Friday, July 15, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini, Daycations, and Mulberries

Heritage Breed Turkeys from a day trip to Tionesta and Tidioute

We are cheap and it is a busy year.   Our oldest is working goes to college this fall, our middle girl is learning to drive and babysitting the wonderful neighbor boys, and our youngest is her usual busy self. I am having a ball at work but too busy to take serious time off and George getting time off is always a problem.   We probably will not manage to get away for a whole week this summer, but we love our day trips.  A few weeks ago we went to Allegheny National Forest Hearts Content and to the upper Allegheny River where the girls waded and lost shoes and we hiked and generally had fun.  We also visited a farm stand where they specialize in heritage breeds of livestock and organic veggies.  The peacocks were scared of me so I only got a picture of the turkeys.  Did you know that most turkeys that you buy in the grocery store are bread to be so breast-heavy that by the time they are mature they can't even stand up?  Kind of makes Thanksgiving Dinner a little gross...I like dark meat better anyway...

Mulberry Jam and Syrup

I am not going to go into detail of the recipes for these, just a little note on how much fun we had picking the berries and making the stuff.  Mulberries grow on trees like the one below that George found for me in a graveyard.  The girls and I spent a whole week's worth of evenings picking these and some black raspberries as mentioned in the last post.

Graveyard where the Mulberry Tree was found.

Closeup of Mulberries on tree.  The dark ones are the ripe ones.

This lady may or may not have worn sunglasses at one point during our week of berry picking madness.

These are honeysuckle berries. Don't eat them.

These are Mulberries.  By all means eat them.

I made the jam using the recipe in the sure jel packet for raspberry cooked jam.  I didn't remove the stems from the little guys because they didn't come out well and they were so tender I didn't think they were a problem.  They turned red during processing and aren't really noticeable, so I guess it's OK.  The jam is a little runny, but that is normal for me, and it tastes wonderful.

I made the syrup by following the recipe for jelly, again for raspberries,  but leaving out the pectin.  I also added a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice which took away the cloying part of the sweetness and brought out the flavor of the berries.

Stuffed Zucchini

This is one of my favorite summer recipes, but unfortunately it requires an oven, so I only make it on cool days.

1.  Blanch small to medium zucchini in boiling water for 5 minutes, then immerse in cold water for 5 minutes. 

2.  Scoop out the centers of the squash to create boats.

3.  Chop up the innards of the squash and saute in olive oil with some chopped onion and a little garlic and salt.
Clockwise from left:  Water for cooling blanched zucchini, scooped out zucchini innards pre chopping.  Scooped out Zucchini shells, chopped zucchini innards for saute.

Chopped onions and homemade pesto.

4.  Puree the sauteed stuff and add some pesto, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and an egg.  Combine until it resembles a thick batter.

Sauteed innards and onions

5.  Return stuffing to squash boats and bake at 375 for about half an hour.  These can be frozen and re-heated, or frozen before baking.

What is left of finished product by the time I remembered to take a picture.

This weekend we are planning to take a day trip to North East, in Erie County Pa to look for cherries or whatever we can find up there.