Zucchini Crostini with Fresh Ricotta

August 17, 2012 § 4 Comments

I always dedicate a large part of my garden to summer squash. I just can’t seem to help it. It doesn’t matter how many times I grow more squash than I can eat, I always think I’m going to want more.

This year, instead of repeating my standard zucchini habits, I’m trying to branch out in my squash skills. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still making plenty of steamed and stir fried squash dishes, and I definitely plan to make zucchini bread, but I also want to get more creative.

In that same spirit of creativity, I also decide to make use of this incredible cheese making book that has been sitting around my house for months now. On a regular basis, I open it up and page through the many amazing recipes it offers. Every time I do this, I commit to buying a few of the (many) cheese cultures used in the book. And then I forget, and the next time I want to make cheese, I am sadly lacking ingredients.

Despite this silly cycle, I realized I could still make ricotta…it doesn’t require any cultures! And it was so yummy that I am newly invigorated to buy some cultures and expand my cheese making capacities.

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Garden Pasta

August 8, 2012 § 1 Comment

Back in June, I visited a relative’s home in Sebastopol. Simply put, her garden was out of control.  Her squash had already peaked, and mine had yet to bloom. Her beets looked as though they had been growing for years, and mine were just starting to look edible. And she had leeks that were literally 4 feet tall.

I left feeling impressed, but also a bit inadequate. I knew my garden was doing just fine, but I was still jealous! Well, now that it is August, I have to say that I am pretty happy. My garden is just on the verge of peaking. I have started to get squash, and still have tons of blossoms on the plants. My tomato plants are several feet tall, and are drenched in green tomatoes. And my eggplant and pepper plants are speckled with buds and flowers.

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Tea Time Ice Cream

August 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

I love ice cream. A lot. But my boyfriend loves ice cream more. He loves it so much that I have considered buying an ice cream lock to protect my ice cream. He seems to think that if I don’t eat a pint in one sitting, I don’t want it any more!

Despite the many pints of ice cream that have mysteriously gone missing from my freezer, or maybe because of all these pints, my boyfriend deserves some credit for this ice cream recipe. Specifically, he deserves credit for three things:

  1. He is the proud owner of the ice cream maker I use. We tried making ice cream a few times without an ice cream maker. This involved whisking the ice cream every hour during the freezing process to minimize the formation of ice crystals. The whisking method led to decent, but not incredible, ice cream. I’ve also read that you can use a blender or food processor once or twice during freezing in instead of whisking, but I haven’t tried. Now that I have access to an ice cream maker, I’m not sure I ever will…
  2. He made a similar ice cream flavor last winter, which was a huge hit with everyone who tried it!
  3. Like I said, he loves ice cream! So he is always eager to try new flavors with me!

The basic idea behind this ice cream is a tea party! Of course, you have the tea. You also need a suitable cookie, in this case shortbread! And finally, I added a little lavender from my garden as a twist. I’m pretty sure you could substitute this ice cream for an afternoon tea or coffee any day, as the earl grey definitely packs a little caffeine punch!

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