As the summer harvest begins to roll in, we start to run into the same dilemma as always: we spend so much time gardening, harvesting, planting, freezing, and canning that we almost forget to EAT our harvest!
See, I'm so tired by the end of the day, it's easy to forget how much I enjoy cooking with fresh vegetables and herbs, how aromatic and uplifting it is to fill the house with the delightful scents of fresh herbs and veggies simmering on the stove top.
Sure, it's great to preserve a bunch of our harvest so that we can enjoy our organic veggies later on in the year, but frozen zucchini just can't compare to a fresh zucchini roasting on the grill. Canned green beans just don't measure up to fresh beans sauteed in olive oil with a bit of garlic. And dried basil is well.... so much blander than fresh.
So this is the time to savor the most delicious food that we will eat all year. So why do I keep working outside so late in the evening that I find myself too tired to cook anything more than a simple meal???
Today I decided to find an easy pasta recipe (as it turns out, in the latest issue of Hobby Farm magazine) that utilizes most of what is ready to eat in our garden: eggplant, tomatoes, basil, peppers, onions, and garlic.
Above is a photo of some of those veggies that I picked for dinner tonight, including purple onions, Mark Twain tomato, Goldie Yellow tomato, Black Diamond eggplant, Orange Banana Paste tomato, and a Jimmy Nardello sweet pepper. Yum!
The recipe is fairly simple. After sauteeing the veggies together with some garlic, a bunch of fresh basil is tossed in, and the whole affair is eaten over penne and topped with a ricotta-mint mixture.
Since the recipe called for some ricotta cheese, I decided to try making some (for the first time) from our farm-fresh raw milk, which we buy from a local dairy. HERE is the recipe for ricotta- which, as it turns out, is so super easy, there is almost no reason to buy ricotta from the store. Who would've thought??!
Making the ricotta was fun! Here's a photo of the ricotta cheese after the curd has formed but before straining:
And finally, nothing goes better with pasta than a loaf of fresh-baked bread. But (if you are a tad on the lazy side, like me) who has time to bake bread?? YOU do... If you are making No-Knead bread, that is.
Check out one of our previous posts here that describes this fantastic bread and gives some great links, including one to a video that demonstrates how to bake the easiest, and possibly most delicious, bread you have ever eaten!