Summer Harvest: Basil, Zucchini, Cucumber Recipes

Summer is officially coming to a close: The Minnesota State Fair opened last week, I purchased textbooks for my last Fall semester courses (unless I go back for a PhD…just kidding), and the basil, cucumber and zucchini are bountiful. It’s been a fast summer – I feel like I kicked it off with a hospital stay (admitted May 3rd) and then spent all summer tending to (read: annoyingly fretting over) my new diet, trying to figure out what I can get away with eating and how to make what I’m supposed to eat taste good. I still haven’t touched red meat, nearly eliminated pasta (it’s a treat now, which is so sad), and make all of my meals plant-based. But I will tell you this, eating a variety of veg this summer became easier once the basil came in, to make batches of pesto (recipe here) for the week and mix it in with just about anything – on a tomato and mozzarella sandwich, mixed with sauteed onions and chickpeas, or on a piece of toast with melted Parmesan.

making pestopesto, chickpeas, onion








Zucchini is a new veg in my kitchen – I’ve never cooked or baked with it before (though I have, certainly, eaten it before), and until this year have never planted it. BUT, there was a recipe for Zucchini Fritters in last month’s Bon Appetit that made me think twice about zucchini as a potential staple around here. I used this recipe and they turned out beautifully – crisp on the outside and hot and gooey in the inside. I do detest frying anything in my kitchen, so am going to use the same recipe but try my hand at baking these this week.
zucchini frittersbraised cucumber








Do you remember in the movie Julie & Julia when Julie proclaims braised cucumbers are a revelation? Kudos to Nora Ephron for that line, because as I looked at the stack of cucumbers growing in the garden, I knew to pull out Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and try braised cucumbers. Her recipe, unfortunately, takes up to an hour of prep, which I did not have, so took a few suggestions from the web. I peeled the cucumber, cut in half the long way (to create two long half-cucumbers), spooned out the seeds and cut to create these inch-thick crescent moon shaped pieces. I put two tablespoons of butter in a saute pan and over med-high heat for twelve minutes or so, stirred until soaked with butter, hot, and beginning to brown. I’m pretty sure I ruined whatever nutritional content the cucumber had, but they did not taste like the cold cucumber in an un-inspired salad.

Good luck with the return-to-school season, getting through all the produce that this hot week is going to produce, and staying cool.


One Comment on “Summer Harvest: Basil, Zucchini, Cucumber Recipes

  1. This brings back memories of my mother’s kitchen in the late summer when we had so many zucchini that we didn’t know what you do with all of them. Your photos are great!

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