I can’t say it enough; there’s nothing more enjoyable than having the opportunity to taste all the mouth-watering treats you’ve harvested from your own garden. Whether it’s straight off the vine or included in your favorite recipe, nothing compares to the fresh, juicy flavors of garden-grown vegetables. If you’re anything like me when it comes to harvesting, there always seems to be the question of what to do with everything.
Recipes from the Vegetable Garden
Naturally, some of it is canned, some of it is frozen and some is given to friends and family. Of course, the rest is usually included and devoured in succulent recipes. Vegetables can be served in numerous ways — in salads or casseroles, fried, creamed, buttered, steamed, etc. Some of my all-time favorites include recipes from my southern roots. Although they may not always be deemed healthy by today’s standards, since southerners enjoy fried foods, they are sure to be quite tasty.
Tomato Fritters – Do you have an abundance of tomatoes? It seems to be that there is never a shortage of these tasty morsels, but what can you do with them outside of the usual? Try making some Tomato Fritters. These can be fixed with green or red tomatoes. All you need are some tomatoes and cornmeal. Simply slice the desired amount of tomatoes, coat them with cornmeal, and drop into some hot grease. Cook them until they turn golden brown, salt to taste, if desired, and serve while warm.
Fried Pickles – Cucumbers grow quickly, and many are used for salads or pickling. Give those pickles an unusual twist by frying them. Grab a jar of your favorite home-grown pickles, drain and slice them, and reserve at least a couple of tablespoons of the pickle juice. Combine a cup of flour, a teaspoon each of garlic powder and ground red pepper, and a quarter teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl. Slowly stir in a cup of club soda and the reserved pickle juice until mixed well; the batter will be somewhat lumpy. Dip the pickles into the batter and fry them in batches until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve hot. Cucumbers and onions sliced up and put in vinegar is another favorite treat.
Fried Squash – Squash commonly is grown in the garden. Generally, the straight or crook-necked variety of summer squash is most popular where I come from, and we love to fry them. Fried squash is prepared just like tomato fritters only you should first roll the sliced squash in a milk and egg mixture, then cornmeal.
Squash Biscuits – Not a big fan of fried foods? Try some squash biscuits on for size. You’ll need about a pint of strained squash, half a cup of yeast, a cup of sugar, and a good tablespoon of butter. Beat together these ingredients until mixed thoroughly and add some flour until it becomes firm. Let the mixture set overnight and form into biscuits in the morning. Allow them to rise and bake at 350 F. (177 C.) until golden; serve hot.
Broccoli Parmesan – Not everyone likes broccoli, but I’m a huge admirer. One particular dish that is not only good but can be easily prepared is Broccoli Parmesan. You can even add cauliflower. After thoroughly washing approximately a pound of broccoli, separate and cut flowerets into 3-inch pieces. Steam broccoli for about 10 minutes, cover, and set aside. Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil and garlic; pour over broccoli. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; serve right away.
Green Peas and Potatoes – Potatoes are certainly another desired tidbit from the garden. Of course, fried potatoes are yet another Southern pleasure; here’s something more appetizing, though. We call them Green Peas and Potatoes. Gather up about a pound of new potatoes from the garden, wash thoroughly, peal and cut into quarters. Put them into a pot with 1 ½ cups of shelled green peas and some sliced green onion. Add a cup or two of boiling water, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add half a cup of milk and two tablespoons of butter and slowly simmer until thick.
Glazed Carrots – Got carrots? If so, you can make some glazed carrots. Take a bunch of carrots from the garden, wash and scrape well, and boil until they are good and tender. Meanwhile, heat together three tablespoons each of brown sugar and butter with a quarter cup of hot water for syrup. Remove carrots from heat and drain thoroughly. Place in a baking dish and pour syrup over the cooked carrots. Bake for about 20 minutes at 375 F. (190 C.).