Unlike last year when we could hardly keep up with the garden, this summer season has been off to a slow start. It rained a lot, and I had to replant a lot of things. Then it got hot and the plants couldn’t take the sudden temperature change, especially when the temperatures dropped again. But now, things have slowly started to take hold and we can start to harvest. The blackberries are producing nicely as are the cucumbers. The first batches of jams and cucumber pickles have already been made.
Summer is a time when I like to eat a lot of salads sitting out on the back patio, when dinner can go on while sitting and talking. No need to worry about food on the stove or it getting cold on the table. So when the beans were ripe and the zucchini starting to get too big, it was time to make a salad dinner.
Last year I made a raw zucchini salad out of “New Feast” one of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks, written by Greg and Lucy Malouf. I wasn’t too sure how my guests would react to raw zucchini, but it turned out to be the start of the evening. I also enjoy freshly picked and cooked beans. Their taste is much softer, but also more intense than beans which have been sitting around in the markets for too long. For these, I made delicious bean crostini. To round it off, I made a simple tomato and cucumber salad with cucumbers from the garden.
Raw Zucchini Salad (inspired by “New Feast”)
- 2 small-medium zucchini, thinly sliced
- baby mozzarella balls
- a handful of basil, torn
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- flaked salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients and mix everything well.
Broad Bean Crostini
- broad beans, cooked until soft
- olive oil
- flaked salt
- toasted baguette
Coarsely mash the cooked beans with a bit of olive oil and mound on the toasted bread. Don’t worry if the beans fall off. This a messy dish and tastes all the better for it! Generously sprinkle salt over the crostini and serve immediately.