Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010

Atop Hawk Mountain, Pa., 2010
Photo by R.E. Berg-Andersson

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Fruits of My Labor

I am in no way, shape or fashion a particularly sophisticated cook. MH rarely complains about what I put in front of him, even if there are too many leafy greens for his liking, but I am not in the same league as various friends and family who really know their way around a kitchen.
Blueberry cobbler (Margo D. Beller)

However, while I wouldn't know what to do with an eggplant without instruction, I do enjoy making desserts. At this time of year I have all the ingredients I need.

First, were the apples. After weeks of cleaning up after the squirrels the apple harvest for 2017 is finally drawing to a close, to my relief and, no doubt, the tree's. After making six pints of apple sauce and swearing that was the end,  I had another two dozen apples that were either close enough for me to reach or the squirrels dropped while they clambered over the tree's branches. (This morning I noticed it took a lot longer, and the squirrel had to go a lot higher, to get an apple. These are at the very top of the tree, too high even for my extension pole.)

So I made another quart of sauce. This was a week after my last marathon cutting, cooking and Cuisinarting of sauce (not to mention a mess of pesto and an apple cake that was more apple than cake). However, MH, who had put up with the fresh zucchini I'd fed him for one meal, asked me to make a zucchini bread, which he remembered fondly from the last time I made it.

Thus, I went to my favorite farmstand and bought a couple of zucchini.

This is a wonderful time of year if you like heat and humidity, as various plants do. Zucchinis are coming in, tomatoes and corn are not far away and I have already picked one pepper that's now reddening on the counter. Next time in the market I'll be stocking up on more NJ blueberries to freeze for later on in the year. Why NJ blueberries? They are literally closer to home and taste better to me than fruit shipped from elsewhere in the U.S. or around the globe.

Out in the garden the daisies and the butterfly bush are blooming and at least one hummingbird continues to visit the feeder. When it is not raining I have a thistle sock out for the goldfinches, although I've yet to see a visitor.

Half of one zucchini bread heading for
the freezer (Margo D. Beller)
Meanwhile, back in the kitchen I have the vegetable drawers filled with chard and zucchinis.

Ever since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, there has been an inclination toward sticking close to home, locally sourcing the food you buy, and cooking things yourself. Maybe it is a yearning for a simpler time, a time before the 24/7 bombardment of the Internet, cellphones and movies on demand anywhere. For those who would like to cook like Mom or Grandma once did but haven't a clue you can enroll in one of the many cooking schools, or use a company that will ship you ingredients and directions for what to do with them. Presto! Home-cooked meal.

I'm not that bad. I can follow a recipe if I want to. The key is wanting to. When I have a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables in my refrigerator and a picky eater, I sometimes have to be creative in what I make for supper.

In the case of the zucchini bread, I didn't have that problem since I was making it at MH's request. First, I had to find my old zucchini bread recipe. But in the course of looking for that recipe I found one for a ridiculously simple blueberry cobbler I'd clipped from the New York Times in 2008 and never made.

Since I happened to have a big container of blueberries I was getting ready to freeze, I decided to use the Cuisinart and make it. As I said, ridiculously simple, and MH loves it despite not being overly fond of blueberries on his cereal.

More apples than pancake (Margo D. Beller)
As for the zucchini breads (my recipe makes two loaves), that came after the cobbler and the apple sauce in another marathon cooking session. I recently bought a hand blender, a souped-up version of one I had years ago that collapsed, and this has not only made mixing things so much easier but has made me more inclined to bake things. (This may be good for the taste buds but not the waistline.)

For now my freezer is filled with, among many other things, one zucchini bread and half of another, pints of apple sauce, containers of vegetable stock and one of pesto.

And I just found an easy recipe for eggplant.

No comments:

Post a Comment