Tag Archives: tomatoes

Israeli Salad Decked Out!

With mostly freshly picked home grown vegetables, I assembled Israeli Salad sans the peppers (my plants were started too late), then spruced it up a bit with sliced hard cooked eggs from my dear Welsummer ladies.  Had some mushrooms that needed using, so sliced a couple of those as well to add.

Israeli Salad with eggs

 

Zucchini & Cheese Casserole

What a delicious surprise this recipe is i found in an old recipe book a good friend gave me.  In my search on how to prepare zucchiniwithout making a sweet bread, i stumbled on this one!  Have already made it multiple times to great reviews and made a couple more that i put into the freezer with cooking instructions written with a Sharpie marker on the foil covering it.

Zucchini & Cheese Enchiladas or Casserole*

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 large bell pepper chopped (optional)
  • 6 cups chopped zucchini
  • 16 to 18 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes

Directions:

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the flour, chili powder, and cumin to make a thick paste.  Add the milk, a little at a time, using a wire whisk.  Slowly add the cheese, stirring constantly until cheese is melted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add bell pepper and zucchini and sauté 2 more minutes.  Add ¼ cup of water, cover, and steam veggies until tender.  Remove vegetables from heat, and drain excess liquid.  Gently mix in 2/3 of the cheese sauce.  Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish.  To assemble, place two tortillas side by sade at one end of the pan.  Spread a generous amount of filling down the center of the tortillas, then fold them over and roll up the tortillas.  Place filled enchiladas seam-side-down in the pan.  Continue in this manner until you have filled the pan.  Spoon remaining sauce on top and garnish to tomatoes.  Bake, uncovered, for 20 -25 minutes.  Serves 8

*I prefer making this as a casserole since it’s much easier.  i do take the time to prepare freshly made corn tortillas with Masa Harina, then loosely layer the flavorful tortillas on the bottom of the pan, then top with half the zucchini/cheese mixture, layer another set of tortillas and spread the remaining zucchini/cheese mixture.  Spread the remaining 1/3 of cheese mixture on top, then dot the whole casserole with diced tomatoes.

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Home grown zucchini, canned diced tomatoes (my tomatoes are WAY behind in growth), and i found this Masienda brand of Masa Harina, bought it and LOVE it, then flavor is awesome.
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but i do find it challenging to make the tortillas.  I have greatly improved my technique and final product since taking this photo.
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Casserole ready to pop into the oven.
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Rolling Prairie Cookbook available from several vendors but published Rolling Prairie Farmers Alliance in Northeast Kansas.

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To keep from needing to drain extra water out of the cooking mix, i chop the zucchini then set it inside a large piece of cheesecloth.  Let it rest at least 10 minutes, then squeeze the heck out of it.  A great amount of green flavorful water will be removed.  I freeze this water up for making soup later this winter.

More Dysfunction in our Food Supply

This article appeared in our local newspaper. It’s another sign of a dysfunctional food distribution system in our country as well as around the world. Local produce being dumped while imports of the same continue arriving on our shores.

SQUASHED PLANS

 

Coronavirus claims an unexpected victim: Florida vegetables

April 8, 2020
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In this March 28, 2020, photo, a pile of ripe squash sits in a field, in Homestead, Fla. Thousands of acres of fruits and vegetables grown in Florida are being plowed over or left to rot because farmers can’t sell to restaurants, theme parks or schools nationwide that have closed because of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Cover photo:  In this March 28, 2020, photo, DiMare farm manager Jim Husk walks among plants in a tomato field, in Homestead, Fla. Thousands of acres of fruits and vegetables grown in Florida are being plowed over or left to rot because farmers can’t sell to restaurants, theme parks or schools nationwide that have closed because of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

PALMETTO, Fla. (AP) — Mounds of harvested zucchini and yellow squash ripened and then rotted in the hot Florida sun. Juicy tomatoes were left to wither — unpicked — in farmers’ fields.

Thousands of acres of fruits and vegetables grown in Florida are being plowed over or left to rot because farmers can’t sell to restaurants, theme parks or schools nationwide that have closed because of the coronavirus.

Other states are having the same issues — agriculture officials say leafy greens in California are being hit especially hard, and dairy farmers in Vermont and Wisconsin say they have had to dump a surplus of milk intended for restaurants.

With most of its harvests in the winter months, the problem is acute in Florida. For example, a few dozen people clamored to buy 25-pound (11- kilogram) boxes of Roma tomatoes direct from a packing plant over the weekend in Palmetto, a city on the western coast.

The cost per box? Just $5.

“This is a catastrophe,” said tomato grower Tony DiMare, who owns farms in south Florida and the Tampa Bay area. “We haven’t even started to calculate it. It’s going to be in the millions of dollars. Losses mount every day.”

Florida leads the U.S. in harvesting tomatoes, green beans, cabbage and peppers this time of year. While some of the crops are meant for grocery stores, many farmers cater solely to the so-called food service market — restaurants, schools and theme parks — hit hard as cities and states have ordered people to stay home and avoid others.

The loss has created a domino effect through the farming industry, Florida’s second-largest economic driver. It yields $155 billion in revenue and supports about 2 million jobs.

Many growers have donated produce to food banks, but there’s a limit on what the charities can accept and storage is an issue for perishable fruits and vegetables. DiMare said some central Florida food banks are full after theme parks shuttered and donated massive amounts of produce.

“We gave 400,000 pounds of tomatoes to our local food banks,” DiMare said. “A million more pounds will have to be donated if we can get the food banks to take it.”

Farmers are scrambling to sell to grocery stores, but it’s not easy. Large chains already have contracts with farmers who grow for retail — many from outside the U.S.

“We can’t even give our product away, and we’re allowing imports to come in here,” DiMare said.

