I didn’t take any pictures of the sandwiches Thursday, and this is something of a tragedy. They were a thing of beauty. Well, it looked okay. It tasted awesome.
Thursday, my friends came over for lunch, so of course, it was another opportunity to find a way to offload more zucchini. When I was in North Carolina, I ate at the best restaurant ever in the whole world, Tupelo Honey Cafe. I found their recipe for Honey Pickled Beets online and made some with my last round of beets. It was delicious, but I couldn’t think of any way to insert zucchini into the recipe.
So I decided to also re-create Tupelo Honey Cafe’s Misse Veggie Melt. Of course, instead of fried green tomatoes, I breaded and baked zucchini rounds. This is an open-faced sandwich, so I buttered and toasted some nice bread under the broiler. Then I laid the breaded zucchini rounds on top, followed by a mound of sauteed rainbow chard. At the cafe, they used spinach, but I had chard, and it’s all about using up what you have. Then some sriacha mayonnaise, which my friend introduced me to and is the most delicious thing that can happen to mayonnaise. Sriacha, lime juice and soy sauce. Then some roasted peppers out of the garden, a couple slices of Swiss cheese, then broil the whole thing under the oven again to melt the cheese.
The sandwich was really good and it tasted even better knowing that it took three zucchini to make. Everything tastes better with zucchini; not because zucchini tastes so good, but because it is one less zucchini in the world.
This morning I went up to the garden and the tomatoes are still not really ripening. The pepper plants are under-performing. I thought to myself, the garden’s a bust. But there’s a mockingbird who sings up there in the early morning. Sometimes, he makes a sound that’s a little like a car alarm. There’s the breeze blowing through corn stalks and the way it always makes you look up, thinking someone’s there. There are the flowers in my neighbor’s plot, multi-colored zinnias and cheerful yellow marigolds. There’s the steadfast kale, that keeps producing no matter what. Those are all something.
Last night, more friends came over and we ate a zucchini pasta salad, which took care of another three zucchini. I have pictures of this, and it’s pretty good. Still not as good as the sandwich.
Here’s the good or bad news, depending on how you look at it. All of my zuke plants at the garden have withered up and died. I’m sure there’s some diagnosis–mold or rust or apathy. It’s just what happens when you garden. And I’m not sure, if you outlast the zucchini plants, have you won the battle? It doesn’t really seem fair. I was at the top of my game. I was winning. So I’ve planted more.
The cucumbers, on the other hand, are thriving. I can see they’re fixing to put up a fight.