last of summer and a recipe

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cooking in season / recipes

Temperatures make it a little hard to tell, but summer is wrapping up in Austin. We picked up what I am sure is going to be our last watermelon of the year with our tuber-heavy CSA stash. In the kitchen, I am closing out the summer with one last batch of my summer squash risotto.

I originally came across this risotto cooking method in The Bon Apetit Fast Easy Fresh cookbook. I’ve been making risotto this way for so long now that I can’t even remember how I used to make it. There is very little stirring (just enough to keep it from sticking) and it comes together so quickly that it is a no-brainer, go-to when I get home from the market on Saturday with a bundle of summer squash.  Great for a when you want to add a little more substance to a salad dinner on a weeknight, too.

Summer Squash Risotto

1 yellow summer squash or medium zucchini, grated
½ yellow onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
¾ cup arborio rice
3 cups vegetable broth (or water)
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan (optional)

  1. Melt butter or warm olive oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add diced onion and grated squash. Cook for a few minutes until onion and zucchini start to soften.
  3. Add arborio rice, stir until grains are well coated, and cook for a few more minutes.
  4. Add broth and bring to a boil (note: I like to use leek broth if I have it on hand, but any vegetable broth or water works).
  5. Season with salt.
  6. Lower heat to medium low and stir risotto occasionally to keep from sticking to bottom of pot.
  7. Cook until liquid has reduced and rice is nice and creamy. About 15-20 minutes depending on temp of your stove.
  8. Top individual servings with freshly grated parmesan and pepper if you’d like.

You can substitute butter for the olive oil and replace a ½ cup liquid with heavy cream if you’d like, but I find that the grated summer squash turns almost buttery (think zucchini butter) adding a creaminess without having to pile on any dairy.

eating at almost-thirteen

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The following is a list of what food items the 12yo has requested to have available for her birthday weekend:

  • Oatmeal pancakes
  • Watermelon, watermelon, watermelon
  • Tres leches cake
  • Juice (any kind)
  • Casa Garcia nachos

Lots has changed in the past year (height, maturity, etc.) but the only change in this list is (1) type of cake and (2) a preference for a plate of nachos instead of mac and cheese. Baby steps, y’all.

P.S. Post where I gush about all the growth and awesomeness to follow tomorrow, ’cause this kid rocks.

veggie meal plan – 8/15/16

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cooking in season / vegetarian meal plans


Good ol’ Hampshire College had a small farm on campus and a student-run coop with bulk bins, so I can pretty strongly delineate my attachment to eating local (hyper-local even) back to my college days. The practice started a little over 20 years ago and to this day, I (and now my family) eat what the local seasons and growers have to offer. Given that snippet of history, I hope you understand how disorienting the past few weeks have been. The grocery store offers up way too many options and it had been years since I have put together a meal plan BEFORE knowing what I have to work with.

Anywho… CSA, yay! Back to the point…

Zucchini lasagna
Vegetarian Chili (and some Frito pies)
Zucchini Quiche
Soup TBD (maybe a potato leek?)
BLTs with Tofu Bacon

Roasted okra
Roasted beets
Cucumber slices
Coconut cake

Fermented jalapeños
Fermented dill pickles
Golden habanero sauce
Peach sauce

veggie meal plan – 8/8/16

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food-related / vegetarian meal plans

Picked up a handful of vegetables at the grocery store (peppers, cukes, zucchini, etc.) and am working my pantry and freezer to the max this week to help pull all of our meals together. Wish me luck as I try to cook up a week’s worth of meals without my trusty CSA stash.


Quinoa chowder with spinach, feta & scallions*
15-minute lo mein
Cucumber Salad**
Fideo Bowls
Homemade pizzas with whole wheat pizza dough***
Entomatadas + Frijoles Charros

Roasted beets
Coconut-pecan granola
Lentil salad with roasted peppers & vegetable garnishes*
Watermelon-strawberry popsicles

For breakfast, we’ll be rotating our usual of yogurt, scrambles, oatmeal with lots of fruit and loads of coffee.

* Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
** Near & Far by Heidi Swanson
*** King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking


Planning my week out meticulously in hopes of less chaos.
Roasting beets. 
Olympics on in the background. 

no csa pickup

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I have been so out of sorts and busy the fast few weeks that I let my CSA subscription lapse! Rectifying that today, but it I won’t be able to pick up my CSA box until next weekend. Yikes! Next up? A meal plan with lots of pantry meals…

weekend preserving: a list

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preserving the seasons

Lots of produce that I need to put up this weekend, so I thought I would put together a list for the sake of accountability. I’ve listed things in order of priority for my pantry, but this does not necessarily mean that I will tackle them in that order:

  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Shelf-stable salsa (small batch for emergencies) 
  • Ketchup
  • Fermented dill pickles
  • Pickled red onions
  • Fermented serranos
  • Charred serranos for freezer
  • Escabeche (small batch for botana emergencies)
  • Enchilada sauce for freezer
  • Fermented serranos

Tryint my best to not get overwhelmed by just taking things a project at a time. 

P.S. I got a batch of fig jam put up last night and feeling a little less guilty about letting the birds win today. I’ll head back out tomorrow.

P.P.S. If anybody wants watermelon rinds for pickling (not organic, sorry), let me know. Ended up with two watermelons today and feel guilty throwing out soooo much of the rind. Nobody in the house likes watermelon rind pickles, but I know you people are out there. 

tomatolandia cont.

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preserving the seasons

I have put up 7 pints of shelf-stable tomato sauce and 5 pints of oven-roasted tomatoes in the freezer to date and that is just not enough to make it through to June 2017. 10 pounds of san marzanos getting processed tonight! Stay tuned to the ‘gram and twitterverse for the play-by-play. 

no junk week

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Been snacking on lots of chips and sweets lately, so I am staying strong for 7 days. No junkie stuff. We have plenty of fruit and homemade pops on hand to take care of the sweet cravings. The salty stuff? Gonna try hydrating better to see if that makes an impact.