The month of August is flying by and it will soon be Labor Day. Even though the temps are still warm, we'll soon turn our attention towards fall and cooler weather.
Right now, it's hot here with the temps hovering near the 90 degree mark. We're about 6" under our normal rainfall. We're watering regularly to keep our garden going. Our tomatoes are finally ripening. We finished harvesting the sweet corn last night. Some of that golden goodness went into the freezer for later eating and some of it was consumed by us. Yum! If you haven't had sweet corn that's just been picked, you don't know what you are missing. It is so sweet, tender, and delicious! We've had a running battle with the critters over the corn. Hubby discovered an old method that seems to have kept them out of the patch long enough to harvest the corn. I'm not saying what it is, but it does work! LOL!
Our pear tree is drooping under the weight of the pears. I had to tie up some of the branches to keep them from breaking. Some of that harvest I may turn into pear jam. I found a recipe for it in an old cookbook I have called Make Your Own Groceries. It has recipes in it for making from scratch items that you now to buy in packages at the supermarket. I'll skip the additives, preservatives, chemicals, and such and make my own, thank you. The author also has a second cookbook called More Make Your Own Groceries. I love old cookbooks like this that don't call for using packaged mixes and such to make them.
Hubby's cousin Sue from Colorado was in town visiting last week. She came over with my FIL for dinner on Tuesday night. She's a vegetarian and that's what I cooked. Though we do eat meat from time to time, we eat vegetarian more often than not. For dinner, I served white bean and sage crostini, sweet and sour cucumbers, and a summer squash and rice salad. We finished up with slices of banana bread, zucchini bread, some very sweet canteloupe, and coffee. Yum! There wasn't much leftover when we were done. Now that I've teased you with the menu, I'll post a few recipes.
White Bean & Sage Crostini
3 tb olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1-15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
2 tb water
salt & pepper
1 ripe tomato, seeded and diced
Slice the baguette on an angle into 1/2" thick slices. Brush one side with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet; bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes until hot and crispy. Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat oil. Add onion, garlic, and sage. Cook for a few minutes until onions are translucent. Add beans and water; salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a few minutes until hot. Mash the beans to make a rough puree (some will still be whole). Top each piece of bread with some bean puree and diced tomato. Serve warm or at room temperature. Note: You can substitute other herbs or spices for the sage. (The four of us ate almost the entire loaf!)
Sweet & Sour Cucumbers
1 small onion, sliced into rings
2 tb vinegar
2 tb sugar
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes
1-2 tb olive oil (optional)
Peel cucumbers, if desired. If seedy, slice them in half lengthwise and use a small spoon to scrape seeds out. Thinly slice cucumbers and onion. Layer cucumbers and onion in a bowl or a jar with a lid. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a little olive oil. Combine vinegar and sugar in a glass measuring cup. Microwave until hot. Carefully stir to dissolve sugar. Pour over cucumbers. Cover; let stand for a bit. Shake it up or stir to blend flavors. (Sometimes I will pour the dressing back into the cup and reheat it to speed the pickling process along.) These fresh pickles get better the longer they stand. Serve at room temperature or cold. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Note: You can add chopped green peppers to this if you like. Serves 6.
Summer Squash & Rice Salad
4 c diced summer squash or zucchini, unpeeled
2 c fresh sweet corn kernels
salt and pepper
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2-3 tbl white or cider vinegar
2 c steamed rice, cooked and cooled (I used more than this.)
Feta or crumbly cheese and diced tomatoes, optional
Place the rice in a big heatproof bowl; set aside. Put 2 tbs of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add squash and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and slightly soft. Stir in the corn during the last minute or so of cooking. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the squash mixture over the rice; mix well. To make the dressing: add a little more olive oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion; cook until translucent. Stir in garlic and cook briefly (do not burn!). Stir in the cumin and vinegar; let cook for 1-2 minutes for the flavors to blend. Remove skillet from the heat. Pour the dressing over the squash and rice. Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve warm or refrigerate until serving time. You may serve with feta cheese and diced tomatoes if you desire. Serves 4-6.