by Charlene Burgi
The late May freeze we experienced in Lassen set our garden back and destroyed the fruit that had just started to set on the fruit trees. Sadly our short growing season grew even shorter and the chance of bumper crops is but a faded dream.
As luck would have it, we were blessed with visiting guests that came bearing gifts from their gardens in Marin, Sonoma and Grass Valley. Zucchini, green beans, all types of tomatoes, garlic, onions, arugula, peaches, plums and figs soon filled the refrigerator to capacity. Chopped salads were the hot item as the temperatures soared into triple digits. Steamed vegetable medleys followed as the temperatures dropped. As guests left, the remaining vegetables prompted thought of what to do with the leftover bounty.
It didn’t take long to decide what needed to be dehydrated, canned, frozen, or made into something scrumptious and new. The “scrumptious and new” category drove me to find fresh vegetable recipes. While perusing the internet, I found recipes were more tantalizing for me if they didn’t require indoor cooking. With that said, I found this winning recipe to share with you:
Grilled Italian Bread Salad with Basil and Feta
2 small zucchini, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 small red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
1 red or yellow pepper, quartered
1/4 cup olive oil
4 slices French bread, preferably day-old, 1 inch thick
4 tomatoes, quartered
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
Preheat your barbecue to medium. Brush the vegetables with 1 tbsp of oil. Lightly oil the grill and barbecue the vegetables, turning often until tender, 3 minutes or so. Remove each piece as it is done. Grill the bread until it is toasted, about 2 minutes per side. Chop the bread and vegetables; combine with tomatoes in large bowl. Whisk remaining oil with garlic and balsamic vinegar, seasoning it with salt and pepper. Drizzle over bread mixture, tossing to coat. Transfer to platter and scatter the feta and basil. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
It is that time of year to share the wealth. If you have a favorite recipe to share with others, post them in the comment section for all to see.
Take the 20 Gallon Challenge
Pledge to reduce your water use by 20 gallons per day, and you could win high-efficiency clothes washer, water-wise landscape design or other great prize! In response to a record dry spring, MMWD has joined with other members of the Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership—the nine North Bay cities and water districts that use Russian River water—to promote voluntary conservation this summer through the “20 Gallon Challenge.” Visit 20gallons.org to find simple water conservation ideas and to take the pledge.