Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Bountiful Harvest--Great Garden Recipes

Fall is every wine lover’s favorite time of year.  Harvest is upon us, and the actual production of wine begins.  Fall is also the time of other harvests, such as from my first-ever garden!  This summer I decided to mark an item off my bucket list by planting and harvesting a garden for the first time.  I planted what I considered easy plants to grow…after much consulting with people who actually know about this gardening stuff.  I also grew fruits and vegetables that I would enjoy nibbling as the fruits of my labors. 
Over the course of the summer, I watered and weeded, pampered and plucked.  And in the end, I had nice harvests of my red strawberries, cherry and Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh garden lettuces, yellow squash, and zucchini squash.  These easy crops made me almost feel like I had a green thumb; they were incredibly prolific.  Therefore, I was left finding tasty recipes in which to use my home-grown veggies.  I hope you enjoy these delicious recipes as much as I did!

Lettuces:  Spinach, Butter Crunch, Black-Seeded Simpson
Fill a bowl with the garden lettuce mix.  Top with sliced home-grown strawberries.  Sprinkle one tablespoon of feta cheese on top.  Scatter with one tablespoon of spiced pumpkin seeds.  Top with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  (I make my dressing with balsamic, Dijon mustard, and a touch of honey.)  Add boneless, skinless chicken breast strips if more protein is desired.  Serve with a California sauvignon blanc/fume blanc.

Tomatoes:  Cherry Tomatoes, Yellow Grape Tomatoes
Slice tomatoes in half; put in bowl.  Cut fresh mozzarella into cubes.  Add to bowl with tomatoes.  Harvest fresh basil.  Cut into narrow strips and scatter on top of the tomatoes and mozzarella.  Lightly drizzle with high-quality olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle with salt.  Serve with an Oregon pinot gris.

Tomatoes:  Large Red and Yellow
Slice the tomatoes into large rounds.  Put on toasted whole-grain bread spread with real mayonnaise.  Add strips of already-cooked bacon and garden lettuce/kale mix.  Serve with an Oregon or Russian River Valley pinot noir.

Yellow Squash
Slice yellow squash into half-inch-thick rounds.  Place in one layer on lightly oiled cookie sheet or cookie sheet covered with parchment.  Evenly sprinkle shredded, fresh Parmesan cheese on top of each round.  Put in pre-heated 400-degree oven.  Bake 30 minutes.  Check.  Then bake 5-10 more minutes or until cheese on rounds is golden brown.  Serve with a California or French chardonnay.

Zucchini Squash
Shred two cups of fresh zucchini, no need to peel.  Can also be frozen.  Add 1½ cup sugar; I use ¾ cup sugar and ¾ cup Splenda.  Then mix in ½ cup oil (I blend olive and canola), 2 cups flour, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 tsp. salt, 1½ tsp. soda, and 2 tsp. Mexican vanilla.  Mixture will be somewhat thick.  Bake at 350 degrees in ungreased (9 X 13) cake pan for 30 minutes.  Let cool.  Continues to stay moist for days after baking.  Serve as a dessert (or late-night snack) with a glass of California cabernet sauvignon.