This year we grew all of 3 zucchini's.  It is definitely becoming more of a challenge to grow vegetables in my garden.  We do appreciate anything we do hopefully everyone has not had their fill of zucchini and can take one more yummy dish.
Our neighbor gifted us with freshly caught shrimp - so delicious!  They were already cooked, so for this dish I lightly re-heated them to go alongside the Zucchini Cakes and Chili Paste with Sweet Basil dipping sauce. Can you tell I am in love with this Chili Paste with Sweet Basil?  Lately I can not seem to get enough of it.   For a reminder here is a picture:
Many thanks to our neighbor for the delicious shrimp!  🙂
2 Tblsp. Grapeseed oil
1 fully packed cup of finely grated zucchini - well drained
2/3 cup finely grated carrot - well drained
2 Tblsp. finely diced red onion
2 Tblsp. Chili Paste with Sweet Basil (if you do not have this brand - Thai Kitchen Red Curry paste would work, just use 1 Tblsp.)
1 Tblsp. mayonnaise
3 Tblsp. gluten free bread crumbs
salt to taste
1 small egg
Add the grated zucchini to a sieve and squeeze out the excess juice - to become very dry.  Place in a bowl.  Then add the grated carrot  to the sieve and squeeze out any excess juice.  Add to the bowl of zucchini.
Add the diced onion, chili paste, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, salt and the egg mixing well.
Shape into patties and place onto a plate.  Heat up a frying pan with grapeseed oil on medium high heat.  Add the zucchini cakes to the pan and cook 5-6 minutes per side.
While the zucchini cakes are cooking make up this super easy dipping sauce:
Chili Sweet Basil Dipping Sauce:
3 Tblsp. Mayonnaise
1 Tblsp. Chili Paste with Sweet Basil
That is it...too easy, but mighty tasty!
Once the zucchini cakes are cooked, transfer to a plate.  Cook fresh shrimp in the same pan just for a few minutes sauteing until nice and pink.  (mine were just re heated)  Serve the zucchini cakes and shrimp with the chili sweet basil dipping sauce.

This was one yummy dinner - easy too.  I think it might even be "Paleo Friendly"...although, in all honesty I do not know too much about the Paleo diet.
UPDATE:  Shirley From Gluten Free Easily kindly let me know...this is not a meal that fits with the Paleo diet because of the cheese in the Pesto.  I love how we can learn new information on the web.  Thanks for sharing Shirley! 🙂
This dinner was a result of having an abundance of summer fresh vegetables in the fridge.  Plus my measly few additions from our very poor garden yield this year:  (better than nothing right?)
By the way, I meant to include the baby Swiss Chard in this dinner...and totally forgot.  Dang.  Well, it will do well tomorrow sauted under poached eggs for breakfast.
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts - mine were small in total about 3/4 lb.
3 chopped garlic cloves
10 cherry tomatoes
4 Tblsp. Pesto or store bought
2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 1 Tblsp. butter
1 green zucchini thinly sliced lenghthwise, then sliced in half
8 slices of yellow zucchini -  slice on the diagonal about 1/4 of an inch
2 large crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 large Heirloom tomato thickly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
Extra Pesto Sauce for a garnish
Slice up the garlic cloves, and quarter the cherry tomatoes.  Add to a blender with the Pesto sauce and puree until fine, then set aside.  Heat up a grill pan on medium high heat with a drizzle of EVOO.  Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Grill each side of the chicken breasts about 3 minutes per side just to get a few grill marks.
Add the renderings to another frying pan - for the vegetables.
To the grill pan, pour the sauce over the chicken and cover.  Turn the heat to a low simmer.  Cook another 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat up the other pan with the renderings and the butter.  Saute the mushrooms until golden, then set aside on a plate.  Add the sliced yellow zucchini and saute each side until golden.  About a minute or two.  Remove the yellow zucchini to the plate of mushrooms, and add in the sliced tomato.  Saute about 1 minute per side, then add to the plate of vegetables.  Then add in the sliced green zucchini.  Saute about 2-3 minutes, then add in the mushrooms and yellow zucchini - season well with salt and pepper.  Saute another minute or two to heat through.
Add the sliced zucchini and yellow zucchini to the plate.  Then top with the tomato slices and mushrooms.  Place the chicken on top with some sauce and and extra dollop of Pesto.  Dive in and enjoy!

After all these years of having fresh herbs in the garden, I finally decided to dry fresh lemon balm and mint.  I can not believe with a garden full of these lovely herbs I have not done this sooner!
Lemon Balm is said to have many healing qualities - you can read about lemon balm here.
I cut some stalks of lemon balm, and stalks of mint - mine is not true mint - it tastes like peppermint and spearmint - but either would work well here.
This not a good picture because of the lighting, but what I did do was to attach an elastic band around the bottom edges of the stalks of herbs.  Then I hung them by string upside down on a curtain rod in the kitchen.  My kitchen always has a window or two open so there is always a breeze.  It is important to have good air flow when drying these herbs.

