Too many cucumbers? Try keeping a pickle jar

Cucumbers! They’re delicious, but they don’t keep very long in the vegetable bin and the freezer is not an option. Gardeners and CSA members know that the leap from no cucumbers to buckets full is sudden. What to do with all those cucumbers when you don’t (have time to) can pickles? Toss them in a pickle jar.

Buy time with a pickle jar

Whenever you have more cucumbers than you can manage, take a couple of minutes to rinse and slice them (peel if you prefer), then toss them in the pickle jar, shake to mix the liquid and slices, and refrigerate.pickle jar

The liquid you keep in your pickle jar is up to you.

  • If you make pickles, save the extra pickle juice in a jar in the fridge. You can toss cucumbers (or other vegetables) in the jar to make them last a little longer. They won’t last as long as truly pickled vegetables, but the pickle juice will buy you some time.
  • If you’re not the canning type, dissolve about 1 tsp pickling or kosher salt in 1 cup of white or cider vinegar. Again, vegetables tossed in this solution will have a shorter life than canned pickles, but the vinegar solution buys you more time than if you just toss the extra cukes in a vegetable bin. If you want to add seasonings, add whole, not ground seasonings. Peppercorns and mustard seeds, for example.
  • Finally, leftover juice from store bought pickles can be used to buy some extra time. This is a particularly pleasing alternative if you discover a brand of pickles you adore and hate throwing that delicious pickle juice down the drain. Use it!
©Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved, 2017.

Roasted Zucchini and Squash

I haven’t made scientific calculations about how often zucchini and yellow squash are included in CSA boxes, but if you live in the southern US, probably in about 70–80%. This can be challenging even for zucchini/squash lovers. Tonight I made roasted zucchini and squash, with a little tomato and bell pepper from my CSA box. I had leftover French bread, which was perfect for a homemade crouton finish.

Roasted Zucchini and Squash

Ingredients

vegetables
  • 4-6 zucchini and squash, sliced in medallions, 1/4 inch thickroasted zucchini and squash
  • 1 onion, sliced in thin rings
  • 1/4 c. bell pepper, sliced in thin slivers
  • 1/4 c. tomato, chopped
seasoning
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs and spices (oregano and/or thyme with chili powder works well)
topping
  • 1-2 c. cubed bread
  • 1/4 c. Asiago cheese, grated

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 450º.
  2. Toss the vegetables in a Pyrex baking dish. Slice zucchini and squash in medallions.
  3. Blend the seasonings. I use my Cuisinart Smartstick chopper/grinder. Note: I don’t use salt in most of my recipes. If you want to use salt, the seasoning is a good place to add about 1 tsp.
  4. Drizzle about half of the seasoning on the vegetables and toss.
  5. Place in oven, uncovered, and bake 15 minutes.
  6. Place the cubed bread in a bowl.
  7. Drizzle the 2nd half of the seasonings on the bread and toss.
  8. Add the grated cheese to the bread cubes and toss.
  9. Spread on top of baked vegetables.
  10. Return vegetables to the oven and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, the croutons are golden brown and crisp.
  11. Enjoy!

roasted zucchini and squash

Variations

  • Use only zucchini or only squash.
  • Use a different pepper: ancho, jalapeño, or banana.
  • Use more tomato, or none at all.
  • Instead of topping with homemade croutons, sprinkle with just cheese.
  • For a vegan dish, finish the vegetables with nutritional yeast instead of croutons or cheese.
© Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved, 2016

Baked Chicken with Snap Beans

Snap beans are one of the many perks of summer gardens and CSA boxes. But like zucchini and squash, keeping up with the beans can be a challenge. This baked chicken with snap beans is a delicious one-dish meal. Tweak it to your taste or mood. The possibilities are limitless:

  • Don’t stuff the chicken.
  • Use a different cheese.
  • Don’t use cheese.
  • Use different herbs.
  • Don’t use chicken, just cook the beans!
  • Or maybe, just have a glass of wine and cheese and crackers. Cook tomorrow. 😉

If you are in the mood to cook, this is worth the effort.


Bake Chicken with Snap Beans

Ingredients

  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 lb (about 6 c) fresh snap beans* (OK to sub or include wax beans, I used both)
  • 1 fresh tomato, sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • marinade, (I used a tweaked version of my sour cream marinade)
    • Grind the following together in a mini food processor.
      • ½ c sour cream
      • 2 tbsp olive oil
      • 4 cloves garlic
      • ¼ c mango salsa (for sweet and hot)
      • 1 tbsp chipotle pepper adobo sauce
      • 3 tbsp fresh oregano
  • cheese stuffing
    • Grind the following together in a mini food processor.
      • ½ c cheese (I used quesadilla cheese, but you can sub other cheeses: e.g., mozzarella, feta, cream)
      • 1 clove garlic
      • fresh oregano (OK to sub other fresh or dried herbs)
  • bread crumbs
    • Grind the following together in a mini food processor.
      • 1.5 c panko bread crumbs (OK to sub regular bread crumbs but panko tend to be crispier)
      • 1 clove garlic
      • 1 tbsp oregano

ProcessBaked Chicken with Snap Beans

  • Marinate chicken.
  • Beans
    • Remove ends and strings from beans.
    • Steam beans for about 5 minutes (or blanch). This is optional, but I like to do it to make sure I don’t have any tough beans.
    • Prepare cheese stuffing and bread crumbs.
    • Toss strained beans in about 1 tbsp of olive oil.
    • Sprinkle 1 c of bread crumbs on beans, and toss.
    • Arrange beans in a 9X12 Pyrex pan and set aside.
  • Back to chicken
    • Slit each chicken breast to create a pocket.
    • Stuff each breast with 3-4 tbsp of cheese stuffing.
    • Heat 1 tbsp oil in frying pan.
    • Sear chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side, careful to keep the stuffing in the cavity.
  • AssemblyBaked Chicken with Snap Beans
    • Arrange chicken on top of beans.
    • Add tomato slices on top of chicken.
    • Sprinkle remaining bread crumbs over chicken.
    • Drizzle last tbsp oil over chicken.
    • Bake for 30 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown.
    • Enjoy!

*NOTE: snap = green = string: all the same thing.

© Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2016

Zucchini Straws

Our CSA boxes from Luckett Farms include zucchini for more than half the year. The new-things-to-do-with-zucchini struggle is real, but I haven’t lost a zucchini yet. Zucchini straws make a great crispy side or snack. Quick and simple. Works with yellow squash too!


Zucchini Straws

Ingredientszucchini straws

  • 3-4 zucchini, spiralized
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oregano (OK to sub other herbs)
  • 1 tbsp flour or fine corn meal (optional)

Process

  • Preheat airfryer to 330º (if using oven, preheat to 400º).
  • Grind the garlic with the olive oil, oregano, and salt.
  • Toss the spiralized zucchini in the oil mixture, coating well.
  • If using, sprinkle with flour/meal and toss more.
  • Cook.
    • To airfry
      • Place about a third of the zucchini in the airfryer at a time (don’t overfill)
      • Cook in three minute intervals for 9-12 minutes, tossing every three minutes.
    • To bake
      • Spread zucchini “thinly” on a baking sheet.
      • Bake for 20 minutes, tossing after 10 minutes.
      • If necessary, bake another 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
© Copyright Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2016