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I love this time of year. The drifting of summer into autumn…. the shadows lengthen… the sunlight softens… the end of the growing season is approaching… but not fully here yet. I was noticing on my hike today that the lush greenery is at its peak now. We were lucky and had plentiful, if a little sporadic, rainfall throughout the growing season. And it is evident everywhere.
I was gone for the first two weeks of August and asked my youngest son to look after my basil plants while I was gone. This year, for the first time, I tried growing basil in containers on the deck. I had heard that basil does not grow well in pots but I thought I’d give it a try anyhow. I bought 12 plants and placed six plants each in 2 large containers. Early in the season we had several hail storms and I almost lost the whole crop in the first storm in early June. Fortunately, all plants survived except one… and I became ready to spring outside at the first plinking sounds to cover up the basil. Had I planted the basil in the back vegetable garden this year instead of easily reachable containers, they would have been toast. But to my surprise they grew just fine in their soon-to-be-crowded containers. So nice to have fresh basil in the summer! I had enough to make a batch of pesto about once a week. And it is so easy to make compliant pesto: just fresh basil leaves, a little fresh parsley, minced garlic, chopped walnuts, fresh parmesan, and enough olive oil to hold it all together. I like my pesto more like a tapenade than a sauce so I just finely chop the basil and parsley leaves and then crush them a little with a mortar and pestle. Mix all together and…. ahhhhh… so good. I found that I mostly used the pesto as a spread on rice crackers as I do not eat much pasta these days, but it was delish on pasta as well.
My son did very well with looking after the basil and he even made pesto himself one night! Not bad for a 13 year old. But… I forgot to tell him to check on the zucchini. To be honest… the zucchini was in the back garden and there had been a hot and dry spell before I left. I just did not get around to watering it much. I thought it was practically dead by that point . But there was a plethora of rain while I was away and when I came back the zucchini plants had resurrected. I nervously went back to check it this weekend and I found 2 absolutely huge zukes growing. Those of you with experience growing zucchini know what I mean! With zucchini that large there is only one choice… Zucchini Parmesan, of course. Just like the eggplant variety only substitute the zukes for the eggplant. Now I don’t know about you, but I can no longer be bothered with making compliant bread crumbs for the breading. In my younger years, I used to do that but now I just find that too much fuss. So I substitute spelt flour seasoned with oregano for the breading part. So it goes like this… dip the zuke rounds in flour, then egg wash, then flour again and into the frying pan to sauté a bit in olive oil to set the ‘breading’ Then layer in a baking dish with mozzarella cheese and ‘No tomato Tomato Sauce’ (recipe located in recibase)… and bake. So easy!! And very good too!!
Now… If I can only think of something useful to do with all those weeds that came in with the rain….
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