A Second Harvest

0928_zucchinireduxAfter it became clear that summer squash had made the Hurricane’s top-ten summer veggie list, we planted a second batch of zucchini soon after the first batch had tapped out. This time around, they occupy real estate formerly held by under-producing purple royal beans. Located at the edge of the bed — which seems to work well and allows them to drape down to the grass — they occupy about four square feet of space. The three young plants (seeded around 8/21) contributed to a delicious Moro side which accompanied the ridiculously chewy good burgers from Porter Road Butcher. And there are more to come. Both burgers and courgettes.

(Note: three plants may not be sufficient unto the day. The zucchini appear to take a little longer to mature in September than they did in July. And, well, three plants weren’t enough in July, either.)

Courgettes with Almonds
(proportions and ingredients customized to POD’s harvest, but adapted from Moro East) — feeds three as a small size

8 oz courgettes (AKA zucchini) topped, tailed, an sliced into thin rounds
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs blanched almonds (I’ve also used marcona almonds and pine nuts)
1 small garlic clove, thinly sliced
8-10 cherry or plum tomatoes, blanched, peeled, halved, and seeded (optional) (confession: I have never blanched, peeled, and seeded a cherry tomato. Ever. I’m sure that the chefs would shudder, but come on, that’s crazycakes.)
1 tsp chopped mint (POD’s mint is recovering from a failed attempt at keeping it corralled in a container. Don’t worry, it’s gonna’ pull through, but I substituted fresh oregano last night and it worked like a charm.)

Toss the courgettes with the salt and place in a colander. Allow them to sit for at least 10 minutes over a draining board or sink, then pat dry with some paper towel.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the almonds and fry for a few minutes, until they just start to turn a pale pink-brown, then remove them with a slotted spoon and add the courgettes to the pan. (Keep on eye on the almonds as they will go from perfect to burned within seconds.) Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and half the mint and continue to cook for about 15 minutes, until very soft, sweet and starting to break down. Now return the almonds to the pan an cook for 5 minutes more, squashing any bits of tomato tomato that are too large for your liking. Add the remaining mint, season with salt and pepper and serve.

First Harvest & Easy Weeknight Eats

41914_firstharvestLeave it to mint to withstand one of the hardest winters this gardener has experienced since moving from Michigan to Philly nearly 20 years ago. A winter so miserable, in fact, that it killed off the very thyme first featured in one of POD’s very first posts.

Moment of silence, please.

Thank you — moving on to dinner. Once again, the marvelous Moro comes to the rescue with this quick, easy, bright, meat-light, almost-pantry (in a pinch, the prosciutto could be optional — or you could use bacon or ham, I suppose.)

41914_ingredientlist(More than less) From Moro: The Cookbook, by Sam and Sam Clark

Sopa de guisantes
Pea Soup with Jamon and Mint

4 tbs olive oil [POD used 2 tbs]
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 bay leaves, preferably fresh [plant a bay plant, easy indoor mascot, so worth it]
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
150g [5 oz] jamon serrano (cured ham), finely chopped [see photo for POD’s version]
1 small bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
500 g [just over a pound] podded peas, fresh or frozen [who can find a pound of fresh, in-season peas, ever? Frozen are fine, fresh would surely be divine.]
1 litre chicken stock [appx. 4 c.]
sea salt and black pepper

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat, add the onion, and when it has turned golden add the carrot and bay leaves. Continue to fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the garlic, two-thirds of the jamon and half the mint. Give everything a good stir, fry for another minute or so, then add the peas. Cook for a couple of minutes before adding the stock. Simmer gently until the peas are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Ladle the peas and stock into a food processor or liquidiser [immersion blender, thank you] and process until smooth. Return to the pan, season with salt and pepper and add the remaining mint. Serve with the rest of the jamon on top and an extra drizzle of olive oil.