I spent some time Sunday working in my garden. It had been neglected for far too long. I mean, I had watered it, and picked a cucumber here and there, but I needed to give it some real TLC.
And its the time to year to start thinking about a fall garden. You read that right. In the heat of summer, now’s the time, to plan what you’ll be harvesting in the cool, crisp days of fall. It makes sense, since summer plants are started in April or May for harvest now. What’s sad is that the first frost day for Zone 6 is in less than ninety days.
To that end, I planted beets, spinach, peas, and swiss chard for a fall harvest. I can’t believe I planted more swiss chard. I mean, I’m up to my elbows in it. I’m afraid the Hubs is getting tired of it.
I never had swiss chard plants that grew this robustly before. I’d harvest a few bunches of it in the past, but that was about it. I planted these plants along the front of my new raised bed that is up against a chain link fence. I planted beans in the back of the bed to trellis up the fence, but the deer had other ideas for the beans. The bed is full of new potting soil, and I attribute the prolific nature of this year’s swiss chard to that. It’s like gangbusters in there.
At any rate, I thinned out some of the plants that were too crowded and picked some outer leaves off those that I left. I also dug up my potatoes to make room for more swiss chard plants, and I pulled up what was left of my spring kale. It was way past time to do this, but I had a few puny plants that were just limping along and never got full size. They could be really bitter since its too hot for them now. I hope not.
My father-in-law’s garden is doing amazing. He has given us at least a few grocery bags of peppers and yellow squash already, and they’re still coming on. He is already sick of eating yellow squash. I’ve been cutting up at least one a day to work into dinner somehow just to keep up with it. Last night, I started throwing vegetables into a skillet, and before you know it, I had a wonderful pan of sauted vegetables, so I thought I would share the recipe. We can all use a new recipe for yellow squash about right now. At least I know, I could.
Mid-Summer Squash Skillet (4 servings as a side)
- 1 Tb extra virgin olive oil
- 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh sage
- 1 Tb minced garlic (3 cloves)
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 small yellow squash, sliced
- 2 small zucchinis, sliced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 small bunch of swiss chard (about 2 cups, leaves and stems), chopped
- 2 Tb fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat until the oil is nice and hot. Place the sage leaves in the oil whole and fry for a few minutes on each side until crisp. This will smell amazing. Remove them to a paper towel to drain. Add the onion and garlic, and cook about 5 minutes until the onion softens. Stir often to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the squash and zucchini and stir well. Add the stems of the swiss chard, then the white wine. Cover the skillet with a lid for 4 or 5 minutes. Add the leaves of the swiss chard, and season with salt and pepper. Stir well and cook until the leaves have wilted, 2-3 more minutes. Add the parsley and the fried sage, and stir again. Serve immediately.
This was so tasty, and the perfect way to highlight the flavors of summer squash, which to me are sometimes bland. The red onion makes it slightly sweet, and the swiss chard brings it back down with a little bitter hit. It was way easier than frying squash, which is one of my favorite things to do with it. I am getting a little tired of that. And at least this way, I use a little bit of all that swiss chard, too.