st_aurafina: A shiny green chilli (Food: Green Chilli)
[personal profile] st_aurafina
Something I cooked recently:
- Basil-Walnut Pesto
Because the basil needed a big trim. This is sitting in the fridge in a jar waiting for pasta tomorrow, yay. I am always looking for condiment recipes that I can tailor to my needs (which means making them without garlic or onion) and this worked really well with leek and spring onion tops. It's definitely worth toasting the walnuts. And you need a lot of salt. A lot more than you think. It smells amazing, though.

- Gnocchi, again, this time without egg and with a bit more understanding of the dough. [personal profile] lilacsigil rolled them on the butter pat so they had nice ridges for holding sauce. I actually think I like it better with the egg in it? It fluffed up better with the egg, I thought. But nonetheless it was delicious and plentiful, and there are two bags in the freezer for another time. I do like gnocchi day - the industry of it, standing in a production line making tiny bites of delicious. (This is the recipe I use, though I didn't put an egg in this time: How to Make the Perfect Gnocchi.)

- The Browniest Cookies
The first tray of these turned into completely flat cookie-pancakes. They were tasty, but very flat. So I mixed some rolled oats into the batter, and then they stayed round, though they weren't as moist and gooey as they should have been. I used milk chocolate, so maybe that's a contributing factor?

- Spanakopita Rolls
YUM. These were much less messy, made good use of the rectangle shape of the filo pastry, and were really substantial for a meat-free meal. I subbed leek for onion, and left out the garlic to keep it FODMAP friendly for me. Would make again! Would make and freeze.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
I love King Arthur recipes, because they have a button that converts US cups to grams. Very handy! (US cups are slightly smaller than Australian ones.) It was a lovely cake, very brownie-like in texture. Is it weird that I'm starting to prefer the taste of chocolate cake with zucchini in it? I don't think I've made a chocolate cake out of zucchini season, actually. I made this in a bundt tin, and it worked well to stop it getting soggy in the middle, considering how much shredded zucchini I sneaked into it.

- Meatballs with Tomato and Zucchini
Here is my brilliant discovery: rolled oats are awesome in meatballs. I put in breadcrumbs, and the mixture wasn't holding the shape I wanted, so, based on the success with the chocolate cookies, I threw in enough rolled oats to get the right consistency. (And subbed leek for onion, left out the garlic, put in bunches and bunches of parsley since it needed a trim.) They tasted great, in terms of flavour and texture. Next time, I think I would like to give the mixture a little time to let the oats swell up and bind. And up the seasoning, since oats soak up salt a lot. But these meatballs were tasty; we ate them on pasta with a veggie tomato sauce.

Wow, I've cooked a lot since the last Recipe Friday. Good. It's a sign I'm feeling better.


Something I have concrete plans to cook soon:
Easter is coming! I have plans for Easter! Roast lamb, because it's lamb season here, yay.

- Orange Rice Cake, which is the closest recipe I've found to my nonna's rice cake. (Without oranges, because she never made hers with orange.) [personal profile] lilacsigil wants me to make a half-sized cake, because the last one spoiled before we ate it all, and I know that makes sense, but I feel like Nonna wouldn't be pleased with that.

Courgette and cheddar soda bread
To use up the last mini-glut of zucchinis from the garden. I love soda bread recipes - they're really quick to make, and the zucchini should stop it going stale quite so quickly.


Something I'm idly planning to cook in the future:
Takeout-style Sesame Noodles with Cucumber
There's a wave of baby cucumbers about to become a glut of cucumbers, and I should be ready to make them into stuff. (Except pickles - I don't really like pickles?) Otherwise, it will be the usual 'make dinner and garnish it with a whole cucumber' situation all over again.

I guess that's why I bookmarked this six months ago when the northern hemisphere was in full cucumber production:
17 Recipes to Make When You're Simply Drowning in Cucumbers
That green gazpacho looks good.


Garden update

Oh, man, what a crappy season for tomatoes. Facebook kept bringing up memories from last year, of trays and trays of tomatoes going into the oven for roasting and freezing, while this year, the fruit was still green. We've had a few - more than a few - but not the overflowing numbers that mean eating them warm from the vine, giving them to your friends, and stowing away a freezer full for winter stews. At least it wasn't just us - everyone in the region had a bad crop this year.

Two zucchini plants were definitely adequate for two people plus a few for friends. It was nice not to have armfuls of marrow the size of babies, and we definitely had enough for regular meals plus some exciting 'how to cleverly use your zucchini' type recipes. I'd like to grow an heirloom type next year, though the Blackjack are really nice.

I wasn't sure if any of my cucumber plants grown from seed would even produce fruit, so I foolishly planted them all, and thus came the 12-cucumber days of late summer. I have exhausted many peoples' politeness in accepting cucumbery gifts. We grew two types from seed, Lebanese (smaller, wrinklier than English cucumbers) and crystal apple (pear shaped and milky white), and when they were not flourishing, we put in two Burpless seedlings from the garden shop. They all fruited, though very late: we didn't get any until March and then it was cucumbers all the way down. Still worth it, because fresh picked cucumber is a whole other thing compared to the kind you get at the grocery store. They're sweet and crisp and a bit peppery, they have texture and flavour and you can just eat them as it, like a giant green banana.

The same deal went with the button squash seedlings - but they didn't fruit as prolifically as the cucumbers, which is good, because there were six of them, and it could have been a zucchini-style apocalypse. They were lovely, though - for dinner, I'd chop them up very fine and stir them into the rice cooker to steam a little.

I've re-seeded the lettuce patch, as it's starting to thin out. There's still enough to supply two or three big salads per week at the moment, but every time I go out, the patch is a little smaller. We're onto our third punnet of snow peas for the year. The basil is bolting, as usual, but I keep lopping the flowers off. The leeks have been thinned (we ate the thinned ones, om nom baby leeks) and the spring onion patch has about a dozen going at the moment. [personal profile] lilacsigil made the amazing discovery that leek ends will regrow just like spring onion ends, so the leeks that we grew from seed are going back in the ground as we pick them, to rejuvenate. It's amazing.

What else? We tried a punnet of pak choi, and it immediately became slug city, so [personal profile] lilacsigil pulled them out. (It was seriously gross.) Research suggests that we need to remove the mulch layer (because the slugs hide out under it during the day) and use a barrier of diatomaceous earth. We couldn't get any DE, but [personal profile] lilacsigil found a special snail gel that delivers a mild electric shock. IDK, it sounds very Star Trek to me, but if it works, I will be very happy.

Look! Two entries in two days. I really think I'm feeling better.
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