Thursday, June 19, 2008


Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice! We've been having a heat wave in LA, and tender things like lettuce, as well as the end of the winter veggies, radishes, beets, and even parsley, have been bolting even here, as we hug the coast. When our arugula bolted, we ate lots of its wonderful white flowers in salads and pastas. We waited until the the plant made its seeds, and then saved them in the same envelope that the original, purchased seeds came in. They will sit in the dark garage, awaiting fall's cool down so they can be planted. I also saved seeds from our peas, and doubtless we will be saving more and more favorites as time goes by. The tomatoes that Fred grew from last year's fruit (the first time we tried seed saving) are thriving. It puts a whole other kind of fun into the process of growing things!

It was my birthday last week, and Fred bought me a worm farm! It hasn't come in the mail yet, but I will post about it as soon as I get it. I can't think of a better birthday present than fresh, homemade worm poop for our garden!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

Zucchini Summer

Zucchini's are coming in, and there are too many already! We've decided to do a zucchini recipe marathon, to see how many things we can do with them before we can't eat them or even look at them anymore.

First Installment: Zucchini Carpaccio, from Gourmet Magazine, March 2003

This recipe was inspired by the version at Tramonti e Muffati restaurant, where the dish gets its distinctly Roman flavor from local mint, Sicilian lemons, and two-year-old Grana Padano cheese. The pine nuts are raw here, as Italians rarely toast them.
Active time: 10 min Start to finish: 20 min

Servings: Makes 4 first-course servings.
4 small zucchini (1 lb total)
1/3 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup pine nuts (1 oz) 1 (6-oz) piece Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Garnish: thinly sliced tips of 2 zucchini blossoms; 4 fresh mint sprigs
Special equipment: a French Mandolin or other adjustable-blade slicer

Cut zucchini diagonally into paper-thin slices with slicer. Arrange slices, overlapping slightly, in 1 layer on 4 plates.
Make stacks of mint leaves and cut crosswise into very thin slivers, then sprinkle over zucchini.

Whisk together oil and lemon juice in a small bowl, then drizzle over zucchini. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper to taste, and pine nuts. Let stand 10 minutes to soften zucchini and allow flavors to develop.

Just before serving, use a vegetable peeler to shave cheese to taste over zucchini, then sprinkle with zucchini blossoms and mint.

I also put some sliced French Radishes and carrots from the garden on top. Pretty. I also toasted the pine nuts. YUM.

Serve Along With Pan Fried Rainbow Trout With Orange, Mint And Fried Capers, From Domino Magazine, May 2008

The Ingredients:
Serves 4
3 oranges
1 cup flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
4 rainbow trout (¾ lb. each), cleaned
1 bunch mint, 18 whole leaves set aside, remaining leaves chopped
4 sprigs rosemary
olive oil for frying
3 tbsp. capers, rinsed and thoroughly dried
1 ½ cups dry white wine
3 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Prepping the fish: Preheat oven to 200°. Slice 2 of the oranges (with rind on) into ¼" rounds. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine all but 2 tablespoons of the flour with the salt and pepper. Add 2 fish at a time into the bag and shake until well coated; transfer to a large, rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fish. Stuff the cavity of each fish with 2 or 3 orange slices, one sprig of rosemary, and 3 whole mint leaves.
Cooking the fish: Juice remaining orange; reserve juice. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add fish and cook until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to another large rimmed baking sheet, and place on the center rack of the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining fish, adding more oil as needed. Toss the capers with the reserved 2 tablespoons flour, shaking off excess flour. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the frying pan, add capers, and cook until slightly crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Add wine to the pan, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce the wine to about ¾ cup. Add the reserved orange juice and the chopped mint. Continue to cook for about 3 to 5 more minutes, until somewhat thick. Turn off heat and add the butter, swirling the pan to melt it. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer fish to a large serving platter, and top with sauce. Garnish with fried capers.

*We skipped the flour coating on the trout and grilled it on the 'que instead. Delicious. We did pan fry the capers good.