Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fresh from the Garden

Well, not my garden, because the last time Hubs and I tried to make a garden I killed every single thing. I don't know how, because I watered and fertilized and everything else I thought would make for a wonderful abundance of fresh veggies, but it was an epic failure. The tomatoes looked like knarly heirlooms (they were BetterBoy- a variety my Nana swears by) and were completely hard and inedible. I had no idea both the broccoli and lettuce were ready for harvest, so I let them get way overgrown, and thus inedible. Cabbage Loopers ate my brussel sprouts and beans. And that was that. Waste of a lot of time an effort and I got nothing.

BUT, yesterday I stopped by a friends house and was gifted with a bag of zucchini, sweet banana peppers, and green tomatoes. Her garden is magnificent. So big and healthy that you have to move giant branches around and hunt for the huge produce. I was amazed, and confused and jealous too. I gave my plants tons of space and tons of support in a fancy raised bed and got terrible results. Her garden is pretty natural- in the ground and growing all over itself and the ground, and absolutely thriving! Now I know.

Anyway, between her amazing veggies and the sandwich loaves I got from the super awesome Sunbeam Outlet (which you can read about here if you missed out), our dinner tonight was almost free! And miiiighty delish!

We had Zucchini Parmesan Subs.  Might not sound so great, but it was. Even my vegetable-hating, meat loving hubs liked them. Sorry the picture quality is absolutely terrible! It was taken to send to my friend as a thank you- but then I ate mine and realized it was wonderful enough to blog about!

So- recipe..sort of. I made it up as I went so it will be lacking in precise measurements. But it's the sort of thing that is up to your tastes anyway.

Cut three zucchini in nice sized strips and toss in a hot skillet with a little oil. You want them to be big enough to feel sort of meaty in the sandwich. I added two small banana peppers, seeded and diced, as well as a little garlic powder, onion powder, and a (very small) dash of cayenne. (Onion powder rocks, btw. I hate chopping onions) When the zucchini starts to get soft, add a tiny can of tomato paste (or pasta sauce if you happen to have a jar open) and some hot sauce. We use Texas Pete, because while I don't really like spicy food, I loooove the flavor it adds and the slight kick if you add just the right amount. You don't want the mixture to be super saucy, just coated well. When it's all coated and the zucchini are the texture you like, scoop a hefty amount into split mini loaves and top with shredded cheese. I used both chedder for sharpness and mozzarella for...because I like it. :)   Wrap them individually in foil and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. The foil wrapper keeps the bread from crisping up too much and makes for really great gooey hot sub. Yum Yum.

Don't cut your loaves all the way through- you want to fill them like a taco shell and keep them open side up to keep everything from falling out. It makes the whole process much easier. Don't cook the zucchini too long. You want them not quite crunchy, but if you over do it they turn to mush and you will have bread full of mush. No good.

Tomato paste is greatly under appreciated I think- I never use a whole can at once so I keep it in a baby food jar in the fridge and find myself tossing a spoonful into all kinds of things. The same with onion powder. Onions add wonderful flavor to almost everything, but chopping them sucks, and so does remembering to use them before they go bad. So- keep a jar of onion powder around for the times when you just don't feel like crying.

Enjoy loves- We sure did!!

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