The Vegetable Strike of 2010

We shake our head as we pass the "hot" garden beds with tomato, squash and pepper plants. While the rest of the country is enjoying thick, juicy tomato sandwiches and grilled zucchini, we are lucky to have a few green tomatoes on the vine. It has been unseasonably cool and wet here in the northern coastal region of Oregon. I've planted corn three times and the peppers twice. We haven't had so much as one cherry tomato ripen! And, who has ever heard of a zucchini plant not giving it's all to feed the entire neighborhood?
It looks like we will have to make a trip eastward to Hood River for some fresh, hot-weather vegetables this year. On the bright side, the flowers and berries have never been so prolific!

Berries of every type need picking each day. With over 50 blueberry plants and rows of boysen, rasp, straw, marion and goose berries, the freezer is full and the pantry gleaming with jars of colorful preserves. I am always on the lookout for good berry recipes. Here are three delicious recipes other than desserts that you other berry lovers may want to try.

3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups raspberries (or other berries)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 dash onion powder
1 tsp. "liquid smoke"
Place ingredients in saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes until sauce is thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat; cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor or blender; cover and process until smooth. Strain seeds. Store in the refrigerator.

Dressing & Marinade:
1 cup sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tbsp. prepared mustard
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. grated onion
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
Combine ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate 1/2  to use as dressing. Use the other 1/2 of dressing mixture to marinade 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts for one hour, covered and refrigerated. Grill or cook chicken breasts. Chill.
Sliced chicken breasts (marinated and cooked from above)
Mixed salad greens
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup fresh, firm berries
1 cup crumbled Bleu or Gorgonzola cheese
Plate the above ingredients, then drizzle with the berry dressing.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter, cold, cut in chunks
1 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift together the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using 2 forks or a pastry blender, cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and pour in the heavy cream. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Fold the blueberries into the batter. Take care not to mash or bruise the blueberries because their strong color will bleed into the dough.
Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until brown. Let the scones cool a bit before you apply the glaze.
Mix the lemon juice and confectioners' sugar together in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon zest and butter. Microwave it for 30 seconds on high. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps, then drizzle the glaze over the top of the scones. Let it set a minute before serving.



Kari from Kansas said...

I'll trade you my tomatoes for some of your nice weather :+)

Anonymous said...

I love a garden ripe tomato eaten right next to where I picked it. Not too many things better tasting than that.

If only we could trade "some" of the weather for "some" of the tomato's.

Another bright side to the the Northwest is that we don't get those tomato worms like in the midwest.

Thanks again Nancy, I appreciate the smiles and good feelings you bring to life.