From The Garden

Food, food, food, thank goodness I can still eat. Although cooking is sometimes challenging, eating is one of my remaining pleasures in life. I especially enjoy finding ways to use the organic produce that I grow myself in my garden. Healthy eating is a passion of mine and my husband and I have been pescatarians for several years now. What is a pescatarian? We are vegetarians who eat fish once in awhile. We have chosen this lifestyle because there are a lot of health issues in both are families and I frankly don't need any other medical problems to deal with, so over the years we slowly began to eat a healthier and healthier diet. It was very easy to make gradual changes and eventually we decided to go the vegetarian route. We were surprised to find that not only do we get to eat a ton of good food, but that it feels pretty nice knowing we are helping the environment as well. I have developed a lot of quick and easy recipes and thought I would share some. I hope you enjoy them.

My vegetable garden

Zucchini Soup

This is a great fast and easy soup. I have tried to make it fancier with more ingredients but never like it as well as this simple yet delicious version.

Pick several small zucchini(around 5 or 6) and cut into chunks
Cook in 1 cup of water until very tender
Put in a pinch of salt
Blend until smooth with an immersion blender
Stir in one tablespoon of your favorite fat or oil (I use Smart Balance)
Season to taste

Top with choice of grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil, a big dollop of Greek style yogurt, or my favorite, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and enjoy. Serve with a big hunk of toasted french bread (I love Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Sour Dough).

Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce recipes are usually time consuming but this is my quick/slow version. It is a basic tomato sauce that can be used later in a variety of recipes. It is quick to prepare but takes a long time cooking to bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes. I make up a big batch and freeze it in small containers to have on hand. With a few additional ingredients it can be made into a variety of meal in minutes.

10 lbs. fresh organic paste-type tomatoes
6-12 garlic cloves (more or less as preferred)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
6 zucchini and/or crookneck squash
1 hot pepper

Wash the vegetables thoroughly. Cut the tomatoes into large chunks and squeeze out all the seeds (kids love this). Cut the squash into thick slices. Peel and smash the garlic cloves. Place all the ingredients together in a large shallow pan and mix. Bake in a moderate 300 degrees oven until half of the moisture has evaporated. The time can really vary depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes and the depth of the pan. My latest batch took 5 hours. Stir occasionally to keep the top from burning, but a little char adds a nice smokey flavor. Blend in a food processor, blender, or use an immersion blender, until nice and smooth. Spoon into containers ( I use canning jars and then freeze). Makes approx. 5 pints.