I did loose track of time.  This is a guess here but I think they hung for at least 2 weeks.  I did two other batches, and between warm weather, some wind through the windows, they were dry in one weeks time.
Then I picked off each leaf, making sure not to include the tough stems.  Then chop until you have a small consistency - wow does it ever smell luscious :
2 cups dried lemon balm, chopped fine
1 1/2 cups dried mint - spearmint or peppermint
boiling water
fresh lemon
Cut your dried herbs - you want them fairly small - similar to tea  leaves.  Add to a bowl and combine the two herbs.
Mix up until well combined and transfer to a mason jar, to store in a dark cupboard.
To make the tea, add 3 Tblsp. of dried tea mixture to 1 1/2 cups of boiling water.  Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.  Squeeze in the juice of a fresh lemon wedge and a tad bit of honey, stirring to combine.  Refreshing homemade tea at it's best!

Fresh organic Swiss Chard - simply delicious.  Add a marinated Flank Steak on top - heaven.  This was market bought Swiss Chard, as mine are still very small.
This has been a very strange summer.  It was a very cool spring and a very late start to the summer.  We even had one full day and night of thunder and lightning - very rare for our area. (I love thunder and lightening!)
One tomato plant has gone into the garbage - can't even compost it because of fungus.  Some of the zucchini is rotting before it has a chance to develop.  The green beans?  Not sure how they will do.
A week or so later and finally we have good sun and some heat.  There may yet be hope...when it comes to the garden I am ever the optimist! (mercy, here we are in August, one month left!)
In the meantime, here is a lovely meal to share...thankfully, there are still parts of our area that are producing good, organic fresh vegetables.
1 lb. Flank Steak
1/4 cup Tomato Juice
2 Tblsp. Tamari Sauce
1 Tblsp. Olive Oil
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
1/8th tsp. Chipotle Chili Pepper
Topping:  Feta Cheese
5 cups of chopped fresh Swiss chard stems included
3 minced garlic cloves
2 Tblsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tblsp. butter
juice of 1/4 fresh lemon
lightly salt and pepper
In a bowl combine the marinade ingredients.  Add the steak to a covered dish, and pour over the marinade, turning the steak to cover.  Cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 2 1/2 hours or over night.
Remove the steak from the marinade, and using your clean hands, wipe off any extra marinade back into the container. Put the flank steak onto a baking sheet lined with tin foil and allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat your oven to broil, and pour the marinade into a small saucepan.
Bring the marinade to a boil, turn down to a simmer.  Stir frequently and reduce until half.  (actually I reduced to 1/4 being the germafobe that I am)
Broil the steak for about 7-8 minutes per side.  Transfer to a platter to rest about 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile make the Lemon Garlic Swiss Chard.
Heat up a frying pan on medium heat with the Olive oil and butter.  Add the Swiss Chard stems, and saute for five minutes.  Turn down the heat to low, then add in the garlic, and lemon juice, stirring until fragrant.  Add in the Swiss Chard and saute for about 5 minutes.

Slice the steak on a diagonal, and pour over the reduced sauce.
To a dinner plate add a good serving of the Lemon Garlic Swiss Chard.  Add a few slices of the Flank Steak on top of the Swiss Chard, and then sprinkle crumbled Feta Cheese over top.  Serve with steamed vegetables.  So tasty!

Here is yet another fresh salad.  During the spring and summer - we have salads of every kind almost every day.  The Sugar Snap Peas will not be around much longer so we have been eating them in every salad we make.
Every once in a while I have a huge craving for shellfish.  As my DH will not eat shellfish, I usually purchase small amounts for myself.  This salad hit the spot, and with fresh Sugar Snap Peas from my local market it gave a nice sweetness to the salad and some great crunch.  A quick, easy, yummy lunch, and there was enough left over for lunch the next day!
1 cup of fresh baby shrimp, rinsed well
1/2 a celery stalk finely diced
1 green onion, diced
7-8 Sugar Snap Peas, chopped small
3 rounded Tblsp. Mayonnaise
juice of a lemon wedge
1/2 tsp. Curry Powder
salt to taste
1 Tblsp. finely minced fresh Cilantro
lettuce leaves
cherry tomatoes
Add the shrimp, celery, green onion, sugar snap peas, mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder, cilantro and salt to a bowl and mix until incorporated.
Lay down some fresh salad greens onto a plate, (these lovely greens came from our garden) and serve a generous helping of the Curried Shrimp on top.  Garnish with fresh Cilantro and sliced cherry tomatoes on the side.

