I'm relatively new at gardening, in fact this is only my third year planting a garden of my own. I've really been blessed with beginner's luck and a bountiful garden from the beginning. I've also learned that just because I can grow something doesn't mean that I should grow it...
My first garden was chock full of different veggies- tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, four types of bell peppers, an accidentally purchased lemon verbena plant, cayenne, jalapeños, poblano peppers, banana peppers, cucumbers, watermelon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe.
I had a LOT of stuff going on out there- to be honest, more than I needed, especially pepper-wise.
My second garden was was just as large but the variety of plants was pretty pared down- tomatoes, jalapeños, banana peppers, zucchini, and cantaloupe.
lol I killed the cantaloupe and found myself with enough pickled peppers to last a lifetime and a freezer full of shredded zucchini.
This year I've kept it simple- not saying that's what you should do, but for my family I'm sticking with tomatoes, jalapeños, yellow bell peppers, and some experimental onions because that's really all I care about having massive amounts of canned during the colder months.
MASSIVE amounts. That first year of gardening I canned marinara sauce, and while that's convenient when throwing dinner together in year two I found that I preferred to keep things simple and just can tomato sauce. It left me with a more versatile canned good and I found that I could throw together an absolutely amazing marinara in less than half an hour with those garden-fresh canned tomatoes.
this recipe from Fashionably Foodie. I loved the simplicity of the recipe, fresh flavors, and that she walked me through the process from garden to plate. I had been intimidated by the idea of making marinara and starting with whole, garden-ripe tomatoes but she made it so simple!
These days I follow the directions for canning tomato sauce from pickyourown.com (a WONDERFUL canning and preserving resource!) and then when I'm ready to make marinara with the canned sauce later in the year I use Fashionably Foodie's basic directions to make my marinara. To be honest, I followed her recipe so many times after I found it that I don't really measure anything out at all anymore, I just sort of use her ingredient list as a basic guideline as I throw stuff in the sauce pan. :-)
Aside from pasta, my absolute favorite way to serve marinara is with these Zucchini Patties from Allrecipes.com. They are sooooo good. Kind of like a zucchini latke...absolutely divine! And an AWESOME way to use up all of that shredded zucchini in my freezer... even my zucchini-hating family gets excited about them!
Modified from Allrecipes.com
2 cups grated zucchini (lightly salted and pressed between towels to remove excess moisture)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 C bread crumbs
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp oregano
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except vegetable oil. Stir well enough to distribute ingredients evenly.
2. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drop zucchini mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls, and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden.