One of our neighbours has a garden. A huge garden. We didn’t know how huge it was until P. and I visited her there yesterday. It is a ten minute walk from our house and is an allotment garden. These gardens are pretty common in larger towns. Most people don’t have much space around the house where they actually live. In the former GDR the gardens were also used as a food supply. People who had such a garden had a much larger variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from than people who were dependent on going to the not always well stocked grocery stores.
But back to our neighbour. Her garden looked like vegan heaven to me. She has everything from apples to zucchini. We picked some beans, chard, beets, a large pumpkin and she gave us tomatoes, two kinds of potatoes, a zucchini, some small peppers, and even flowers! We had to rent a car to get all the produce home. Here is what we got:
The chard from our neighbour’s garden is the best I have ever tasted, it is tender and mild with sweet and crispy stems. It is so unlike the chard I can usually get at the store with its dark green and tough leaves, which is overpriced and tastes a little bit soapy. I am also very exited about the beet greens. Where I live beets are usually sold without their greens. Red potatoes are also rare here. These days you can get them in some supermarkets, but white potatoes are the regulat kind.
Here it is all cleaned up. By the way, that pumpkin weighs 8,5 kg, that is almost 19 pounds!
Although I sometimes wish I had such a garden, I can also see how much work this is! You have to go there almost every day and take care of your plants. It is amazing that a single person can do this!
The zucchini you see in the pictures is small compared to the ones I got before. There was a little zucchini overpopulation in my kitchen. When I was browsing the web for new interesting recipes, I found a fantastic recipe for zucchini bread. It is a yeast bread with a tiny bit of sourdough and the recipe uses zucchini pulp instead of water. That way you can use up two small ore one big zucchini. I halved the recipe and adapted it a bit. The original version can be found here .
Zucchini bread (makes 2 small loaves)
400 g zucchini (3-3 1/2 cups)
1 T salt, divided
1 clove garlic
1 red chili pepper
1 T olive oil
300 g (2 1/2 c) whole wheat flour
200 g (1 2/3 c) all purpose
1 t active dry yeast
90 g sourdough starter (made from equal amounts of ww flour and water, by weight)*
2 T wheat germ
* The starter is used for flavour only and not for leavening. You can leave it out altogether or add 1/3 cup additional flour and 1.5 oz additional water.
Chop the zucchini into bite size pieces. Transfer to food processor, add 1/2 T salt, garlic, chili, and oil. Process into a purée. In a large bowl mix flours, yeast, remaining salt, wheat germ and sourdough, if using. (I never actually “activate” my yeast, but feel free to dissolve it in a T of water.) Stir well. Pour zucchini mixture into bowl. Knead until everything comes together. Add more flour or water if neccessary. Knead for ten minutes until the dough is smooth and not sticky any more. Cover with damp kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour our until doubled in size.
I decided to experiment a bit with the shape of my loaf, it didn’t exactly come out as I would have liked, but it looks still interesting. Feel free to form the dough into two regular round loaves.
Divide dough into two equal parts. Form them into baguettes. Flatten with your hands and twist a couple of times. Now roll the dough up and tuck ends under. Place on a baking sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Let rise for 45 minutes (peheat oven to 220°C/430°F while the bread rises). Bake for ten minutes, reduce heat to 200°C/400°F and bake for 20-25 more minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing.