Garden in Transition

Despite the continuing heat wave that is making September feel more like July, the garden has noticed the shorter days and the hot weather crops are slowing down. Fortunately, fall crops are stepping in. While still baby sized and immature, fall veggies are lying in wait for their chance to take over once summer has ceded control of the garden.

Filling buckets with excess tomatoes for canning.

Some summer veggies are on their last legs. Tomato vines are dying back, even as the fruit is still ripening, but we're hoping for another month of tomatoes.

Peppers and eggplants are thriving in this late summer heat, and may stick around until the frost.

Summer squash are nearly done. They continue putting out bright orange blossoms right up until the end.

The last of the zucchini.

Meanwhile, the fall crops are moving in and starting to come up. 

Winter radishes.

Green cabbage.

Red cabbage.

Acorn squash.

Butternut squash, still tiny and attached to its flower.

Delicata squash.

It's hard to imagine when the temperature is hovering around 30 and the humidity is thick in the air, but fall is just around the corner. Are you ready?

Recipe: Ratatouille

Late summer veggies combine to make an amazing stew on a evening when you might notice that the sun is setting earlier. Rather than cook all the ingredients together in a single pot, this alternative version of ratatouille oven roasts each veggie separately before putting them all together for the final simmer. This method speeds up the recipe a bit and produces a prettier result as all the ingredients hold their shape and colour better when cooked separately first.


- 1 large or 2 small eggplants
- 2 summer squash (zucchinis or patty pans, or 1 of each)
- 2 medium onions
- 2-3 peppers
- 3 large tomatoes
- 1 bunch basil
- olive oil
- salt


1) Chop eggplant into 1 inch chunks. Place in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave to drain while you prep the other veggies. Preheat oven to 450 F.

2) Chop onions and fry in olive oil on high, adding a splash of water when the onions start to stick to the pan. The standard method for caramelizing onions is slow work, so we often use this short cut method to save time.

3) Chop summer squash into 1 inch chunks. Place in a roasting pan, salt light and drizzle with oil. By now the eggplant should be drained so you can drizzle than with oil in a separate roasting pan (so that you don't crowd any of the veggies) and put in the oven.

4) Slice peppers in half and place skin side up on a cookie sheet. Coat with olive oil and put in the oven. The squashes, eggplants and peppers should all take about 15-20 minutes to roast.

5) While the other veggies are roasting, coarsely chop tomatoes and mix with caramelized (or at least cooked down) onions in a pot with a sprinkle of salt. Heat on high until boiling and tomatoes start softening, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring to break up the tomatoes.

6) Remove roasting pans from the oven when veggies are thoroughly browned. Slice peppers into strips. Mix all into pot with onions and tomatoes.

7) Add basil to pot and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. Taste and add more salt as needed.

8) Serve with a starch of your choice, like rice or pasta. For this meal, Eric made cornbread triangles to dip into the rich, tomato-based sauce.

Recipe: Baked Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini is the perfect cross between the firm and meaty squash we eat in the fall and the juicy, tender veggies of the summer. This recipe takes full advantage of those delicious qualities and produces a light tasting yet substantial fritter. With pan-fried fritters I always start out excited to make them and then quickly get bored of standing at the stove flipping individual fritters every 2 minutes. Instead I use that early enthusiasm for fritters to spoon batter into muffin trays and pop them in the oven, where the fritters can all bake simultaneously without needing me to stand around holding a spatula. 
The key to fritters that crisp up and turn golden brown is to thoroughly drain the excess water out of the zucchini before mixing it in the fritter batter. You will be surprised at just how much water a zucchini contains, and when in doubt you should give it another squeeze for good measure to get as much out as possible. These fritters are about as versatile as it gets. Serve hot with something savory like pulled pork or chickpea curry, or have it cold the next day with a chutney or cucumber raita.

- 1 large or 2 medium zucchinis
- 2 scallions
- 3-4 garlic scapes
- 1/2-1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup flour
- fat or oil to grease the mini-muffin tray


1) Grate zucchini using largest size grater.

2) Place grated zucchini in a strainer and sprinkle lightly with salt to help draw out water. Leave to drain for at least 10 minutes. Before using, squeeze as much water as possible out with your hands or in a cheesecloth.

