basil and the remainder of the cheese. Spread butter or spread on the bread then lay it face down on the hot pan then spread the other side the same way. Heat until cheese begins to melt and bread begins to brown. Flip the sandwich with a sturdy spatula. When the flip-side is browned to your taste, remove, cut in half and serve immediately.
*Basil adds a dimension of flavor I can’t explain. Trust me, it’s incredibly delicious but can be easily picked out if you don’t like it. Throw together a salad (greens, cucumber, red onion, chopped green peppers, feta or any shredded/grated cheese), season with Adobo or seasoned salt of choice and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Dinner is served!
More recipes are at my website, including my absolute favorite, zucch/pumpkin blossom fritters. (Third one down on the page.) One of these days I’ll put together a video for how to make those. (Heard my girl Rosella–Carrie and Billy Jay’s friend from No Matter Why–puts those together every chance she gets!)
Off to my last day of exteded school year program–finally! Buon appetito and have a great day and weekend,