Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Zucchini & Orzo Salad w/Basil

If you're growing them, you're trying to find something to do with them or you will be soon.
If you aren't, you may start finding them on your porch in the morning....

I'll admit, I've never felt the need to grow zucchini, but I've often been gifted with them and found ways to use them. This salad is probably one of my favorites.

I'm not sure if I had even tried zucchini before, but many years ago we were participating in the Landis Valley Herb & Garden Fair.

It was in the early days of the fair and Fridays were a by invitation only affair for the press and special friends of the museum. On Friday night, May wine was served along with a various little canapes.

On Saturday, lunch was catered and as (some of the few) vendors, lunch was free to us as a little something extra (for our $35 table fee!) One year, this salad was the main course and I loved it. I tried in vain to find the recipe and actually picked up a few other good ones along the way, but for some reason, the original was finally published in our newspaper and I was sure to copy it down. I hope you will enjoy it too!

Zucchini & Orzo Salad w/Basil

4 Med. Zucchini, coarsely grated
2 T. Salt
2 C. (packed) fresh basil
½ C. Olive Oil
3 med. garlic cloves
8 C. chicken broth
1# Orzo
¼ C. fresh lemon juice & zest
ground black pepper
1 C. imported Kalamata olives
Basil sprigs

Drain Zucchini in colander. Sprinkle with 1 T. salt. Let drain 30 min. Stir or shake twice. Squeeze dry. Transfer to large bowl. Fluff with hands to separate.
Place basil & olive oil in processor 1 minute, drop garlic in and blend.
Add Zucchini to basil mix.
Bring chicken broth to boil in medium saucepan. Stir in 1 T. salt and orzo, return to boil. Simmer 10-15 min. ‘til orzo is tender. Drain.
Stir all together and cool to room temp.
Just before serving, stir in lemon juice and zest (if desired) Season with pepper. Garnish with olives and basil sprigs.

For more zucchini recipes, visit my friends:

Becky - Zucchini Fritters
Tina - Zucchini Bread Recipes
Patricia – Stuffed Zucchini

Karen – Zucchini Pizza
Cindy – Calabacitas
Beth – Zucchini Brownies

Next, Cucumber!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A String of Blue Beads

So, I said I'd show you what I did on the torch last week when the weather was so temperate.

I made a few other things, but this set is my favorite.

The base is a very pale transparent aqua and the flowers and vines are a pale sky blue. They're pretty right out of the kiln, but I etched them so the design shows up more clearly and they appear to glow from within.

I can see them made into a bracelet to be worn on a tan wrist. Perfect for the summer.

Where did I get the name? One year for Christmas, when I was about 7 or 8, one of my gifts from my parents was a book called A String of Blue Beads. I think the theme was something like The Gift of the Magi. I always remember that gift because for some reason it made me feel very special. It may well have been the last Christmas our parents were together and it was a nice memory.

Monday, July 05, 2010

A Stinky Post!

Look what I harvested today!

Last fall one week, we played hooky from "our" market and visited another nearby market. Lo and behold, one of our fellow vendors was set up there too. He had some lovely garlic bulbs and I asked about growing them. He explained the process and so I took them home and planted them, really expecting nothing.

When the snows melted this spring, I went out to see what was happening around the yard and - there they were! Green shoots where we had planted the single cloves.

I cut the scapes and used them when they "bloomed" and waited. When I was out weeding and tying the tomatoes the other day I noticed that the foliage was looking yellowish and wondered if this was the cue to harvest.

I checked with Tina's Yahoo list and was told they are ready when the first few sets of leaves were dried up. Then, I was given instructions to dig, not pull, them and then to hang them in an airy place where they could cure.

I waited until the heat returned today(!) and decided it was time to dig them. I couldn't wait to see how they had fared.

You can see my harvest above. What a thrill! No more garlic in a jar for us.

The tomatoes will be ready soon, basil is producing profusely, now we have our own garlic. We'll be eating a lot of Pasta Fresca this summer. (Recipe from "Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home") Heck, I might even have to make my own mozzarella!

I have them bunched and hanging in the shop. They may have to be moved outside. Don't want the soap to pick up their "scent."

I actually did manage to get to the torch during our brief spell of gorgeous temperate heat and low humidity weather and I will post the results soon.