This is the second cauliflower from our garden!  Who knew we could grow cauliflower in our ever challenging garden?  Now I wish I had planted more - next year.  As it turns out, DH is not all that crazy about cauliflower, but he did say it is much more sweeter and tastier than store bought.  Personally, I think this lovely vegetable does not get enough credit.  It may be somewhat simple in flavor, but that is where you can do so much to it to enhance the natural flavors of this lovely vegetable.
How about a 1-2 minute boiling bath, then submerged in an ice bath.  Add similar blanced vegetables, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, then add fresh red onions, fresh parsley with a vinaigrette to marinade - yum!  Think I will do a post down the road with this idea!  Or in a chicken ginger stir fry, or blitz up and smother in a great Marinara sauce - so many possibilities.
So today I thought in terms of a cheese sauce to boost up the flavor.  A 3 cheese, mushroom, garlic, onion cheese sauce.  Oh and with a pinch of nutmeg - it was so so good!  With three types of cheese and a pinch of nutmeg - magic!  DH was pleasantly surprised and asked, can we have this every night?  Not!  This is a fairly rich cheese sauce, nice to have once in a while.
This recipe makes quite a lot of sauce - great for more steamed vegetables tomorrow.
4 Tblsp. butter
5 small crimini mushrooms, chopped small
4 minced garlic cloves
1/2 a small onion, minced
1  3/4 cups of Soy Milk - unsweetened (or milk of your preference)
1/2 cup of grated Asiago cheese
1 cup of grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2-3 Tblsp. cornstarch and soy milk to make a slurry
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of Nutmeg
1 Tblsp. fresh minced Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
Heat up a medium sized sauce pan on low medium heat - add butter to melt.  Meanwhile chop up the mushrooms, onions and garlic.
Add the mushrooms to the pan, and saute until lightly golden.  Then add in the onions, garlic, salt and pepper, sauteing until translucent.  Add in the pinch of Nutmeg, stirring well, then pour in the milk.
Bring to a light slimmer, and mix the cornstarch with a little milk to make a thick slurry.  Pour in the slurry stirring well to thicken.  Add in the cheeses, stirring to melt, then remove from the heat and add the fresh Parsley, stirring to incorporate.
Serve over cauliflower or any other steamed vegetables.  We had this with grilled pork chops, organic steamed French Red Fingerling potatoes and my Marinated Tomato Salad...recipe pending.  So delicious.

I just learned today that Anthony Sedlak suddenly passed away on July 6/2012.  At the tender age of 29, Anthony was an up and coming talented Canadian Chef.  He was the Food Network Star of the shows THE MAIN, AND FAMILY COOK OFF, to name just two of his many accomplishments.
Such a tragic loss, he had a promising career ahead of him, as well, was much loved by all who knew him.  I loved his show The Main - a very creative Chef, and a very engaging personality.  My heart goes out to his family and friends.
One can't help but ask "Why"?  An answer we will never know.  So I decided to wander the gardens this night, in remembrance of this talented young man.  A young man who left us too early, and who will be very missed.

I am sorry his amazing spirit is no longer with us....

This was such a refreshing delicious lemonade.  I had gone to our local Nursery to buy my Basil Plants for the summer.  The owner was in the process of cutting back a large Grapefruit Mint Plant, and gifted me with the cuttings.  I had never heard of Grapefruit Mint before, have you?
The flavor of this mint is unique, with a subtle grapefruit hint, not overpowering, and much tastier than regular mint in my opinion.  This lemonade was so tasty, I have to get back to the nursery to buy the plant.  Rather than plant it in the garden, I will plant it in a large pot as my lemon balm and regular mint are taking over the gardens!
I love using fresh herbs in iced beverages like this one and like my Iced Lemon/Mint Tea.
2 cups fresh grapefruit mint leaves (fairly packed down) (lemon balm would be delicious too)
7 cups of boiling water
1 cup of freshly squeezed organic lemon juice
10 Tblsp. Agave Nectar
Add the fresh grapefruit mint leaves to a large pitcher, pouring in the water, allowing to steep 30-40 minutes.
Strain the leaves out of the tea, add in the fresh lemon juice and Agave Nectar stirring to dissolve.  I used tablespoons to measure for sweetness, as I do not like overly sweet lemonade - this was perfect for me, but if you like it sweeter add more Agave Nectar to suit your tastes.
Pour over ice with a lemon wedge and enjoy! 🙂
Here is a mini tour of what is happening in the garden right now:
I separated the basil plants to grow in one big container.  I still have some more to plant!
Check this out:  I planted some cauliflower starts - have you ever seen a pink hued cauliflower?  Not sure what kind of cauliflower this is, but it was very sweet and mighty tasty!
Now onto the flowers:
This Blue Delphinium is as tall as I am - 5'8" - never knew they could grow that tall!
Then the ever growing Cottage Mallow which is almost as tall.  At the far left is an equally tall Rosemary Bush:
Calendula is always bountiful throughout my gardens, a hardy self seeding gem. Mercy...I have a ton of weeding to do!
Campenalla gives such bright color and self seeds as well:
These Purple African Daisy's overwintered from last year - almost unheard of in my neck of the woods!
And finally a lovely dark pink Cosmos - one of may favorite flowers: