OK GROWERS – I NEED YOUR HELP!

With the advent of the tornado, lots of our garden produce got lost.  Some has started to come back, but I fear they will need more grow time than Mother Nature is going to provide.  The one thing we do have coming in great-guns yet is zucchini.

Here is my dilemma – what do I do with it all?

We have shredded, chopped, sliced and diced till my fingers are stuck in the hold position.  One of my fav recipes was a simple fried zucchini and onions.  Awesome, but best when fresh.

stuck in holding (stuck in holding position – ouch!)

Earlier this year I found a unique recipe to turn cubed, peeled zucchini into a rectangle pan type of cake that tastes exactly like apple pie, that alone was amazing.  We have taken several of the larger monsters and prepped the peeling, cubing and sauce then froze it.  We did a tester first to make sure it would work well after being frozen, and it did – woohoo!  Twelve biggies down, dozens more to go.

What I am asking for from you, my awesome readers is, please share your best zucchini recipes!

I don’t care if it’s peeled, sliced, diced, canned, frozen, fried, raw, baked, or whatever;  just as-long-as it will help to get rid of the invasion in our kitchen.

The funny part is we only planted three green plants and three yellow plants, yet we have enough food from them for an army (and why is it when you only plant one it will die on you?).

I have a stellar ratatouille recipe from about 12 years ago.  However fresh tomatoes work best for it.  I may have to travel to the farmers market in Denver to seek out some good garden stuff.

Please, if you have the time, share what you make best with your zucchini.  Leave a website or recipe or email me directly – it all works.  Hurry before we are forced to make a movie of Attack of the Killer Zucchini! EEEK!!

You can also check me out on:  www.lifelessonslived.com for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?

Just when I thought there were very few things left in the food processing world that would surprise me, this happened:

LEFT RED RIGHT YELLOW SAUCES(yes, these are two completely different types of tomato sauces, sort of.)

Now don’t be fooled. The one on the right is NOT our normal pasta sauce. The one on the left is.
We began using several varieties of heirloom tomatoes years ago. The mixture of flavors was such an outstanding taste we just kept doing it. Well, now we have some friends and family members that cannot do the normal red sauce anymore. The higher acidity of the red tomatoes does not sit well with their digestion. This year we decided to try something to help them enjoy pizza and pasta again.
PRESENTING: ALL YELLOW TOMATO, FROM SCRATCH, HOMEMADE PASTA SAUCE (which just so happens to also be perfect for pizzas or a dipping sauce for bread, cheese, and veggie sticks.).
Our older sister’s husband happens to be one of the people that cannot do the reds. We gave them a ton of our yellows when they came to visit a few weeks ago. She decided to try to make her own sauce for them to use. She called me and said that it turned red – what? This threw me for a loop, as I had always just assumed that using all yellow tomatoes only would produce a yellow sauce.
I forgot to ask if she used any red tomato paste in her sauce. Well, my Co-Farming sister and I decided to give it a shot. We gathered a ton of our yellow tomatoes (note: this is a mix of several heirloom varieties, and we do NOT use chemicals on any of our foods), and started up a batch. Now, this is where it freaks me out:
LD 7
You can see that we have separated the beauties into three groups:
• All red heirlooms
• All yellow heirlooms
• The back bag is a mix of tomatoes with two varieties of Roma’s for tomato paste
We took yellow only and put them through the food strainer to pull out the skins and seeds. When that was done we put it all in the same canning pot we used for the reds:
yell tom b 4 cooking
Then add the same spices as the red mix, we started to heat it all up. You can see it IS yellow when we started.
Here’s where it gets weird – step 2, starting to boil:
yell tom start to boil
Was it turning orange while boiling?
Step 3 – done cooking and ready to jar it up:

yell tom ready to can up
WHAT THE HECK? WHERE DID OUR BEAUTIFUL YELLOW GO?

I have never claimed to understand Mother Nature in the least. However, this was just crazy. We did not use any reds anywhere in the process, yet the sauce turned out deep orange. Here are the two jars now side-by-side:
LEFT RED RIGHT YELLOW SAUCES
Left is our classic Red Sauce, the right is our new Yellow (or Orange) Sauce.
We decided to force ourselves to do a taste test – just to make sure it was all ok to eat and share. Well, the darnedest thing was discovered, the classic mix of all the heirlooms was a bit sweeter than the yellow only.
That part I can kind of understand. I love eating all tomatoes fresh off the vine. I have found that I appreciate the taste and texture of the darker tomatoes much better than the lighter ones (God forbid I have to give any of them up – eeek!). The Black Krim or Cherokee Purple are two of my most favorites.
The yellows have a much milder taste and seem to have more meat in them like a Roma. They are great on sandwiches since they hold together so well. But when it came down to just eating them, the dark ones are my winners.
I guess this was sort of a surprise to me because I based my original thinking on the smaller “snacking” tomato varieties. I have always loved the small yellow tomato much better than the red cherries. I do enjoy the smaller red variety labeled the “grape” tomato. But my very favorite small snacking tomato is the orange – which, unfortunately, is hard to find.
So my bit to share today is don’t freak out when your yellow tomatoes cook up orange, they are still perfectly yummy.

variety of tomatoes

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WHERE DO YOU DO “IT” AT?

Ok, most of you – get out of the gutter! I am talking about food processing here.
We have such a nice new house with outstanding new porches that it would be a shame not to use them every chance we get.
Well, the food processing season has come upon us once again. This time around we decided to do the messiest parts of the job outside whenever possible. The beginning project is beets.
Those of you have (and love) done up pickled beets know just how messy they get. The red in them, I swear, could dye the roughest of materials! With having such a beautiful, huge, new kitchen; the last thing we wanted to do was dye areas with bits of the red mess. Thus our decision to process them outside.
The cooking was done inside as that is easy enough to maintain, but the peeling and cutting are definitely done outside.
I sit on one side of the 8’x8’ area:

8-4 my fav process spot

My sister sits on the other:

8-4 d fav process spot

(Her delicate butt gets the extra chair pad – so not fair as mine is rutabaga style and deserves more!)
We have our garden tool box, music, some plants that will go back into the house come fall, and of course a place to set our drinks. The pics here are when we enjoy the area the most – early morning!
There is a yellow bug light bulb in the porch light to keep most of them at bay. The fun part is when we turn on the south door light (a regular 60-watt bulb), it will draw up all kinds of critters. The critters find their way to the front yard, and we can view them comfortably from our perch.
The honeysuckle is just past the porch which attracts some really cool critters: humming birds, humming bird moths, during the day we get a variety of bees and butterflies. I think I prefer the night ones; they are usually more interesting.
Once we have the base steps done in the house, it is time to venture to the veranda:

8-5 how we process foods-beets

If you look close at the bottom, you can see one of our many un-requested helpers doing what they normally do – sleep (animals!?). Also, note how smart my sister is! She remembered to put on her latex gloves BEFORE beginning – woo hoo smartie! We purchased boxes of the disposable things specifically for the beets and hot peppers. Now we need to have some type of auto-reminder not to touch your face when you are processing foods as you will end up with pepper juice in the eyes, and very pretty red dye streaks all over your face and neck (yes, been there, done that!).

If you enjoyed this (and maybe laughed a bit), then please check out my new blog: Life Lessons Lived where I share more bits and pieces of my humoristic life!

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