Saturday, August 29, 2009

Corn and Zucchini Salsa

Made this tasty little salsa with zucchini, corn, and peppers from the garden. Found it in The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest, which suggests serving it with chips or grilled chicken breasts. I enjoy it in warm corn tortillas with black beans and a dollop of sour cream. Also dee-lish on a taco salad.

Corn and Zucchini Salsa

3 medium zucchini
1 1/2 t salt
2 ears yellow corn, husked
4 T olive oil
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 c fresh lime juice (8 med limes)
1/2 c cider vinegar
2 jalapenos, seeded and minced
1/4 c finely chopped scallions with tops
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Toss zucchini with salt and "sweat" for 3 mins in a nonreactive colander. Rinse and dry on paper towels.

Coat the corn with 2 teaspoons of the oil and roast on a cookie sheet in a 400-degree F oven for 30-40 mins. Cool. But off the kernels and scrape the cobs.

Combine the zucchini, corn, remaining oil, tomatoes, lime juice, vinegar,jalapenos, scallions, garlic, and pepper in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 mins.

Ladle into hot, clean jars. Cap and seal. Process in a boiling-water bath for 15 mins, adjust for altitude, if necessary.

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Notes:

I took the kernels off the corn first and sauteed them.

I will use more than 2 jalapenos the next time I make this.

I froze instead of canned, so I didn't heat up the mixture at all.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Damn the Late Blight

After all my nurturing -- 22 tomato plants from seed -- I've been defeated by the late blight:


This disease has been running rampant throughout Vermont this season, affecting both potatoes and tomatoes. I thought I had beat it. My potatoes were fine, and there were no signs of blight on the tomatoes until about two weeks ago...

Late blight is the same disease that caused the Irish potato famine of the 1850s. It's airborne, serious, and thrives in wet weather -- the first half of our summer. The newspapers are telling us all to destroy the plants to help stop it from spreading next year. It apparently doesn't overwinter in the soil, so that's an advantage, but it can overwinter in infected potatoes left in the soil.

I'm so reluctant to pull up and burn the plants. Tomatoes are always the glory of my garden; canning salsa is my gateway to fall. I've harvested a few unblighted fruit and am I've been waiting to see if I can get any to ripen before they turn. But I think the battle is over. I'm going to need to buy a bushel or two.

A sad season indeed.

A

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Harvesting...

Pole beans. First pick last night, and I got a couple pounds. Funny how they sneak up on you like that.

Zucchini. Funny how these grow like four inches overnight. Going to slice, blanch, and freeze.

Cherry tomatoes. Only about a half a dozen so far. Love 'em.

Lettuce. Enjoyed many a salad this summer. Starting to bolt because of the heat.

Cukes. Picked about six pickling cukes and two Straight 8s. Will surely be pickling this year.

Peaches. All picked. About 20 in the first year. Small but very flavorful.

Potatoes. Need to dig up Round 2.

Beets: Late, small, few.

Chard. Highly productive. Can't keep up with it.

Peppers. First jalapenos last night. Also a small Spanish hot pepper that we sauteed and salted and ate with tortilla chips and tacos. Nice and chipotle-y.

Tomatoes, corn. Not yet.

Monday, August 3, 2009

July = A Wash

From the July 25th Burlington Free Press:

-3.9: The departure in degrees from the average temperature on July. Twenty of the first 23 days this month were cooler than normal.

82: The high temperature recorded this month.

13.8: Inches of rainfall that has fallen since May 1. There has been at least a trace of rain in 22 of the past 28 days.

6: Days in the start of June that have been classified as "clear" by the National Weather Service.

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There's not much more to say about this. July has been cool and wet. One of the reasons I haven't written much this summer. (The other reason is that I traveling two weeks of the month.) And if you don't spend much time in the garden, you don't have much to write about.

In the past week, however, I've meandered out there whenever I had a chance. The weeds have tried to take over, but most of the plot looks great. The plants seem a little behind schedule, but as long as the frost holds off, they'll eventually produce something, right?

A couple days ago (July 27th) I dug up the garlic, and it was disappointingly small. Too wet? Bad seed cloves? Soil issues? Who knows?

I've also been cutting lettuce for a few weeks. Lettuce has had a very happy season. The chard also looks beautiful, and we braised some for dinner the other night (with some red pepper and a splash of red wine vinegar.)

The corn is about waist high. The tomatoes are tall but seem light on fruit. Same for peppers. They all need some warm, dry weather, I presume.

Peas, beet, and soybeans had a lame season. I replanted the soy beans three times, but only a few plants survived. I think something may have been eating them down as soon as they sprouted.

Potatoes: We dug up about 30 a few days ago. Most are bigger than I would've preferred.

Blueberries: Picked a couple quarts yesterday. Some sour, some sweet. Can I do anything to make them all sweet?

Peaches: Reddening beautifully, but I don't know when to pick them. Am waiting for them to soften a bit, then I'll try one.

Weeds: I've railroaded about 3/4 of them in the past few days. I love weeding. Mostly for the pride of the finished product. But also because it gives me a reason to crawl between the corn and peek under the plants. When you weed, you know what's goin' on out there. You can talk (to yourself), and nobody argues or disagrees with you. And you can practically feel the plants grin with gratitude when you remove their competition.

Anticipating a dryer and warmer August...