About this time of year, people are giving their zucchini and other summer squashes away. Maybe I am just selfish (probably), but I don’t. I want them and everyone else’s all to myself. My garden didn’t do as well as I would have liked this year. My output on squashes was puny for the size and number of my plants. I am currently in what I think is the final push of production. So, I am letting them grow…as big as possible. Seeds be damned! (That is, I don’t care if they get a bit seedy.)
A student gave me a zucchini last week that measured about 16 inches long and was probably five pounds. Good deal! I sliced it thinly, roasted on a sheet with oil and salt in the oven. (I used organic red palm oil this time) After some caramelizing, I poured a pint of my husbands marinara over the top and spread it around evenly and baked it some more. This we served over the top of some polenta I made earlier and baked in the oven. Over the top, we sprinkled porcini salt and homemade vegan Parmesan (nutritional yeast, salt, minced walnut mixture).
Divine and simple.
And, it was better the next day.
Twice now in the past week, we have driven to a local farm and purchased two cases of tomatoes equaling nearly 40 pounds each time. These are organic heirloom tomatoes at a dollar a pound. In the stores, they are five to six dollars a pound and the same at the farmers’ markets.
Apparent delusions of grandeur fuel me in the summer months, but somehow, we succeed in our quests. We have so far produced, 16 pints of marinara sauce, 20 pints of stewed tomatoes, 12 four-ounce jars of tomato paste, and are currently experimenting with ketchup. Personally, I don’t like the stuff, but the other members of the household do. I always buy organic ketchup and I probably only purchase two bottles in a whole year, but still the plastic container bothers me. I am also bothered by the nagging feeling that it would be less expensive and local if I made it myself.
So here we are, whipping up a test batch and concluding that this will culminate in our own recipe as we adjust to suit our tastes (even mine…I do know what it ought to be like even if I don’t care for it). Also, this is the first year for stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, and the second for marinara. No more worries about Muir Glen, etc. and their cans or politics. No more guilt about the fuel it costs to ship and process long distances. No worries about the quality of the product. And, this is what I meant when I suggested that living sustainably is a process.
We take it one step at a time, trying to change our lives and our world through small actions. And, they matter.