Tomatoes, Watermelon


An article with ideas for preserving your extra tomatoes:

“Put Up or Shut Up: When the tomato harvest gets out of hand, the tough get canning (and drying and freezing, too)” by Kurt Michael Friese

When we make extra spaghetti sauce, we like to freeze it in 1-2 cup containers and then put the blocks into a big freezer bag.  That way we can thaw out just enough for a few servings.


We were at a potluck this weekend where there were at least 3 big platters of watermelon slices — it must be that time of year! 

The National Watermelon Promotion Board has a page with a variety of recipes for sandwiches, beverages, salsas etc. using watermelon.  But, when I have a really tasty watermelon, my favorite recipe is:

Wash the watermelon
Put it on the cutting board and slice into wedges
Eat a slice and then a few more
Share it with everyone you can find!






What to do with Squash and Zucchini

Ah, squash!  First we can’t wait to see them, and then there are too many! 

Some tasty ways to use yellow squash and zucchini:

Cornbread with Squash

Try adding grated yellow squash to your favorite cornbread recipe.  Reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe.  This recipe gives an idea of the proportions:

Cornbread (gluten-free)


Jessie’s Sauteed Squash

This can use any combination of yellow squash, zucchini, and cucumber.  Coarsely grate them and saute them in a pan with a little butter and tarragon (dried or chopped fresh) until they are soft.  Serve hot. 

Variant: Slice squash and zucchini into thin circles and cook in the same way.


Andy’s Pan-Roasted Carrots and Things

The main ingredients are carrots and walnuts — you can also add squash or zucchini, potatoes, mushrooms…  The outline of the recipe is:

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Coat a cookie sheet or brownie pan with olive oil.  Put in thinly sliced carrots and potatoes and roll them in the olive oil.  Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes, then add zucchini, crushed walnuts and ground black pepper.  Bake for another 10 minutes or so until the carrots are browning at the edges.

Mix with freshly cooked pasta.


Olive oil, black pepper

Baking stage 1 — thinly sliced carrots and potatoes

Baking stage 2 — thinly sliced zucchini/squash, crushed walnuts, sliced mushrooms, frozen and thawed cubed tofu…


More Recipes from the Baltimore Sun

July 23’s Baltimore Sun has an article on zucchini: Gardeners share their zucchini recipes

Recipes for Fresh Vegetables, Part 2 — Swiss Chard

The greens season is still going strong!  Here are two recipes to use swiss chard:


Swiss Chard and Beans over Pasta


1-2 bunches of swiss chard (leaves chopped into strips and stems chopped into small pieces)

1 large can cannellini beans (or other white beans such as navy beans or Great Northern beans), drained

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, chopped

1 lb spaghetti or other hearty pasta (not too thin)

Approx. 2 Tbsp olive oil

Seasonings: try black pepper and about 1 Tbsp lemon juice OR black pepper, 1 tsp fennel seeds and 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg.


  1. Put a pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta.  Cook pasta according to package instructions while the greens and beans are cooking.
  2. In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Saute onion and garlic until edges of onion start to turn brown.
  4. Add swiss chard stems and cook for a few minutes until they start to feel soft.
  5. If you are using the fennel seeds as spices, add them here.
  6. Add swiss chard leaves and cook for about 5 minutes.
  7. Add beans and continue to cook until heated through.
  8. Add spices/lemon juice and serve over pasta.


Also, a link to a delicious recipe for Garbanzos and Swiss Chard in the Style of the Tunisian Sahel (Morshan) .

Recipes for Fresh Vegetables, Part 1

Since the farmer’s market and Community Supported Agriculture season is just beginning for many people, it’s time for an annual question:

“What can I do with this vegetable I’ve brought home?”

 More often than you’d think, the answer is our favorite One Straw Farm method: Cook the vegetable in a pan with olive oil, onion and garlic.


Expanding on that, here is an outline for one of our favorite ways to use up lots of kale:

Kale and Lentil Soup


Kale, chopped (one or two bunches)

Lentils (1 1/2 – 2 cups)

Onion, chopped (1-2 onions depending on size)

Garlic, minced (2-3 cloves or more if you really like garlic!)

Tomatoes, chopped (one can or 3-4 fresh tomatoes) — optional but tasty

Oil (olive or canola)

Salt and pepper or hot sauce to season


Heat up the oil in a soup pot.  Add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft.  Add 5-6 cups of water and lentils.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low.  Cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are starting to get soft.  Add the kale and tomatoes and continue to cook until soft.  Season with a little salt and pepper or with hot sauce.

This makes a big pot, which will keep in the fridge for a few days.  It also freezes well.


Budget cooking article in the Baltimore Sun

Yesterday’s Sun included an article on stretching your food dollar.  Some of their suggestions include:

  • Buy fruits and vegetables in season
  • Cook larger portions for friends and have them return the favor
  • Shop at international markets for ethnic food bargains
  • Make your own salad dressings, pizzas and breads

The entire article can be read online:

“Shopping on a Dime” by Meredith Cohn, Sun 4/23/08,0,4385509.story

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  This is a way to obtain produce directly from your local farmers.  You are buying a “share” of the season’s vegetables ahead of time. 

We have participated in our local CSA program for the last two years.  It’s a great way to  get to know what’s in season at different times of the year, and to support your local farmers by giving them a definite income.  It can be a challenge at first — you’ll receive many vegetables! — but it can be very rewarding.  We’ve learned a lot about creating recipes based on the ingredients we have on hand, and we’re still cooking with the vegetables we canned and froze last fall.

LocalHarvest has a directory of Community Supported Agriculture programs; enter your zip code to find farms near you:

Speaking of food…

Come into the kitchen and pull up a chair!  Let’s share ideas about eating tasty, healthy food, eating food in season, eating on a budget — anything to do with food.

 I hope to use this space to share tips, recipes, and helpful websites I’ve found.  Check back for more information to come!