Recently I purchased a unique kitchen tool from Pampered Chef. It slices veggies into strips similar to sphagetti. I've used it on cucumbers and zucchini and I made a salad for dinner tonight using the tool on zucchini. I was watching Aarti Party, a cooking show, and she was making a zucchini ribbon salad. I don't have a mandolin that slices ribbons, but I do have this little tool so I decided to use her ingredient list and cut the zucchini into strips.  I took a picture but it turned out awful! I wish I had checked the camera before we ate the salad, because I couldn't redo the picture!! So, you will have to use your imagination a bit!

The dressing for this salad is supposed to have fish sauce but I used oyster sauce because that's what I had in the fridge. She also used lime juice but I had lemon. She used fresh chopped chilis, which I didn't have, so I used chili paste instead. I also added about a tablespoon of soy sauce and a bit of olive oil, and 2 finely grated garlic cloves.  The other ingredient she added was cilantro and I used dill from the garden. I loved the tang and heat this dressing gave off. I could have used a little more heat but Richard doesn't like much heat so I was careful not to over-do with the heat. Oh yes, I also added 2 tablespoons of brown sugar...and lovely hot/sweet/sour combination that was perfect with fresh zucchini.

I added several varieties of heirloom tomatoes and marinated it for 1/2 hour before we ate. It was DELICOUS! You might, however, get a different opinion from my husband! He's not as much of a fan of asian cuisine...me? It's my favorite! When I opened the container it was marinating in he said "WHAT?...is that SMELL?" Good grief!!! I could have said the same thing to him when he brought in the grilled burger he wanted for dinner!! I don't care much for burgers and wouldn't miss it if I never had one again!  We also had the sweet corn we bought at the farmer's market today and it was so sweet and tender!

A perfect summer dinner....in MY opinion!


This morning we went to the Farmer's Market in downtown Toledo. We've been going on a pretty regular basis due the fact that the drought conditions we had in July greatly effected our garden!  Last year we had bumper crops so I did a lot of canning and freezing. It's a good thing, because some of the leftover canned things will take us into the late fall.  I do have some things to can from the garden and that should be enough to carry us through until the next growing season. 

For any farmer or gardener, this is normal! It's just part of the program. I keep thinking of all those who are CSA farmers. We have one down the road from us and their prouduce looks amazing, but they did some pretty heavy watering or it wouldn't have been that way!  We have a well for water supply, and with the dry conditions, you really don't know how much you can water without putting your own water supply in jeopardy. So, we water the tomatoes, and the basil, and my flowering plants. The rest depends on Mother Nature. Fortuneatly for us, She came though at the very last moment and most of the plants and veggies were rescued. The dry conditions greatly effected the yield.

While water effects the yield, CRITTERS do as well!! In the 20+ years we've lived and gardened here, we never had a rabbit, coon, deer, or woodchuck in our garden before. This year? We had deer, rabbits, coon, AND woodchuck!!! HORRORS! But, I've heard other farmers say the same thing! There is a huge woodchuck hole in the middle of the corn patch. We planted 12 , 50 ft.long rows of corn. An early variety and a late variety. The night before we harvested the early corn, the coons had cleaned us out! Not one ear left on the stalks! The later varitey we harvested last week. Normally from this amount of corn we would harvest about 8-10 bushels of corn. We'd have plenty to eat, can, and give away. This year, we didn't even have enough to fill a picnic cooler! So sad! Gladly I froze so much last year, we should be able to make it until next July!

Our tomatoes are just beginning to ripen so it won't be long until I start canning them and making marinar sauce to can. We've been out for a couple of months and I've missed it so much. The taste is so different from anything else! I still have some basil that I will be using for more pesto and basil cubes, and we have lot of peppers so it's time to make more hot pepper marmalade!  If I am going to can pickled green beans I guess I'll have to purchase them from the market because the beans didn't do well either this year. I did manage to can about 60 quarts, but our son wanted 50 quarts for his family. Sad to say, they will only be getting half that amount. As the year progesses, we'll share with them if it looks like we have extras. 

ZUCCHINI! There is such a funny story in the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle , about zucchini. There is a tradition that during zucchini season, when you know people are away from home you drop off all your extra zucchinis on their porch anonymously! While I think that's funny, I would rather find someone who actually wants them and will use them. The hard thing is finding those people!!  I think I'm going to make some zucchini pickles this year. I love a good bread & butter pickle, but I'm the only one here that does so I never can them. This year, we have so many zucchini that I think I'll make one batch of pickles for me!! I love them with cottage cheese...crazy..I know!

We love our zucchini. I make the most delicious summer vegetable chowder with it, cake, muffins, bread, casseroles, and grilled! It is SO versatile! For years I have frozen it but I don't like the outcome and I always end up throwing some away the next year. That's a lot of work to go to waste, so this year I'm not planning on doing that.

Tomorrow we'll have one of our favorite zucchini dishes - calavasa. I believe that's spanish for squash. It's a spicy dish that my mother always cooked and it's served over rice. So delicious! I also have some okra from the market and I'll fry that along with some green tomatoes which I bought. The next day we'll eat the fresh beets I bought. Normally we would have beets coming out of our ears! I usually pickle at least 2 dozen pints of beets but ours didn't even grow! Not only that, we love the greens and would eat them every day for as many weeks as we could! I recently read that someone planted them in August for October harvest. I think we'll give that a try. We'll wait until a little later in the month and hopefully have some for Thanksgiving!

I'm watching Aarti Party on the Food Network and she's going to make a raw zucchini salad so I need to go and give that my full attention! It's one way I have never had it!!