Monday, August 3, 2009

Summer's Bounty

What do you get when you leave your garden unattended for a week in July? A sinkload of zucchini as big as your femur. Ok, maybe not as big as my femur, but twice the size of Audrey's femur, hands-down. Seeing a sinkful of straight-from-the-garden produce makes me feel blessed. Blessed by the warm carefree days of summer where Mother Nature does the hard work and I sit with my free pass and watch her spectacular show. Blessed that when I do have to get up from my seat to assist in Mother Nature's assembly line, my body is able and willing to do the physical work. Blessed by the vibrant colors, shapes, and tastes - each piece a once-in-a-lifetime to awaken the senses. Blessed by the small pair of fresh eyes and hands at my waist that remind me that adventures are as close as our backyard.

Of course, when I see this same produce out of the sink and and sprawling the width of the refrigerator drawers and shelves in a manner that would make a claustrophobic person gulp for air, I feel a little overwhelmed. This kind of overwhelmed requires a plan. One that sent Audrey and I to the grocery store today in search of all items zucchini-accompaniment-friendly, and me seeking out zucchini-clad recipes new and old. First up: Giada De Laurentiis' Pasta Primavera with a side of fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants bruschetta. The pasta is colorful and fresh and has a light summer feel with just a touch of olive oil and cheese en lieu of sauce. (Disclaimer: I lost track of time and roasted my veggies a bit too long, but I do wish there was a little more of a kick to the dish. What can I say, I'm a big marinara girl). And the bruschetta? It was surprisingly not too shabby, either.

Kristin's Fly-By-The-Seat-of-Her-Pants Bruschetta:

Loaf of Italian Bread
Handful of cherry tomatoes (or as many needed to fill your number of slices)
Few leaves of fresh basil
Mozzarella cheese
One garlic clove
Olive Oil

Jason and I had some great bruschetta while in Dallas, so when we came home to find a handful of cherry tomatoes ripe for the picking, we had bruschetta on the mind. While bruschetta is all about flavor for me, it's more about texture for him. He wants his bread to "melt in his mouth" rather than crunch against his teeth. I tried to make both of us happy with this recipe (or course, I left the bread in just a hair too long to reach perfect "melt in your mouth" goodness for Jason, but we were close).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees (my oven was already set to this for the veggies, so that's why I picked this temperature). Put a glub of olive oil onto a cookie sheet. Roll cherry tomatoes in olive oil and spread out on pan. Put them in the oven to roast for a few minutes until they split open. As tomatoes roast, cut desired number of bread slices. Press one garlic clove (or finely dice and smash with a knife to let out juices) and spread a little on each slice. Top with cheese. Tear or slice basil and sprinkle a little over each slice. Cool tomatoes until just able to touch. Dice tomatoes and use them to top bread slices. Return cookie sheet to oven until the cheese has melted. Enjoy.

Round One of Mission: Refrigerator Freedom a success. Time to get out the grater for Round Two. Zucchini Bread anyone?

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