Zucchini and tomato salad

zucchini tomato saladThis is basically a Jacques Pépin recipe, from his book “Fast Food My Way!”

2 or 3 5-7″ zucchini

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup tomatoes, diced

2 sprigs fresh thyme, oregano or cilantro

olive oil, lemon juice

optional: pablano pepper, diced; 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, diced; red, green or yellow bell pepper, diced

With a vegetable peeler shave the zucchini in thin slices the long way. When you get to the seedy center, pivot the zucchini and shave the other sides. Throw out the seedy center. Put shavings in a non reactive bowl, sprinkle with salt, and toss. Add the rest of the ingredients. Toss together and serve. Serves two.

You will not believe how good this tastes, and it was ready in 5 minutes. There is no reason to serve zucchini any other way. Of course Jacques has a recipe for zucchini and tomato gratin that I want to try.



Cherry harvest

2013 has turned out to be a good pie cherry year.

2013 has turned out to be a good pie cherry year.

We are picking pie cherries. What are pie cherries? Pie cherries are sour cherries that are generally cooked in pies and other delicacies rather than eaten fresh like sweet cherries. Our variety is called Northstar and is relatively hardy in Iowa, though the trees, at least at our place, are not very long-lived. Our cherries make good pies, but aren’t bad straight off the tree either, if they are really ripe. When I am picking, I have a taste now and then.

Poblano Pie

poblano chilis

poblano chilis

Poblano chilis are mild – they have only a little more zing than a green bell pepper – especially if you remove the seeds and the ribs. They are dark green and about 4 inches long and 2½ inches wide. We raised ALOT of them in 2012. I think we had 6 plants and each one was LOADED with chilis. We’d pick them one week, and the following week there were more! This recipe is my desperate attempt to use some of our bounty. It is partly inspired by a recipe I saw on Martha Stewart.com, and partly inspired by the Chipotle burrito bowl.


  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 large onion, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 jalapeno chili, (seeds and ribs removed for less heat), minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 5 poblanos, halved down the long axis, seeds and ribs removed for less heat
  • optional: 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, or pepper jack cheese
Poblano pie

A slice of poblano pie with some beautiful peppers on the side.

Cook rice according to directions, set aside. Heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add onion and cook until tender, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and boil down to almost dry. Add and stir together drained black beans, jalapeno, chili, cumin and cooked rice. Arrange poblano halves in a pie plate, Pour rice and tomato mixture over poblanos and top with grated cheese (if desired). Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Serve with lime wedges, sour cream and tortilla chips on the side. Serves 4 – 6.

Roasting tomatoes

This is going to be an excellent year for tomatoes. They are coming on strong now.

We freeze our big tomatoes:

  1. Wash the tomatoes
  2. Core and cut in half or quarters
  3. Put 4 or 5 tomatoes in a quart freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, seal bag and freeze

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