The Zucchini is in!!

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First zucchini of the year was harvested!  Starting off in my greenhouse this spring, I’ve got a lovely light green fruit for tonight’s dinner.  Recommended by a colleague, I bought the seeds from Seeds of Italy, choosing an organic variety from the Genoa section of Italy.  It sliced so easily, with very little seeds (even though I let it get a little too big).

Compliments of  a recent Facebook posting, I thought I’d try out the Zucchini Parmesan Crisps:

  • Zuchini, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt (a pinch or so)
  • Pepper (sprinkled for flavor)

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Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Dip the slices of zucchini into the olive oil (or paint on with a brush) and then dip each slice into the crumb mixture.

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Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees, until crispy.

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I paired them with a Panko-coated cod, seasoned with organic garlic salt and baked with a touch of organic butter.

Absolutely delicious!

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Strawberry Jam

My son, the Big Y employee.  I dropped him off at work last week and he asked if I was going to pick up any strawberries, since they were “buy one, get two free”.  He wasn’t too thrilled when I responded that I planned on picking up strawberries at the local grower since they were in season.  Hey, local is local…and much sweeter.  Last I checked, the Driscoll strawberries stocked at Big Y were still coming out of California.  The taste difference alone is worth the $6/quart.

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This past weekend, the BF and I stopped at Bishop’s Orchards on our way to our latest vineyard pit stop and picked up 3 quarts (on sale 3/$15).  Not too long ago, I picked up new canning equipment from Amazon (dissolvable  labels, 5-piece canning kit, and a new canner).

I browsed the web for a recipe that looked good and went with Allrecipes Low sugar/no sugar strawberry jam.  It was basically the same recipe from inside the label of the Ball’s pectin jar, just more specific to strawberries.  I doubled mine to make 4 half-pints of jam:

Strawberry Jam

2 2/3 cups of crushed strawberries (wash, remove stems, and crush with potato masher or fork)

2/3 cup unsweetened apple juice

3 Tablespoons Ball RealFruit low or no-sugar needed pectin

1 cup of sugar

Start canning with sterilizing the jars, lids, and rims in a large pot of water over a gentle boil.

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While they’re slowly boiling, mix the strawberries and juice together in a sauce pot over high heat.

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Slowly add in pectin and bring to a boil.

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Add sugar and return to a boil, stirring constantly for one minute.

Remove from heat and ladle the mixture into the sterilized jars.  I LOVE the magnetic lid remover….didn’t even have to touch with my hands!  And yes, I did dip the funnel into the hot water before using….

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Once filled, secure the lids and rims on the jars (finger tight), place them in a canner with enough water to cover the jars an inch or so above the lids, and bring them to a boil.

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Process them for 10 minutes, before turning off the heat and letting the jars sit for 5 minutes or so.  The kitchen tongs in the canning kit made removing the jars from the hot water super easy.  Let them sit until cooled before labeling.  Allow to “set” for 24 hours, checking to see if the lids sealed correctly (shouldn’t flex when touched)

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Simple and easy!  Enjoy!

Smoothies!

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Nothing like using fresh, local fruit to make a smoothie.  Bishop’s Orchards had their own strawberries available at the farm market today…luckily some of them made it home.  My son ate them like they were potato chips on the ride home!

For one smoothie, you need the following:

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1/2 cup fresh strawberries

1/2 banana

1/2 cup yogurt (we use vanilla Greek yogurt)

1/2 cup milk

A couple of ice cubes (if you use frozen strawberries, you can omit these)

Blend all the ingredients together and enjoy!

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