Late summer food thoughts

I was in the midst of Palisade Peach Recipe Contest check-in frenzy when suddenly a man approached me.

He seemed somewhat familiar, and he was holding his darling little daughter.

“Dixie, I’m Steve Beauregard, I read your column,” he said.

Oh no, The Daily Sentinel’s Asparagus Hater columnist!

Where are the asparagus spears when you need them!

As we talked, I relaxed as I realized asparagus words would never hurt, as long as he didn’t eat those words.

But soon after that, Beauregard slammed another favorite, zucchini. (I suspect Brussel sprouts will be next.)

And now, to Daily Sentinel reporter Rachel Sauer, who wrote about invading monster zucchini: I know people who have enough shredded monsters in the freezer to make enough zucchini bread to serve everyone in the Grand Valley ... for years to come.

Here is my two cents. Add shredded zucchini to lasagna. Keep it a secret. My family doesn’t know what’s in Mom’s special lasagna (until now).

Question: Since more of you are discovering the flavor and goodness of local produce, have you thought about learning how to can but don’t want to do a lot, don’t have the room for a large canner, or just have one or two people in your household?

Are you like me and used to can a lot and are motivated to get back into it in a small way?

Ball Home Preserving Products recently came out with the Home Canning Discovery Kit. It includes a unique flexible canning rack with lifter that fits in a stockpot as long as it is at least 7 1/2-inches tall and 9 1/2-inches in diameter. You don’t have to buy a big canner!

It makes 3 pints and comes with an instruction pamphlet that also has specially developed recipes for small batch canning. Go to for information.

My motivation came from my dad, who has been craving old- fashioned corn relish, not the hot and spicy kind that is available.

So I actually made three pints, took them to him and got rave reviews. He called to say that they were on the second jar and he was saving the third for Thanksgiving.

Well, Dad, I’m on my way for the ingredients. Another batch is coming your way. It was so easy. I had forgotten how good it feels seeing those jars cooling on the counter and hearing the “pop” as they seal.

Mr. Beauregard, Ball has a zesty zucchini relish you might want to try.

A solanum lycopersicum cerafiforme tip: Don’t plant too many.

Every day, after eating my fill of cherry tomatoes, I pick a huge bowl full, as do many of you.

They range in sizes from our favorite tiny” sugar snack” to midsize “Sweet 100s” to the typical size.

Use some of the bounty for these ideas:

Toss them with a little olive oil, roast in a 375–400 degree oven until caramelized. Add seasoning to taste.

May add fresh snipped basil, minced garlic and/or a little more olive oil. Use in/on sandwiches, pasta dishes, salads, sauces or freeze for use later in cooked dishes.

Mix them with fresh basil pesto for an unbelievable spread, season to taste. Add smashed roasted eggplant for an awesome spread.

Reduce balsamic vinegar to slightly thicken, add a little minced garlic, fresh basil if you want and even a tiny bit of olive oil for a great salad dressing to drizzle over tomato slices and/or saut&233;ed or grilled vegetables.

Thread on long toothpicks: Fresh cherry tomato, mozzarella ball and then another tomato. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar; this from my neighbor who was the hit of a picnic with them. I use the reduced balsamic.

Halve them, toss in green salads, potato salads, coleslaw, seafood salad or whatever.

If you have the “sugar snacks” variety, stem and wash, then carry along a bag full for parties, picnics or snacks/treats.

And now, one last question. Does anyone have a remedy for a guy (my husband) named Fred’s sore back from harvesting so many huge, beautiful, prize-winning quality, tomatoes from Dixie’s plants?

That was mean, but fun.


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