Tomatoes and Rhubarb and Squashes, Oh My!

Rhubarb and the season’s 1st cherry tomatoes

And so it begins. Every year I look forward to the garden producing fresh vegetables. Every year, I plan, prep, plant, and – most years and this one is no exception – get overwhelmed. Production and problems and pests, oh well. Even so, being able to walk out back and pick –ingredients for supper, radishes and cukes to slice for quick frig pickles for snacks with toast, cherry tomatoes for Greek salads or chopped salads with olives and a little hot pepper, fresh herbs, fresh hardneck garlic, chard, spinach, and more makes the obstacles well worth it. 
This week the squash has started coming in — along with the rhubarb and a few cherry tomatoes and a coupla cukes and a Big Daddy pepper or two and the last of the glorious harvest of fresh shell peas, though I still have hopes for the second planting, so we’ll see. But I digress. 

Zucchinis coming on nicely at the moment
The squash. Zucchini fritters with spicy adobo sauce or quick sautéed for supper with onions and salt and pepper, or ratatouille or grilled or sliced and layered with pasta and tomatoes, browned ground beef, some Worcestershire, herbs and whatever cheese you have leftover in the frig (and baked, obviously). But the thing I look forward to having every year now is an ab fab squash gratin that we first tried two summers ago and fell in love with. It’s a wonderful concoction of homemade pesto wrapped around sliced squash, shallots homemade breadcrumbs and layered with gruyere.  Each component makes the whole thing special, but the standout ingredient from my standpoint is the pesto. In addition to the usual garlic, herbs and olive oil, it includes capers and anchovies for umami (pronounced Oooooo Mommy!) that depth of flavor that makes a dish truly satisfying. The result is rich, flavorful and filling. A whole meal until itself. It’s even good leftover and cold for lunch.
Happiness is a full crisper

The recipe prescribes specific quantities of fresh herbs, which I don’t always have so I substitute. Cilantro to make up for my garden’s low inventory of parsley, for example, and more oregano, and a fistful of basil. I use wholegrain breadcrumbs made from some of the leftover crusts I stick in the freezer. Also, there is rather a lot of olive oil prescribed, at least for our tastes, so I cut it in half, which works for us.

I don’t have a picture of that casserole (again, we ate it all before I even thought of pictures) so I’ve included other stuff to keep eyes entertained. Recipe link below. Eat hearty.
grilled corn + black bean salad w/cherry tomatoes and cilantro
First raspberry tart of the season

p.s. just added the pics of a meal since I remembred to take ’em. Local grass fed Jersey steak, chimichuri from our cilantro and hardneck garlic, and grilled sweet peppers along with black bean and grilled corn salad. By way of apology for not staying on target with pics of the food I’m talking about!

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