Saturday, September 6, 2008

Summer's End

I love to grow my own veggies and herbs over the summer. The rewards of a garden are so diverse and fulfilling that I'm definitely going to keep this hobby going as long as I possibly can, even after I "grow up" (i.e. move out, when I have to!) - containers in an apartment, herb pots on the counter, anything! This summer brought not only me but my family and Andrew an insane amount of healthy, pesticide-free, (mostly) heirloom vegetables! We also gained an immense amount of respect for the sheer power that nature has over the quality (not to mention quantity!) of the budding veggies and fruits. The summer was filled with long, hot, stick yourself in the freezer days coupled with inevitable bring-the-house-down thunderstorms, and while the tomatoes loved that treatment, we had a few casualties too...

If you've ever had a garden of your own before (or known someone who did) you undoubtedly have heard stories of giant zucchinis emerging, some of which are larger than a toddler (and others which travel buckled in!). I was really looking forward to dealing with the bounty this year, since I had marked down a couple delicious sounding snacks and meals to make with the leftovers (and, if you do have an abundance, take a look at this recipe... I'm so jealous!). Alas, by early July, we knew that there would be no summer squash on our table this year. Both our zucchini and cucumber vines began to wither, shrivel and turn yellow, and the tiny fruits that had begun to grow started to turn black and mould. Sigh. I guess the cucumber pickles that I grew dill for are out of the question too!

Thankfully, I'm fortunate enough to have a pretty decent number of options when it comes to buying locally farmed and grown produce. Not only do I have an array of farms and farmer's markets within spitting distance of me, but our supermarket chains have finally started to take notice of what our local producers have to offer. In fact, a few days ago I had Charlie Kondek (who represents an ad firm for Loblaws) send me a link to one of their most recent info spots on TV (this one specifically pertaining to Ontario, though they have the others here), and I thought I'd post it here for those who want to see a bit of my backyard!



This particular farmer, Phil Tregunno, is also a major employer in Ontario during harvest season. Hand picking is a lot of work, and 100 supplementary employees throw themselves into the challenge every year. The result is piles and piles of peaches and plums in the store that taste as good as those from the farm, with less driving! You can find out more about your local supply farms here.

Zucchini and cucumbers notwithstanding, we were very lucky this year to get as much as we did (and are still) from our garden. What better way to say farewell to the throes of Summer gardening than with a big, hearty breakfast before (or a restful lunch after) reaping the last harvest? Thanks to Foodland Ontario for the original idea - it's a delicious, filling and completely customizable recipe! I'm also sending this off to NoobCook, who is hosting Andrea's event Grow Your Own... between the red pepper, chives and tomatoes in this dish it's full of homegrown goodness!

Garden Eggs in Spuds
Serves 4
4 medium-large Russet baking potatoes, scrubbed
PAM or cooking spray
2 button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1 Roma tomato, diced
8 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp minced chives
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/3 cup shredded low-fat Cheddar cheese

  1. Pierce potatoes 3-4 times with a fork or skewer.
  2. Place in microwave, cook on HI for 15 minutes, or until soft. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Slice potatoes in half and scoop out half the flesh from each half, reserving for later use if desired.
  4. Microwave empty shells 3 minutes longer.
  5. Preheat broiler, and place potato shells on a non-stick baking sheet.
  6. Heat a non-stick frypan sprayed with cooking spray over medium-high heat.
  7. Add mushrooms, red pepper and tomato.
  8. Cook 5 minutes, stirring, until tomato liquid has mostly evaporated and the vegetables are softening.
  9. Beat together egg whites, salt, pepper, chives, garlic powder and onion powder.
  10. Pour into frypan and cook, stirring, until eggs are mostly set (they should still be a bit runny).
  11. Divide egg mixture between the potato shells and top with Cheddar cheese.
  12. Broil 4-5 minutes, until cheese has melted and begun to crisp. Serve immediately.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 234.0
Total Fat: 0.9 g
Cholesterol: 1.8 mg
Sodium: 177.7 mg
Total Carbs: 42.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
Protein: 15.2 g

The last bit of random news for today is about school - see this photo?? That's chapter one of my $120 college math textbook. Yes... the title is "Using the Calculator". Hmm... my tuition dollars at work?

4 comments :

noobcook said...

I live in a city and how I envy that you live in such close proximity to the sources of fresh produce! Your recipe sounds really good, thank you for sending in your wonderful entry to GYO! ^^

DaviMack said...

Here I was, thinking that it was a picture of YOUR backyard ... and I just jumped right in to watch the video!

I, too, envy your gardening space!

ttfn300 said...

that sounds fun :)

Andrea said...

What a tasty way to use your homegrown produce. It sounds like your garden was pretty prolific this summer, lucky you! We had a few casualties as well, but all in all have had good output. Your spuds and eggs sound great!