He said 80 percent of the tomatoes grown in Florida are meant for now-shuttered restaurants and theme parks.

In the past week, 20 federal lawmakers from Florida and state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried sent letters urging U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to include Florida farmers in federal food purchase and distribution programs so the surplus crops can help feed the hungry and food insecure. Some 37 million Americans struggled with hunger before the pandemic, according to Feeding America, a nationwide network food banks.

The federal coronavirus relief act contains $9.5 billion in aid to farmers.

Some farmers have tried to branch out and sell produce boxes directly to customers, an approach taken in many places as the pandemic slams the restaurant and catering industries worldwide.

Wholesalers in London who usually sell fruit and vegetables to restaurants have pivoted to home deliveries. But large-scale farmers know selling harvest baskets won’t do much for their bottom line.

On the U.S. West Coast, farmers who grow lettuce and other leafy greens are feeling the pinch.

“The tail end of the winter vegetable season in Yuma, Arizona, was devastating for farmers who rely on food service buyers,” said Cory Lunde, spokesman for Western Growers, a group representing family farmers in California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. “And now, as the production shifts back to Salinas, California, there are many farmers who have crops in the ground that will be left unharvested,” particularly leafy greens.

He said a spike in demand for produce at the beginning of the outbreak has now subsided.

“People are staying home and not visiting the grocery stores as often,” Lunde said. “So the dominoes are continuing to fall.”

In southern Florida, Paul Allen, president of R.C. Hatton Farms, took a video last week of row after row of vibrant green beans that were scheduled to be shipped to the restaurant industry.

“You can see this is a huge field of green beans,” he said, lifting his cellphone camera to show a tractor plowing all the healthy plants and their beans into the soil.

Allen, who farms about 12,000 acres (4,900 hectares) in Florida and Georgia, is praying that things improve by the time crops in north Florida and Georgia are ready to be harvested over the next two months.

“You just hope you can live another day,” Allen said.

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Associated Press writer Amy Taxin contributed to this report from Orange County, California.

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Garden is Done

Last night hit 31 F and my garden is wilted and done.  Sadly, there are several large green tomatoes which will not ripen, but not a loss – fried green tomatoes are a treat.  My tomato plants just didn’t get a good early start this year; same with Zucchino Rampicante Squash.  Only two are grown and large.  Incredibly, last year, i had so many of these and they are such good keepers, that i still have 3 of them to eat!  It was a challenging year for growing food.

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This squash is ripened and i’ll harvest it today.
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This monster at nearly 4 foot long isn’t ripe – i’ll harvest it and hope that it will finish in the house.

Mom’s Goulash

September’s meal for Refuge Ministries, Mexico, Missouri was an old favorite of ours which was published in the Centennial Baptist Church cookbook shared by Frankie Levingston, the mom of my dear high school chum, Sharie Levingston.

Mom’s Goulash 

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb ground beef (i use our home raised fully grass-finished beef)
2 cups pasta
3 cups chopped tomatoes or 1-15 oz can sauce
1/2 cups chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped peppers (we prefer green beans, okra, or such)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup cubed cheese (use your favorite)

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare pasta as per package instructions, drain, set aside.  While pasta is boiling, brown ground beef in a large skillet with chopped onions, add tomatoes or sauce, with optional vegetables.  Stir to just mixed, then add pasta.  Mix carefully then sprinkle about 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese over top along with the cubed cheese.  Replace lid and put on low heat until cheese starts to melt.  Serve over bed of lettuce if desired.

Prep time:  25 minutes

Servings: 6

Author:  Frankie Levingston, Centennial Baptist Church (Mexico, MO) cookbook.

My photos show this recipe multiplied by 10 to prepare enough for the Refuge plus have some meals to deliver to friends and neighbors who are recovering from surgeries.

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Brown the ground beef along with the chopped onions.  Oh, if you forget to put the onions until after the beef is browned, it’s okay, just go ahead and add them.
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My garden produced bunches and gobs of Asian Long Pole Beans, so i chose them for my recipe.  Fresh beans need to be precooked before adding to Mom’s Goulash.  Mine are cut into 1/2 inch length pieces and I added 1 gallon of them.
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Pasta, pasta – Here i’ve placed 14 cups dried pasta to boil, still had to add water and as you can see just BARELY had enough room in this huge pot.  Be careful, pasta really expands.
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Thankfully, a friend had given me a 33 quart canning pot a few years ago.  Always enough room to stir together all the ingredients.  I did soften and melt the cheese before adding it.
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Filled my roaster with Mom’s Goulash to take to Refuge Ministries and prepared the rest for delivery to neighbors.

Hope you enjoy preparing and serving this easy, inexpensive, and tasty dish.

Cheers!

tauna

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Hamburger Soup

Sunny, but frosty out this morning and although we are expecting a high of 45F, warm soup will feel mighty good today.

Hamburger Soup

  • 1 lbs grass-finished ground beef (browned)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups water or soup stock
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 teaspoons salt (if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (if desired)

One pot directions:  brown the ground beef in 1 tablespoon olive oil until no longer pink, add all the other ingredients and simmer.  The longer you simmer it, the more the flavours will meld and veggies soften.

Be creative in ingredients – celery substitute could be the leaves off the back of a head of cauliflower or chopped kohlrabi, leeks would work.  Instead of carrots, maybe turnips, swedes, or rutabaga.  I use my own frozen tomatoes from my garden and since i don’t really cook them down, there is plenty of water in with them, therefore i don’t add more water.  Recipes like this are perfect for emptying the frig or freezer.

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The leaves off the back of a head of cauliflower make a LOT of greens for soup!  Add vitamins A and C plus antioxidants to your meal, not the rubbish bin!