3) Slice scallions thinly and finely chop garlic scapes.

4) Beat eggs and add drained zucchini (remember to give it several squeezes to thoroughly drain it), scallions, garlic scapes and salt.

5) Stir veggies and egg together until everything is coated in egg, then add the flour and mix well. The end result should have a chunky batter-like consistency.

6) Grease mini-muffin tray and spoon zucchini batter to fill muffin wells completely.

7) Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes until tops are golden brown and a toothpick in the centre comes out clean. If using regular sized muffin trays you will need to bake for 40-50 minutes.

8) Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on a rack. Can be eaten hot or cold.

I made the larger size version for dinner tonight heaped with pulled pork on top. Yum!

Frost - The Morning After

The frost did indeed come last night. This morning the field was blanketed in a layer of ice.

Spinach is hardy enough to tolerate the ice so it spent the night uncovered. Once the sun melts the ice off later today these little plants will bounce back.

Below is a stray zucchini plant that slipped out of its row cover and got hit by the frost. Unfortunately, zucchini is much more fragile than spinach so this plant is a goner.

Happily, the rest of the zucchini plants were tucked under their cozy row cover and made it safely through the icy night.

The weather forecast is predicting an end to this late May chill today, and the morning has already been warming up nicely. The row covers will come off this afternoon before the plants heat up too much.

Guest Recipe: Late Summer Lasagna

Our second of two recipes from vegan cook extraordinaire: Natalie! This one is my favorite, it's so yummy. Zucchini, patty pan squash and potatoes stand in for the traditional lasagna sheet pasta, making this dish gluten free and loaded with fresh garden flavour. Vegan cashew cheeze holds it all together, but those of us who eat dairy can opt for the more standard ricotta or cottage cheese. I challenge you to try the cashew cheeze if you never have before, its lightly nutty taste works so well with the roasted veggies.


Lasagna "Noodles":

- 2 large pattypan and/or zucchini squash, sliced into 1/2 inch thick sections

- 2 lbs potatoes, washed well and sliced lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick ovals

- olive oil for drizzling

- salt to taste

Tomato Sauce:

- 2 lbs/1 pint Roma or other fresh garden tomatoes

- 1 tsp oregano (fresh or dried)

- 4 cloves garlic, minced

- 1 tsp salt 

- 1/2 tsp black pepper

- 2 tbsp olive oil

Cashew Cheeze (or 2-3 cups ricotta/cottage cheese in it's place):

- 1 cup raw cashews

- 1 block (454 g) Firm or Extra Firm tofu

- 1/2 cup fresh (or 1 tsp dried) basil

- olive oil

- juice of 1 lemon


- 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes, zucchini, or melty cheese, whatever you'd like!



To prepare noodles:

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Coat squash and potato slices in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and place on them on baking sheets.

2. Roast at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your slices or if you only use one baking sheet.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce:

1. Chop tomatoes and set in a colander (in a bowl or the sink) with about 2 tablespoons of salt for 15 minutes. This should reduce the juice...and don't worry, most of the salt will drain with the juices.

2. Once they are ready, coat a medium sized heavy bottomed saucepan with the oil and set to medium/high heat.

3. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant, then add oregano, salt, pepper, and the tomatoes. Simmer for 15 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. If desired, blend with an immersion blender to eliminate any remaining chunks or skin.

Lastly, ready the cashew cheeze:

1. Place the cashews, garlic, salt and oil in a food processor or blender and process into a paste. Add the tofu and lemon juice and blend until the mixture reaches a spreadable consistency. Adding water is sometimes necessary depending on the type of tofu used.

2. Once smooth, add the basil and pulse to chop and combine.

Now put it all together:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 x 11 pan. 

2. Layer the lasagna. First a layer of squash to cover the pan. Make sure to cover the pan completely.

3. Next all of the potatoes.

4. Half of the cheeze/cheese.

5. Half of the sauce.

6. The remaining squash.

7. The remaining cheeze/cheese.

8. The remaining sauce.

9. Lastly add your topping of choice. We chose sliced tomatoes for this late summer feast!

10. Cover in foil and bake for 15 minutes with it on, then 15 with it off. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Denver is all business when it comes to this delicious lasagna.