I probably wouldn’t describe myself as someone with a green thumb. It’s not that I am not one with nature, or have no instincts when it comes to plants, it’s probably more because I approach growing things the same way I approach cooking. I prefer to go in blindly with little direction and see what works and what does not.
I planted my first garden this summer and it was very apparent that this approach probably does not work as well in the garden as it does in the kitchen. Or maybe it does, depends on how you look at it. I did make a lot of mistakes, and I learned some key lessons from those mistakes, so maybe that will make my garden next year that much better? I sure do hope so.
Last summer I volunteered one day a week at The Stone Barns Center for Agriculture in their dooryard garden hoping to learn a little from the experts: the passionate farmers and gardeners who work there. I did learn to make a killer trellis from found objects, and I learned about all kinds of plants and vegetables that I had never heard of, but most of all I learned that I had a lot to learn.
It was kind of overwhelming, especially for someone with very little knowledge of gardening. So when it came time to build and plant my garden this summer, I decided that I was not going to try and learn everything. I was just going to plant some seeds, give it some love, and see what happened.
The result? An out of control amount of zucchini, cucumbers that are popping up in and around my grape tomatoes, and enough pumpkins to charge for hay rides and pumpkin picking in my backyard this October. As well as a bunch of lettuce that never surfaced, and carrots and scallions that I’m certain were eaten by some sneaky little creatures.
So with that, I am going to have a few zucchini recipes for you since, over the next few weeks, I am going to have more zucchini than I will know what to do with.
Starting with this recipe for a raw zucchini “pasta”. This time last year, I posted another raw zucchini recipe, and this recipe today takes it a step further. Zucchini “pasta” is not meant to taste like pasta. It is much lighter and much more refreshing, an excellent summertime dish. The avocado pea pesto can be used interchangeably over real pasta, or any other way you would like to use a pesto. I love to keep the peas frozen when I blend them because it keeps the pesto nice and chilled, which is excellent on a hot summer day.
raw zucchini "pasta" with an avocado & pea pesto
for the zucchini "pasta":
3 green zucchini (choose ones that are long and straight)
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper
for the avocado & pea pesto:
1/2 cup of frozen, organic peas
1/2 cup of basil
1/2 of a ripe avocado
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Start by making the zucchini "pasta". Peel the zucchini and then slice off the two ends. Cut the zucchini into planks, lengthwise. Then finely slice the planks, lengthwise again. You should have long, thin strips of zucchini that look somewhat like linguini or fettuccini.
- Place the sliced zucchini into a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice, and a little bit of salt and pepper. Set this aside and allow it to marinate.
- Then, make the avocado and pea pesto. Place the frozen peas, basil, avocado, garlic, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper in the blender. While the blender is running, drizzle in the olive oil. Continue to blend adding in the water until the mixture is running continuously (you should only need about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water). Blend until you have the consistency you like. I like mine a little chunky, but if you like it super smooth feel free to continue blending. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
- Once the pesto is done, toss it in the bowl with the zucchini until the zucchini is coated with the pesto.
Serve chilled, or at room temperature. This should last for a few days in the fridge, but is probably best in the first day or so.