Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Haight Bench community garden.
This summer I became part of a community garden. Years ago someone talked to the owners of a vacant lot in our neighborhood and got permission to grow food on it. 
This is the first year that I've been involved in the garden. I've always raised a few things in my own yard, but I didn't have time for a big garden when I was working full-time. Now, I have more time and a lot less money, and this is a good way to save on our grocery bill. It's been good to learn a little more  from some of the other experienced gardeners. 

The corn is so fresh-tasting that there's no need to enhance it with butter or salt. Especially when it's on the table in just a couple of hours after you pick it! 

The two zucchini plants in the foreground were planted by me, and I'm proud to say that they are producing pretty well (is there any zucchini plant that DOESN'T produce very well?) 

I've also picked a few cucumbers, which are growing just behind the zucchini plants. 
If you also have some "cukes and zukes" growing in your garden, here are two ideas for using them:  

Cucumber Limeade is like sipping summer in a glass. 
I got the recipe a few years ago from Londa Davis of Bite Size Catering, who lives in our neighborhood. I helped out with a wedding reception where Londa was catering, and one of my jobs was keeping the punch bowl filled. So I found out just how simple this refreshing drink is to make. 

12-ounce can limeade concentrate
2 liters Sprite (we use Diet Sprite)
1 sliced cucumber
1 gallon crushed ice
Place limeade concentrate in a large pitcher. Add Sprite, cucumber and ice. Serve!

· · · · ·

My Zucchini Tart is another quick-fix favorite, thanks to refrigerated pie crust and flavored cream cheese. Zucchini gives off a lot of moisture during cooking, but if it's sliced thinly and placed on top of the cream cheese (rather than at the bottom), the liquid evaporates and tart doesn't get soggy. I like using a mandolin to get very thin, uniform zucchini slices. If you've got some fresh herbs like oregano, basil or rosemary growing, sprinkle them on for added flavor. I also like adding thinly sliced tomato (but they're not ripe in our garden yet!)

1 9- or 10-inch pie crust, unbaked
8 ounces chive-flavored cream cheese
1 large or 2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Place crust in a tart pan or pie plate; prick with fork. Bake 6-7 minutes at 400 degrees, until crust just begins to turn golden. Remove from oven; allow to cool slightly. Spread cream cheese over the crust; this is easier to do when the cheese melts slightly.
Arrange zucchini slices on top of the cream cheese mixture, in two or three overlapping circular layers. Sprinkle with Parmesan, pepper, salt and garlic powder. Bake at 400 degrees about 10 minutes, or until crust is browned and zucchini is tender. If crust edges begin to get too brown the last few minutes, cover with a ring of foil, a crust protector, or a paper plate with the center cut out.
Variations: Use other flavors of spreadable cheese, or flavored soft goat cheese, and add thin slices of tomato.

1 comment:

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