Thursday, September 20, 2012

Demobilizing the garden

It's that time of year - we've had a few hard frosts and if you haven't rescued your veggies from the garden, you're running out of time!  Here in Smithers, the growing season is pretty short, and despite having said it every year for the past 3 years, I have no yet rebuilt my greenhouse.  So I have to rely on crops that will put out under the normal outdoor growing conditions in my area.  This year, the growing season was surprisingly hot here, but it was still too short for my liking.

Today I want to share some recipes for things to do with the stuff from your garden, particularly where it comes to saving them for later.


I could actually use a bit of help with zucchini this year.  I'm overwhelmed with it at the moment, and I already have 6 loaves of zucchini bread in the freezer!  Is there anything else to do but make more zucchini bread?  Here's my favorite recipe from Our Best Bites

Chocolate Zucchini Bread {makes 2 loaves} 

Recipe by Our Best Bites
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c canola oil
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 3 c grated zucchini
  • 3/4 c mini chocolate chips (I just use regular ones)
  • optional: zest from one orange
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T white sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans and set aside. For the record, this recipe fits perfectly into one 8" and one 9" loaf pan.
Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Place flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

With a stand or hand mixer beat oil, white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs until combined and slightly fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix until combined. Gently stir in the grated zucchini (and zest if you’re using).

Take a spoonful of the flour mixture and stir in with the chocolate chips, then mix the remaining flour mixture in with the wet ingredients. Stir just until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine. Divide the batter between the two pans. and sprinkle topping over each. Bake in your preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes

Pumpkin Zucchini Loaf (with chocolate chips, which are not mentioned in the original recipe but which I feel are entirely necessary for any loaf... *urp*)

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or chocolate chips, if you're like me)
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Add pumpkin, butter and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini and nuts. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until breads test done. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack. 


We loooove pickled beets!  We eat them all the time in winter, and you can use the brine in lieu of vinegar for interesting salad dressings. My go-to recipe for pickling beets is this one: Canned, spiced pickled beets

You can also use the beet greens - just steam or saute them like you would spinach, and serve with a bit of butter.

Don't want to pickle all of your beets?  Beets last for a looooong time in the fridge, so you can probably keep them in there for at least a month after you pick them.  Try roasting them with other root vegetables for a fantastic side dish: Roasted beets n' Sweets


I always get a fair ton of potatoes from the garden - a different variety each year.  Two years ago, I went with Russian blue (purple potatoes!), last year with red, and this year I tried Yukon gold. They've all been pretty fabulous, but these Yukon gold are so moist and juicy!  Delicious!

I keep most of our potatoes in the crawl space in the cardboard box raised off the dirt.  That keeps them cool and dry, and I just bring enough up for a few meals at a time.  We often roast potatoes with the Easy Roast Chicken, but I'm a sucker for mashed potatoes... even more so at Christmas, when my mom makes then "special".

Special Mashed Potatoes

Peel and boil enough potatoes for about 10 people.  Once you've drained them, add 1 cup of sour cream, half a cup of cream cheese, and a head of roasted garlic cloves (squeezed from the skin).  Mash together with a bit of salt and pepper, adding butter and milk if it's really lumpy.  Then put the whole mess in a casserole and pop in the oven at 350F for about 20 minutes until the edges start to brown a little.  Better smashed taters you will never taste!


I really thought with the warm weather we had this summer that this would be the year that my tomatoes ripened.  Alas, last Saturday morning I woke up to the first hard frost of the season and had to go running outside to rescue 10 more pounds of green tomatoes.  Thankfully, there are wonderful things you can do with green tomatoes. One of our favorites is this green tomato chutney, which is fantastic on pork chops and sausages.  Every year that I make it, I fail to write down the exact recipe or where I found it.  But this is basically what I do:

Green Tomato Chutney

  • 2 1/2 pounds firm green tomatoes, about 6 cups diced
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
Trim the tomatoes and dice them up into smallish pieces. Add cider vinegar to a large pot over medium-high heat, and add the brown sugar, stirring until it dissolves.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour until the tomatoes and onions are soft and the mixture is thickened. Spoon the chutney into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Add lids and process in a water bath canner for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on your altitude (I use 20 minutes for Smithers). If any jars do not seal, use them immediately.

Green Sauce

Another great green tomato recipe is the green sauce that I make to go with Tacos de Lengua.  Click the link for the full taco recipe (fantastic recipe too, btw). This recipe isn't really boonies-friendly, but if you have access to the more unusual ingredients I'd highly recommend it as a substitute for regular guacamole.
  • 2 tomatillos
  • 2 green tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno (1/2 seeded)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 avocados
  • juice of 1 lime
  • cilantro
  • salt
Coarsely chop tomatillos, green tomatoes, garlic & jalapeno & saute over medium heat until soft.

Halve & scoop out the avocados & puree in a mixer. Add softened vegetables, 1/2 a bunch of cilantro, juice of 1 lime and salt and puree until smooth. Put in a bowl to cool.


This is actually my first year for growing kohlrabi in the garden, but I can tell you it won't be my last.  Kohlrabi looks a bit like a turnip, tastes a bit like broccoli, and grows like crazy in my garden. I've been told that I should have harvested it when the bulbs were about 2" in diameter, but I've been harvesting big bulbs and just trimming off the hardened root and some of the skin.  So far, I've only eaten it raw, sliced and sprinkled with a little bit of salt, but I'm excited to try the following recipe from Farmgirl Fare.

Kohlrabi Puree

  • 4 kohlrabi bulbs with leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp cream (or milk, chicken stock, olive oil, or water)
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Rinse the leaves (discarding any that are yellow) pat them dry, and coarsely chop. Set aside. Trim the kohlrabi bulbs, peeling them if the skins seem tough. Cut the bulbs into 1-inch chunks.

Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil, and add the kohlrabi chunks. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, another 1 to 2 minutes. Don't let the garlic brown.  
Add the mushrooms and the reserved kohlrabi leaves to the skillet. Cover, and cook 5 minutes. Then uncover, and cook, stirring, until all the liquid has evaporated, 3 minutes. Set the skillet aside.  
Drain the kohlrabi chunks and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add the mushroom mixture and the cream (or whatever substitute you're using). Purée until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer the purée to a saucepan and reheat over low heat, stirring, 2 minutes. Serve warm.

And those are just a few of the things that I'm rescuing from my garden this week!  Hope that you've also had some gardening success, and if you haven't started a garden yet... why not try?

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