Friday, July 20, 2012

Garden Update and What's for Dinner

The weather is still hot and the garden is continuing to thrive (although the zucchini plants succumbed to some sort of pest).  All the warm weather crops are growing by leaps and bounds and just begging to be photographed. 

   Baby watermelon

 Italian sweet peppers

Corn tassels

The garden is also providing a harvest of veggies everyday.   Soon it will be an avalanche of crops all coming ripe at once begging to be preserved for later in the year.  But for now, the garden is yielding just enough for dinner.  Today's harvest provided the makings of a salad that reminded me of confetti.  The basic salad makings from the garden were butter lettuce, sweet pepper, cucumber, carrots, red and yellow tomatoes plus some purple cabbage from my produce delivery from Washington's Green Grocer this week.

Basic  confetti salad

To make it a meal, I added some avocado, pumpkin seeds, pecans, baked tofu and a dollop of homemade hummus (recipe below after the jump).

To add the finishing touches, I drizzled a little Maple Balsamic reduction (recipe below after the jump) and sprinkled sriracha pepper sauce.

It doesn't take much to make a meal out of what's fresh in the garden or from the farmer's market with the addition of a few items from your fridge or pantry. 

Thanks for reading and bon app├ętit!

Recipes after the jump...

Lebanese Taverna Hummus Recipe

This local Washington, DC area restaurant has some of my favorite hummus and this recipe was in a newsletter they published years ago.

2 cups of cooked chickpeas (or 2 15 oz cans - one with the liquid, drain the other can)
3 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup tahini
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt and paprika to taste

What to do:
Use a blender or food processor to mix chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, salt, paprika and garlic cloves until completely smooth.  If dip is too thick, add a little additional water to thin slightly.  When serving, put a light layer of olive oil over the top and sprinkle with paprika.
Makes 3 cups.

Maple Balsamic Reduction

You will not believe how absolutely divine this tastes or how easy it is to make.  Check out the video for full instructions.

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey

Put both in a heavy saucepan and simmer (do not boil), occasionally stirring, until it reaches the desired thickness - similar to maple syrup.  Put in a glass jar to store.  It will keep for weeks in the refrigerator if it lasts that long.  It's great on salad and over berries or ice cream too.

Makes about 3/4 cup after reducing.

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