The days of heat waves and beaches are almost over as the summer nears its end. The change in season also means it’s time to harvest the vegetables grown in the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC). Garden Educator Jacqui Roytman and her assistant Ben Randazzo have cultivated the garden into an urban oasis of healthy, organic vegetables such as: squash, zucchini, black peppers, banana peppers, basil, cherry tomatoes, Swiss Chard lettuce, and so much more.
Throughout the season, Roytman has had campers and seniors visit the garden to sift through the vegetation to find out what is ripe and ready to consume. By doing so, this prevents the garden from becoming overloaded with too much vegetation. However, if something is overlooked it can be repurposed as compost. This was the case for weeds, damaged tomatoes and other plants.
This season Roytman found that she had a very large bounty of callaloo. Its thick stems rose about six feet from the ground, and filled an entire garden bed with the West African vegetable. She learned that the top half of the stem can be used to make flower, while the leaves are used in many Caribbean dishes. “Nothing goes to waste at the garden,” said Roytman.
After a long day gathering callaloo leaves, Randazzo says that his favorite vegetable grown in UGC are the ripe cherry tomatoes. “I like to use them when I make a Zucchini boat,” he said, explaining that his family recipe is very easy to make.
Randazzo’s Zucchini Boat Recipe:
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 4 small zucchini
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- A handful of mushrooms
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- Salt and black pepper
- A handful of cherry tomatoes chopped in half
- 1 cup of Breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- A small handful basil leaves
- ½ cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Cut the small zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon so that shell is able to hold the stuffing.
- Place extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet (over medium-high heat) and sauté the scoped up Zucchini pieces, mushrooms, onions and garlic for a few minutes.
- In a small bowl mix the olive oil, salt and pepper, then brush the mix onto the zucchini shells.
- Once the vegetables are done cooking, place them in a bowl with breadcrumb and mix with one egg.
- Slice the cherry tomatoes and place them inside of the zucchini boat with the breadcrumb vegetables.
- Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, add ½ cup of Parmesan and sprinkle a handful of basil leaves on the zucchini boats. Leave for about 5 minutes.
Photos by Amanda Moses
Zucchini photo courtesy of Margeaux via Flickr