Archives for posts with tag: recipes

Confession: We have been cucumber failures. Utter abysmal defeat. Bugs got ‘em. Disease got ‘em. So we quit trying. Garden what you’re good at, right?

Then last year we cleared some gardening space in our back yard. It’s a long story but we almost quit the erratically-managed community garden where we’ve rented for a decade. At the last minute, CRR caved. So we’ve got two gardens: our back yard and the community garden mile away.

Time to experiment. We have about six hours of direct sun at home, so we tried vegetables that have failed us time and time again in the full-sun community plot. The sugar snap peas have had a spectacular season. No issue there – we eat them right of hand, or in salads. Arugula and butter lettuce have had a long spectacular season, apparently loving the cool shade. We love it.

cukesBut the cukes. O.M.G. After two months of agonizing over their lazy interest to thrive, BOOM, the vines took off. I watched the cute little yellow blossoms turn into tiny cucumbers-to-be. They’re climbing the trellises and threatening the tomatoes.

Now we are reaping the harvest. Suddenly we have 6-8-10-inch muscle-bound cukes. Gulp. After so many years of failure, I am ill-equipped to deal with this onslaught.

I’m making a mandoline-thin sliced cucumber feta salad for dinner tonight. But clearly I need more ideas. Send me your recipes! #Help!

Sandy K. Johnson is a journalist who writes real news and is a fierce protector of the First Amendment. 

We didn’t plant any squash this year. It takes up too much room, the yield is either irritatingly small or aggressively large, yada yada. But in the normal course of events, Mother Nature gave us a volunteer. We watched it set blossoms for weeks, then months, before it finally revealed itself:

Zucchini.

crazy zucchini

Not my favorite squash. Not even close. But what are you gonna do? I let it push around the rosemary, then start to strangle the weaker tomatoes, then go head-to-head with the horseradish. (back story: CRR and I love history, and our garden often provokes weird inside jokes about world dominance) I decided the zuke deserved a shot. The Italians are such underdogs.

Because it’s a volunteer and its potency thus diminished, the zuke is producing about one or two squash a week. This is a manageable quantity, as you gardeners who have been literally overrun, can attest to.

We’ve had zucchini many ways in recent weeks, at a leisurely pace. My favorite is a cold dish of zuke thinly sliced to mimic pasta dressed with lemon and mint. I first tried the recipe offered by our friends and fellow bloggers, Ruth and Tim. This is a variation thereof.

Minted Zucchini Ribbons

Cut some small zucchini in half and remove any seeds. (or cut a BIG one in fourths) Run through thinnest setting on a mandoline. Put the ribbons in a bowl, then add a couple Tablespoons of minced chives and mint in proportion to the amount of zuke. Make a vinegarette of fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over zuke ribbons and herbs and mix well. Serve on plates with crumbles of goat cheese or feta cheese. Serve immediately or chill briefly until serving.

Share your favorite zucchini recipe. We know you’ve got ’em!!

Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA.  Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening.