Tomato Thursday: Zucchini and Tomato Bake

Zucchini is popular plant in gardens, because it’s quite easy to grow and it easily produces lots of squashes. Sometimes it produces them too much. Here’s a tip for those who grow zucchini in their backyard and don’t know what to do with all of them. And of course for everyone else who loves zucchini.

The recipe is enough for 2-3 people, but it’s easy to make a bigger batch. Just take a bigger dish and use more zucchini and tomatoes.

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Zucchini and Tomato Bake

1 zucchini
2-3 tomatoes
salt, pepper
herbs (we used basil and oregano)
1 tbsp olive oil

Slice zucchini and tomatoes. Grease an oven proof dish and put a layer of zucchini on the bottom. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Add a layer of tomatoes. Continue until all zucchini and tomato slices are in the dish. Drizzle the oil on top. Cover and bake in 200 Celsius degrees 30-45 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Remove the lid in the end of the baking if it looks like there’s too much liquid in the dish.

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Attempt to Grow Beets at Home

I’m trying to grow beet shoots on the window sill. They would be a nice addition for salads.

ImageI just cut a slice on top of the beets, put them on a plate and water them every day. They’ve been growing a week now and most of them already have small leaves.

Gardening and Harvesting

We have rented a piece of land from the community garden nearby. We’re growing onions, radishes, spinach, chard, cucumber, pumpkin, dill, snow peas, fava beans and potatoes this year.

First some pictures from earlier this summer. The whole garden.

Onions and snow peas. We’ve harvested over 6 kg snow peas so far. Maybe over 7 kg, I haven’t weighted them all.

We planted a lot of potato, because there’s no water supply in the garden and we’re quite dependent on raining and potato survives well through dry periods.

Baby chard.

Chad has grown better than ever. Here I am making chard rolls. Similar to these, but bulgur and mushrooms as filling.

And some pictures from today. Spinach is growing much faster than I expected. I thought we could eat fresh spinach couple of times during the summer, but we have also frozen some, because it’s growing faster than we can eat it.

Our biggest pumpkin is now about size of a football:

Today’s dinner was made mostly of the things we’ve grown ourselves.

For the lasagne I made a tomato sauce with onion, snow peas and chard. I also threw in a half bell pepper that we had in fridge, and some white beans for extra protein. I used garlic, lovage, oregano, thyme, salt and black pepper to give flavour. Then I made a bechamel sauce with spinach. Last I made layers of both sauces, whole wheat lasagna sheets and fresh basil to dish and baked it in the oven.

As side dish we had salad that was made of lettuce, radish leaves, radishes, cucumber, tomato and olives. Only radishes and cucumbers were from our garden, we didn’t have big enough lettuce leaves and tomatoes are very difficult to grow without a green house.

More Plants Indoors

Yesterday I posted about the plants on our balcony. Well, we have more plants on our windowsills.

Different chili varieties. They were planted last year and some of them are already producing pods.

Basil in the kitchen.

Rosemary and wild garlic. Our rosemary has survived two winters on the windowsill, even if it’s supposed to be impossible here in Finland.

Growing Food at Home

In the summer time it’s easy to grow something to eat at home. You don’t even need a garden, few pots on balcony or windowsill is enough. We have a piece of land in community garden this year too, but we also have edible plants in our home.

We were busy in the spring, so we planted the seeds rather late, but the fist plants are ready to eat. Like the mizuna and rucola in the green box. Behind them in the white box is cilantro, but it has to grow bigger before eating.

Bloody sorrel in the hanging pots is still very tiny. Last year I tried to grow them in a pot on the balcony table, but it didn’t grow well. I think it was too hot for it, so this year I’m trying to grow it in less sunny spot.

Herb pots. From left to right: dill, dill, cress, curry plant, parsley, chocolate mint. I’m not very familiar with curry plant. Anyone have suggestions how to use it?

Lettuce on the lower part of the table. Last year our lettuces suffered from too much direct sunlight, so I planted them in shadowy spot. I hope it’s not too shadowy.

Caigua in front and mint in the huge pot behind them. Caigua pots will be moved soon so they can climb in the net that you can see in the first photo.

Something for the cats too: catnip and grass (barley).

The Last Basils From The Balcony

We didn’t grow any herbs in the community garden, but we did grow them at home. Finnish summer is usually too chilly for basil, so we grow it indoors. I planted quite a few seeds in the spring and few weeks later we had so many small basils that they didn’t fit on our windowsills. I decided to plant the rest on hanging flower pots in a shady corner of the balcony and see if they grow there. All the good sunny parts were already taken by dill, parsley, mint, lettuce, rocket, catnip and other plants.

Here’s some herbs on May 31st. Basil in the small pots in front and Parsley and marjoram in the big pot.

This summer was much hotter than normal and the basils didn’t even mind the lack of sunlight. Here they are on August 10th.

Now it’s autumn and nights are getting cold. Indoors basils are still growing well, but it was time to harvest the ones from the balcony. I baked some bread whirls, but I used too much garlic. I didn’t know such thing as “too much garlic” even existed, but here the taste of the garlic was so strong that you barely tasted the basil. I reduced the amount in the recipe, and next time I’ll use only 2 cloves myself too.

Garlic And Basil Whirls

Dough:
2,5 dl lukewarm water
25g yeast
0,5 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 dl rye flour
1 dl graham flour
5 dl wheat flour
2 tbsp oil

Filling:
4 tbsp margarine
2 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated
2 dl chopped fresh basil
pinch of salt and pepper
3-4 tbsp sunflower seeds

Combine water, yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl and stir until dissolved. Add rye and graham flour and most of the wheat flour and start kneading. Add the oil and more wheat flour and knead more. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled. Punch down and make a 30cm x 40 cm rectangle.

Mix margarine, garlic and basil in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Spread on the dough rectangle and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Roll the dough from the wider side and cut in 2 cm slices. Put the slices in muffin cups or on a baking sheet and bake in 225 Celsius degrees about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

I recommend using the muffin cups, because if you bake the whirls on baking sheet, they will be loose like this.