Welcome to Week 8! During this time of the year I always get the desire to begin a challenge be a self sustainable homesteader for a year. It reminds me of the Barbara Kingsolver book, Animal Vegetable Miracle. When the gardens are producing more than you can eat, animals are growing well and the weather is great, it’s easy to think…”I could do this every day.” But soon enough winter will be here and the lettuce at Cub Foods will be a welcomed sight. That being said, there might be times when you have more than you feel like eating. Some things are quite easy to keep by freezing or drying them for those not so abundant winter days. There is always something satisfying about reliving a bit of summer when you open up something that you preserved.
Here are a couple ways to freeze some common vegetables:
Zucchini: Simply slice or grate zucchini and put in a freezer bag raw and freeze. It is convenient to have a recipe in mind, like 2 cups for bread, and freeze that quantity so you can thaw it all out at once. When the zucchini is thawed and used, the juice can be used in the recipe as well.
Beets: It is helpful to cut the beets so they are the same size, but don’t cut up into bite size pieces as they lose much juice when cooking. Place the beets in a pot and add enough water to cover all the beets. Cook the beets with the skins on until tender, about 25 minutes. Cool the beets, peel, slice like you want, bag and freeze.
Beans: Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add the snapped and washed beans to the boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes. Remove the beans, cool, bag and freeze.
On to this weeks basket:
Zucchini, cucumbers, onions, carrots, dill weed, parsley, basil, string beans, are all things you have seen before. I have a couple of great ideas for using them in the recipes that follow. Also this week is something new, Fennel. On fennel all three portions can be used. Fennel is not too common, but has an unusual licorice flavor. The leaves can be used in a salad, or as an addition to potatoes or other vegetables. The roots can be used in soup or stew and the bulb and stalk can be baked like other vegetables.
The potato tray consists of mostly 2 varieties: Purple Majesty, the all purple potatoes are a favorite around here. Purple Viking, the purplish pink skinned potatoes are also a great tuber. Try to use the potatoes quickly as the plants were still green and the potatoes may tend to soften if kept too long. If you can’t use them too soon, try to keep them in a cool, dark place but not in the fridge.
4 cups thinly sliced zucchini
1 large onion thinly sliced
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon basil
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
9 nine inch pastry shell
1. In large skillet sauté onion, zucchini and butter until tender.
2. In large bowl whisk the eggs, parsley, salt garlic powder oregano basil and black pepper.
3. Stir in the cheese and zucchini mixture.
4. Spread mustard on pastry shell and pour in your egg mixture.
5. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 35-40 min or cover and freeze unbaked for up to 2 months.
Roasted Vegetables with Fennel
2 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
1 pound small potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½-1 pound string beans
1 bunch carrots (or asparagus)
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Cut the fennel bulbs into 4 wedges. Place on a sheet pan. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and place them on the pan. Cut the carrots in half, or in 4 pieces if larger.
3. Drizzle the olive oil on the vegetables, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss with your hands.
4. Roast the vegetables for 25 to 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, tossing once while cooking.
5. Toss the string beans with the roasted vegetables and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes, until tender.
6. Sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and roast another minute or until the cheese is melted.
7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve hot.