16 September 2014

Quick oven-browned zucchini with parmesan cheese

A few weeks back, I posted a recipe for zucchini spears roasted in the oven with olive oil, herbs, and parmesan cheese. Yesterday, I had a couple of zucchinis to cook — they are still coming — but I was in a hurry and decided to do something more rustic and less fussy with them, on the same theme.

Just out of the oven and ready to serve

First I cut the zukes into spears. Then I just cut the spears into chunks — you could do slices — and tossed them in a big bowl with enough olive oil to coat them, and then with some salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and dried thyme.

Ready for the oven

I spooned them out on a rack in a baking pan, so that they would cook on all sides and not be bathing in oil. I sprinkled a liberal amount — probably half a cup — of grated parmesan cheese over the zucchini chunks and set the pan in a hot oven. (Note to self: this would be good with a grated, very dry, hard goat cheese.)

After 20 to 30 minutes, the zucchini was cooked to a golden brown color. I was glad to see that the pieces didn't stick to the baking rack. They were delicious alongside half a small chicken grilled with a dry chili-powder rub. I served the roasted zucchini pieces in the same bowl in which I had tossed them with the oil before cooking them.

15 September 2014

An invasion of irises

A couple of days ago, Walt posted a photo of the path that had become completely overgrown with irises out by the garden shed. He had dug them all out. He did a lot of sweaty work to pry them out of the gravelly ground. Now we have the path back. Here is a link to Walt's photo.

And here are some photos that show what those irises looked like before he dug them out. I took this photo on the left last spring when the irises were in bloom.

If it's hard to tell that there is a path under the irises, well... that was the point. To the right, in a photo from June, the irises are in the lower left corner, and there's the yard and the just-planted vegetable garden in the distance.

In the photo on the right, it looks like the irises are trying to sneak up on Walt, who has his back turned to them.

After all the invading irises were pulled out, I sorted through them all, cut off the long leaves, and replanted them in a small plot of soil behind the garden shed, next to my plum tree. "Replanted" is kind of an exaggeration, since the iris rhizomes like to be right on the surface of the soil, and they spread by "creeping."

We hope the irises will take root in that new spot and fill in against the wire fence. Only time will tell. Right now, I think they look appropriately creepy.

14 September 2014

September scenes for a Sunday

Since the first of September, we've had the longest unbroken string of beautiful days of 2014. It has been fantastic, after all the rain we had in July and especially August.

This kind of weather reminds me of summers in northern California, where we lived for 18 years before relocating to the Loire Valley. It hardly ever rains there at all in summertime.

Right now, our Loire Valley mornings are crisp. The afternoons are pleasantly warm. There's very little humidity in the air. This month will be remembered as 2014's summer.

We haven't had a drop of rain in September. That is supposed to change this coming week, when temperatures will rise and storms are supposed to develop. Right now, we could actually use some rain.