The Tragic Optimist


  1. Tomatoes: mix cubed ones with minced garlic and fresh basil, pasta, and shredded smoked mozzarella (or cut up fresh mozzarella, if you’d rather). Lots of other good pasta options: fresh tomatoes, black olives, fresh herbs and pasta, for example.
    Zucchini: cook with onions, garlic, chickpeas, and olives (flavor with mint, lemon juice, marjoram, pepper) and serve over rice.
    We have a great pasta cookbook I recommend: “Pasta e Verdure” by Jack Bishop. Lots of veggie sauces for pasta.
    Email me if you want more detailed recipes for the above.

  2. You have Cradle of Flavor, right?

    The Cabbage and Lentils with recipe on page 209 is really good.

  3. Laura

    I made this cabbage soup last week:

    I made a double recipe (I wanted to use the whole head of cabbage from our farm share) and ended up adding a pound of ground beef to it because I thought it would improve it. It’s delicious. And I’m sure you could use your fresh tomatoes instead of the canned tomatoes it calls for. I used plain canned tomatoes and added Italian spices.

  4. That pizza looks awesome! At my parents’ house we used to have garden vegetable pizzas too. I love those photos!

    To use the zucchini, sauté yellow onion in olive oil. (I cut the onion in half and then slice thickly into crescents, following the natural ridges.) Lower the heat and layer thickly (1/3 inch) sliced zucchini on top of the onions. Salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and let the zucchini steam for a few minutes. Two zucchini serve two people. Because you slice them so thickly, you don’t realize how much you are actually eating. It’s a great way to eat a whole zucchini at a time. You can top it with Parmesan cheese.

    You could pickle some of the cabbage and carrots. Do you know how to pickle? It’s called tsukemono in Japanese.

  5. chrisgwinn

    We have a different Jack Bishop cookbook that I’m enjoying quite a bit. No appropriate cabbage recipes though.

    It’s surprisingly difficult to find appealing vegetarian cabbage recipes. It’s the wrong kind of cabbage, but I’m sorely tempted to try and make kimchee anyway.

  6. Pickle/Preserve the Zucchini! I recently did a quick canning of a ton of eggplant we got at the market. It’s not full canning, so it’s in the fridge, and should probably last about 6 weeks.

    Blanch the zucchini in a mix of vinegar and water (ratio is up to you – i.e., how tart you like it…for the eggplant I did 100% vinegar.

    Meanwhile get a bunch of olive oil and slowly heat the oil in a saucepan with a ton of minced garlic, peppercorns, and some dried chilis.

    Get your canning jars and fill the jars 1/2 way with the blanched zucchini, put some fresh herbs (I used oregano) on top, pour in a bit of the oil (making sure to get some of the garlic, peppercorns, and chilis in it) up to the herbs and make sure it penetrates down through the zucchini. Then add more zucchini to almost fill the jars, a few more herbs, and fill to nearly the top with more oil.

    Mine are all the in fridge, because I didn’t do a full canning job. Great on top of pasta for dinner, on top of bread for a snack, on a pizza, etc. I also did the same with some banana peppers which are AWESOME!

  7. We had heirloom tomatoes in our farm share this week too. Simply yummy!

  8. is that you in the pic??? I haven’t ever seen one of you!! You are so pretty and cute! and the pizza looks good too! ha ha

  9. Whip up some hummus (I use the one from a recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated–let me know if you want it) and dip the cukes, carrots, and peppers.

    Saute the zucchini in olive oil with garlic and cumin seeds–this is my favorite way to eat it.

    Saute the cabbage in butter with garlic, onions, and sliced apples; sprinkle with salt. Sounds weird but is amazing. I got that idea from one of Martha Stewart’s books.

    BTW, we’re coming to MN next weekend and would be happy to help you eat your vegetables.

  10. My mom used to always make us stuffed squash in the summertime – yum!

    Also, when we were overrun with tomatoes, she would can salsa and spagetti sauce. The salsa tasted just as fresh in Feb!

  11. Gus

    Persian Salad

    2 parts tomato, diced
    2 parts cucumber, seeded and diced
    1 part onion (sweet ones, like vidalias are best), diced
    a handful of fresh chopped parsley
    a hefty splash of rice wine vinegar
    a drizzle of olive oil

    Mix and eat!

    I created this recipe from a salad I ate at a Persian restaurant in Austin called Alborz. The fresh parsley really brings it all together. YUM!


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