Don't you just love this time of the year? Fall in Nevada is just the best. The Saturday farmers market at Telegraph Square has been so wonderful. It seems to be a little more kickback and homey than the Mills Park venue. There are a few less vendors, and the morning market isn't as rushed in the sense that everyone comes at once.
This time of year my kitchen is bursting with produce and fruit. I've got lugs of pears and peaches setting out to get ripe, and lots of tomatoes that need to be sauced because we all know that tomatoes should never be stored in the refrigerator-- it makes them mushy.
Not that there is any more room in the frig, what with the strawberries and raspberries and the abundance of fresh veggies that come in our Smith and Smith basket. I also have a box of small globe artichokes that Ralph brought back from Castroville. He flew down with our friend Don Reasons and took a tour of the Ocean Mist plant. I'm not real keen on small planes, but I love small artichokes.
Today would have been my mother's 85th birthday, and even though she passed away in 1991, I still miss her. She was one of 14 children in the Boegle family in Virginia City. Her mother died when she was 10, and the seven youngest children went to live in the Nevada State Children's Home in Carson City. I know they sometimes went hungry when they lived in Virginia City. My grandfather was a miner and had 14 kids to feed. I think they ate a lot of potatoes.
My mother was pretty much a self-taught cook as I think a lot of women in the 1940s and '50s were. We always had a garden, and she canned. She was a good cook, although I don't think she really enjoyed cooking all that much. We hardly ever ate out because my father said, why should we go out when Mom was such a good cook?
She would always help me this time of year. I still have some of her canning equipment and lots of her recipes. So happy birthday. Mama, wherever you are. Thanks to mothers everywhere who cooked all those meals for us.
n n n
Sometimes when you are feeling a little down, the best thing you can do is something for someone else, which is exactly what I did last week. I went to Costco and bought 2 gallons of sauerkraut and some apple cider then added that to the 5-gallon bucket of ribs that were left over from the Boys and Girls Club barbecue. I mixed in some onions, chopped apples and brown sugar with a little caraway seed and baked that for about three hours at Friends In Service Helping for its lunch Friday.
They also had about 100 pounds of donated summer squash, and I used up every speck of that. I made a squash saute with fresh tomato sauce topped with cheese, then four pans of stuffed zucchini. With all the really big zukes, I made soup, and they served cream of zucchini soup with pesto on Sunday. Everyone who works and volunteers there does a great job. Daisy Moreira is the chief cook during the week, and Erlene Connerly has been the weekend cook for nine years. Flo Connolly and Ann Lischko have volunteered there for more 11 years and were a great help in the kitchen. Ann is going on 90 years young and is an inspiration to us all.
n n n
This recipe is another from "The Classic Zucchini Cookbook." The secret to making a rich-tasting vegetable lasagna lies in cooking the vegetables and combining them with the tomato sauce. This is a great recipe to use up an abundance of garden veggies. It also freezes well.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small eggplant, peeled and diced
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 yellow summer squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
4 cups marinara sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb. ricotta cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 T. chopped fresh basil or parsley
12 lasagna noodles
1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the eggplant and saute until juicy and tender. Add the mushrooms and saute until they give up their juices. Add the squash and saute until almost tender. Pour in the sauce, add garlic,slat and pepper.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine ricotta, egg and basil in bowl and mix well.
To assemble the lasagna, spread about some of the sauce in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Place three noodles over the sauce and spread about 1/3 of the ricotta mixture evenly over them Top with more sauce and some of both cheeses. Repeat the layer two more times, beginning each new layer with noodles. Top with the remaining three lasagna noodles. Spread the rest of the sauce on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil then bake until hot and bubbly. Let the lasagna stand for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting.
This next recipe is from the files of Tina Smith of Home Grown Nevada. She is a vendor at the farmers market in Minden on Wednesday mornings.
Zucchini Drop Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup butter
2 cups flour
1 t. soda
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves or nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup raisins
Beat sugar and butter; add egg and grated zucchini and rest of dry ingredients. Drop by teaspoonful on greased cookie sheet (parchment paper is better). Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.
Linda Marrone has lived Carson City resident since 1973, and with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone's Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin's Cookin' Catering.