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Announcement: September 5, 2022:Labor Day!
September 11th, 2022 by Alex Koster

My family and I went upstate for Labor day and so I took the opportunity to buy as many local ingredients and eat as many fresh foods as we could. We stopped at a farm stand and bought fresh corn and tomatoes and then went to a local farmers market in Hillsdale, NY, and bought peaches, zucchini, basil, and kale. Then we displayed our cornucopia of fresh produce on our picnic table. Now how to use it all?

Zucchini Bread

With the zucchini we made (you guessed it) zucchini bread! Was I a weird child if this was my favorite desert growing up? We usually grew it in our own garden and had so much of it, my mom would try to use it lots of different recipes–zucchini soup, zucchini and basil frittata, zucchini fries–but zucchini bread was the best.

The recipe for this is quick and easy.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (plus more for buttering 2 bread pans)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional but really tasty)

The first step is to grate the zucchini using a box grater. Be sure to leave at least 1/2 the skin on so you get some good green color. Also, if you have time, let the grated zucchini drain in a colander for 1/2 hour, particularly if it’s fresh–either homegrown or from the farmers market, like ours.

The next step is to combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and mix with a fork or whisk.

Then whisk the wet ingredients (eggs and vanilla) with the sugar and salt and stir in the grated zucchini. Add the melted butter, stir and finally fold in the nuts, if using. Pour into two buttered bread pans.

Bake the bread in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes or when a knife comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!

Fresh corn is one of my all-time favorite foods so when it’s at its peak (like right now), we buy a lot and try to freeze some. To do so, husk and clean the corn and then slice the kernels off and put in a ziplock bag–then it’s easy to use when you are really missing it (like in the dead of winter).

The easiest way to slice the kernels off is to break the ear in half and put the flat (broken) edge of corn on cutting board and slice down from the top, turning ear as you go.

Luckily we had bought enough corn to freeze half and use the rest for a warm corn salad with fresh basil and tomatoes (which we served with roasted chicken thighs)

For the corn salad you will need:

  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels –about 4 ears (you can use frozen, but fresh is better)
  • 1/2 cup torn, fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced, or chives, for serving (optional)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter and let melt till just starting to brown (don’t let it burn). Add the fresh corn and sautee until tender and starting to brown. Add the tomatoes and cook until just breaking down. Salt and pepper to taste, and add the basil. Cook until basil just wilting then serve, adding scallions or chives if you prefer.

Chicken:

I served the corn salad with oven-roasted chicken thighs (although you could also cook the thighs with the corn if you prefer–just be sure to use skinless boneless thighs, not bone-in, and pre-cook them. See the New York Times easy recipe here https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1023412-skillet-chicken-thighs-with-brown-butter-corn). However, for my dinner I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.

Again this is an easy delicious way to cook chicken. All you need is

  • 6-8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating, mince the garlic finely and season the chicken all over (both sides) with salt and pepper. Rub the minced garlic in and let sit for 10-15 minutes.

Cook for 35-40 minutes–checking and turn at 20 minutes, and then again at 35 minutes to make sure they’re not too brown. Skin should be crispy but test with sharp knife to make sure done (clear juice should come out)

I also made peach cobbler but that deserves a post of its own so stay tuned for recipe!


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