Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard: July 26, 2012

Every Thursday, Robin at The Gardener of Eden hosts “Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard” where we can share posts on how we are using our garden harvests.

It was nice to putter in the kitchen this weekend preserving some of the harvest that is now coming out of the garden. Early Sunday morning was much cooler than it has been so I wanted to get some baking done.

One of the harvests that needed attention was the zucchini and summer squash that had accumulated during the week.

Some zucchini was grated up, measured out into 2-cup increments and frozen. I use the grated zucchini mostly in breads and muffins during the winter months. I thaw out grated zucchini before using it for baking but also add it frozen to soups, stews, and casseroles.

Of course I baked a couple loaves of zucchini bread while I was at it. Once cooled, one loaf was wrapped and frozen:

Zucchini Bread

While the breads were in the oven, I sliced and froze some zucchini and summer squash. I don't always blanch my summer squash when freezing. I often just slice them up, lay them out on a cookie sheet, and place it in the freezer. Once the squash is frozen it is scooped into a freezer bag. It will be really nice to add squash to pasta meals, stews, and soups over the winter.

Frozen Yellow Summer Squash and Zucchini

Squash bagged up in freezer zipper bags

The basil in the garden was starting to form flowers so it was trimmed to hopefully encourage the plants to continue to grow and bush out. The trimmed leaves along with some freshly harvested garlic were used to make some basil pesto base for freezing.

I just add a bunch of leaves, garlic, and a little olive oil to a food processor and pulse until it is blended.



The pesto base is frozen flat in small zipper bags. This makes it easy to snap off a frozen piece to use.



For pesto, I thaw out the pesto base and add more olive oil, grated Parmesan cheese, ground walnuts or pine nuts, and anything else I may want to include at the time.

Preparing dinner on Sunday was easy after preserving the harvest this week. A little pesto base was reserved along with some zucchini and summer squash. These were combined with some onion, pasta, and sweet Italian sausage.

Summer Squash Sausage Pasta with Pesto

This is one of my favorite and simple summertime meals. The ingredients vary depending on what is available, but here is how I prepared it this weekend:

Summer Squash Sausage Pasta with Pesto

2 Italian sausages, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow summer squash, sliced
1 small onion, diced
8 oz pasta of your choice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons pesto
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta. When cooked, drain pasta and return it to the pot. Add 1 Tablespoon of pesto and combine.

Add olive oil to a large sauté pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until onion begins to soften. Add the sausage to the pan and cook covered for about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and summer squash cover and cook until softened and cooked through. Add 1 Tablespoon of pesto and combine.

Add the pasta to the sauté pan and combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Plate up and sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!


Join others at “Thursdays Kitchen Cupboard” at The Gardener of Eden and share what you've been baking, cooking, canning, drying, or how you have used some of your preserved garden bounty.

29 comments:

  1. That recipe sounds good and its quite the tongue twister too.

    My attempts at freezing zucchini were just okay. I did it in spears last year and though it was good to add to soups etc by itself it didn't cook up like fresh at all. Unless I get a whole lot more which I doubt I won't be freezing it this year.

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    1. Sliced Zucchini does not hold up well to freezing. I add it mostly to soups and stews. Shredded zucchini is more useful for baking.

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  2. I should try freezing the zucchini chunks without blanching it. I quit freezing zucchini long ago because we don't really like the baked zucchini bread all that much and I hate the texture of the zucchini after being blanched and then frozen. Maybe if I did not blanch it first, the product would be acceptable quality for using in soups etc. How long does it hold in the freezer for you without having had the blanching process?

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    1. Zucchini is a little firmer when frozen without blanching. Not like fresh, but it holds together for sautéing, soups and stews. It is recommended that unblanched frozen vegetables be used up within 6 months. I usually use it up before then. Or loose it in the freezer only to be discovered the following year. Then it is composted :)

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    2. Thanks for the follow up info! It is rare that I have much that makes it past May in my freezer - a few odds and ends, but typically we use everything up.

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  3. Oh, that recipe looks heavenly!
    Looks like your putting all that squash to good use.

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    1. I am trying to use up all the squash. It is a challenge though. I need to try some of Granny's recipes.

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  4. I wish I was getting that zucchini. I hope my plants recover from their borer attack. I need more. Three zucchini in a year is not enough. Like you, I love zucchini bread.

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    1. Three zucchini is not enough. I am lucky to not have borers in my garden. I know that some day they will find it.

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  5. Looks delicious! Great idea about freezing the pesto flat.

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    1. I try to freeze most of my foods in zipper bags flattened. That way they can be stacked upright in a basket. I label them all at the top of the bag so I can see what they are at a brief glance.

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  6. Everything looks yummy!! I haven't harvested a single zucchini yet *shock*. Sounds pretty pathetic eh? Your pesto looks delicious!

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    1. I hope you are in zucchini heaven soon. I am running out of uses for mine. Wish I could share.

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  7. That's a recipe I'll be trying. I haven't even picked any of my basil this year. For some reason, I've not been into using many of the herbs. Maybe it's because my garlic was a bust, and most recipes I use fresh herbs in also use garlic. I always freeze a lot of summer squash. Then I throw it in the compost the next year and freeze some more. With the exception of a bit of shredded zucchini for breads, we just don't like it once it thaws.

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    1. We don't much like frozen summer squash either. Only to add to soups and stews and often times it just melts in. I like to think the nutrients are still there. Who knows. Frozen shredded zucchini works really well in baked goods.

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  8. You just gave me a great idea. We usually freeze our pesto in mini muffin tins, but what if we lined a pan with parchment and scored the pesto, and then it would break like shortbread. Hmmmm.

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    1. Great idea. You can faintly see I tried to score the pesto in the bag a bit before freezing. This sometimes works, but your method would work much better. Then you can break it up and store it in freezer bags.

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  9. Your zucchini bread looks good! My zucchini didn't survive the vine borer attacks, but I do have tromboncino squash. It hasn't been producing very much.. think they have too much shade. Hopefully they'll produce some more. When I freeze pesto, I put it in ice cube trays and then put in a freezer bag.

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    1. Using ice cube trays to freeze pesto is a good idea. I used to do that, but lost a set along the way. That's when I began freezing it flat.

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  10. That pasta dish looks and sounds wonderful! I'm going to make some small loaves of zucchini bread this weekend.

    I fry breaded zucchini and freeze it. It turns out great. I will have to do a post on it for next week.

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    1. Yes, please post the recipe :) I have a lot of zucchini to experiment with.

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  11. A great looking recipe. We have never done pesto around here we will have to give it a try. We freeze our summer squash the same way you do and we have never had a problem. Nice to have it to add to some soup in the winter!!

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    1. I love pesto and would rather opt for it than tomato sauce lately. Even on pizza. I hope you give it a try.

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  12. Squash is one of the my favorite vegetables. In India, especially south Indian people have good knowledge to make food in different variety. Then they gave me squash roaster. It is so delicious. Definitely i will try your recipe in my home.

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    1. There are so many varieties of squash. I love roasting winter squash such as butternut.

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  13. Look very yummy. I'll have to try freezing squash without blanching and see if it taste better - blanching leaves it too mushy.

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    1. We don't like summer squash blanched either because of the soggy texture. Freezing without blanching will still soften the squash, but not as much. Try to cook it frozen if you are going to sauté it.

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  14. I slice zucchini in thin disks and dehydrate then add to soups, stews, pasta dishes. It absorbs the liquid and seems to retain its firmness a bit more then when frozen. Robin in SoCal

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    1. Robin, I will have to try this. Thanks for the comment.

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