Recipes for gardeners

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Use the rough-textured sauce on pasta, or smooth it in the blender
 for other uses.
Easy fresh tomato sauce
Makes about 2 cups

2 pounds fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter, margarine or olive oil
Salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)

Wash tomatoes. Core larger tomatoes as necessary. Rough-chop tomatoes into 1-inch pieces. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter or margarine or heat oil. Add tomatoes.

Over medium heat, sauté tomatoes, salting lightly. That starts to draw out the juices. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer tomatoes, stirring occasionally, until they break down and get very soft and saucy, about 15 minutes. Cook a few minutes longer uncovered to thicken slightly, if desired.

At that point, the sauce is done, but rough-textured. (It's great for pasta.)

For a smoother sauce, briefly process in the food processor or blender. The skins will totally disappear and any seeds will almost disappear, too. The final sauce will be thick and smooth. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to four days. May be frozen for up to one year.

Chocolate zucchini bread
Makes 1 loaf, about 10 slices


Chocolate zucchini bread is good for breakfast or dessert.
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (from two to three medium squash)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey OR agave nectar
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (regular or dark)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Powdered sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.

Pat shredded zucchini dry with paper towels. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, milk, egg, honey or agave, oil and vanilla.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt and cocoa.

Add the zucchini, the milk mixture and the mini chips to the flour. Stir just until moistened (lumps are OK) -- batter will be thick. Scrape batter into loaf pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 33-40 minutes. (You might get some melted chocolate chips on the pick -- that's OK.) 

Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a rack. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top, if desired.


Regular zucchini bread: Omit the cocoa and chips, but otherwise follow the instructions above.

Mix-ins: For either chocolate or regular zucchini bread, stir in 1/2 cup shredded coconut or 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries or 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts when you add the zucchini. Bake as instructed above.

Muffins: Grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Divide batter between cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes.

Adapted from a recipe in "Brilliant Food Tips and Cooking Tricks" by David Joachim

Grilled peach cobbler
Bake cobbler on the grill.

Serves 4


3 cups peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

For dough:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons chilled butter
1/2 cup milk


In a bowl, toss peach slices with 1/2 cup sugar,  1 tablespoon flour and cinnamon.

In an 8-inch cast-iron skillet, melt butter. (This can be done on the stove top or grill.) Add peaches and cook over medium heat until juices become bubbly. Remove from heat.

In another bowl, combine remaining flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal. Add milk and stir to form a dough, like drop biscuits. Spoon dough by heaping tablespoons over the peaches.

Meanwhile, warm the grill to about 400 degrees F. If using three burners, turn off the center burner.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the grill under where the pan will sit, in the center of the grill over the off burner. Place pan on foil and close grill.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown. (You may need to adjust heat on grill to keep temperature about 350-375 degrees.) Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

Note: Other fruit such as apples, blackberries and nectarines work well in this recipe.

This chutney recipe is flexible. (Photo: Debbie Arrington)

Makes 8 cups
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons butter, margarine or vegetable oil
3 pounds stone fruit (ie. peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, etc.)
3 pounds tomatoes
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup wine vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup red wine (such as pinot noir)
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, currants, etc.)
Plums are a good option for chutney.
1 tablespoon candied ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
In a large heavy pot over medium heat, melt butter or margarine or heat oil and saute chopped onion and garlic until soft.
Peel and pit peaches or nectarines. Pit other fruit. Chop into ½- to ¾-inch pieces.
Core and chop tomatoes (peeling optional).
Add fruit and tomatoes to pot with onions. Add broth and bring to boil.
Add brown sugar, vinegars and wine.
Rinse raisins or dried fruit with hot water, then add to pot. Stir in ginger, pepper flakes and salt.
Bring back to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Stir often as mixture starts to reduce to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Simmer and stir until fruit and tomatoes break down and chutney thickens to desired consistency. The finished chutney should mound on a spoon like applesauce.
Note: Refrigerate until ready to use; it will keep at least a week, covered. Finished chutney may be frozen.
Or process in half-pint jars in a hot-water bath for 10 minutes.

Note: Can be made with all stone fruit or all tomatoes.

This tart is a great brunch option. (Photo:
Kathy Morrison)

Easier tomato and goat cheese tart

Adapted from the New York Times
Serves 4-6


½ package (1 roll) of a refrigerated pie crust, allowed to sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Minimal supporting cast for the tomatoes.

4 or 5 ripe medium-to-large tomatoes (a mix of colors is nice)

Salt and freshly ground pepper 

2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs (chopped parsley, marjoram or basil, or a mix) OR 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh thyme or chopped rosemary

2 eggs

4 ounces plain goat cheese, crumbled

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pan


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9- or 10-inch tart pan and line it with the unrolled crust. (Trim the dough if necessary.) Put the tart pan in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the tart filling.

Cover a large rimmed baking pan with several layers of paper towels. Slice the tomatoes about ¼-inch thick and place the slices in a single layer on the paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Let stand 30 minutes, turning tomatoes over about halfway through. Pat tomatoes dry, removing any large clumps of seeds (optional).
Dijon mustard on the crust adds a savory layer of flavor.

Remove tart pan from the refrigerator. Brush the mustard over the bottom of the crust. Arrange the tomato slices over the mustard in concentric circles, overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the herbs you chose.

In a small bowl, beat together the eggs and goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the tomatoes. Drizzle on the 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Place tart in the oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and filling is set. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Tomato jam

Tomato jam goes great on burgers.

Makes about 1 ½ cups


1 ½ pounds meaty tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy, optional
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine all the ingredients in a medium, heavy-bottom, non-reactive saucepan, preferably nonstick. Over medium-high heat, cook until bubbling. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 1 hour. (As it nears proper thickness, watch carefully and stir often to prevent scorching.) Remove from heat and cool the jam to room temperature.

Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. This jam also freezes well.

Adapted from Cutty’s


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