Roasted Tomato Sauce and Zucchini Boats and More Food

This post from 2010 describes this month and the harvest so well, that I’m reposting it. That summer the harvest was amazing! this summer my yields were way down because of the drought and I couldn’t water as much as I wanted. As it is, our well is half full or empty and it has never been that low. The water table is down and this summer we received 1/3 the rain of average summers.
We don’t have a friend with a cow anymore, but still order lots of bulk food with friends and neighbours. And tomorrow, I’m planting my 100 cloves of garlic for next year.


My life has been reduced to harvesting our organic, homegrown vegetables and cultural immersion! Hey, I’m not complaining, but if anyone had told me 3 years ago that I’d be immersed in more food and visual delights than I could fit into a day, I wouldn’t have believed them.

The third batch of tomato sauce started like this.

I’ll tell you about the food and then bring you a full cultural report in a few days (I promise!)

Before we moved here we knew that we’d want a vegetable garden, but I never dreamed that I’d be baking all our bread, making all our yogurt and soft cheeses, freezing up vegetables galore or lying in bed at night thinking about root cellars.

I make 6 loaves at a time and freeze 5.

We haven’t had a frost yet but the nights are getting very cool and the garden foliage has started to change in the last couple of weeks. It’s hard to see it come to an end…I’ve barely had to go to a grocery store this summer because of the garden and the farmer’s market in Bear River.

Those yellow vegetables are cucumber. “The Greenman” had unusual vegetables ‘just for fun’.

The tomatoes just keep on coming and thanks to a great tip from my friend Cheryl, who grows gorgeous flowers and tasty vegetables, I have roasted the tomatoes whole in a deep pan with slices of zucchini, green peppers, garlic and onion. The flavour is so much better than boiling down the vegetables. The house is filled with cooking smells and I’ve run out of space in our stand-up freezer so now I’m practicing new canning skills too!
Larry and I are vegetarians so this bounty from the garden is really welcomed.

I froze lots of beans. This year I remembered to plant them in succession to keep them coming.

There are other ways to bring down the grocery bill while eating like kings. Bear River has a long tradition of organizing food buying groups and we belong to several different ones. We are members of a cheese co-op and although the cheese is not organic, we are able to buy havarti, cheddar and mozzarella at close to 1/2 the prices in the supermarkets.

Cheese keeps for a long time when it’s purchased fresh.

A couple of times a year another food buying group purchases organic flours and dried beans and rice at reduced prices from Speerville Mills in New Brunswick.

Spearville Mills.

Still another group we’re in buys organic and fair trade nuts and dried fruit from Rancho Vignola in BC.

I’ve also started making my own yogurt, cream cheese, ricotta and butter from the creamy milk of a local cow. It is dead easy to do and if you want the instructions,  just ask and I’ll post the information.

Blue lake runner beans take longer to mature, but the flavour is superior to the bush beans. I save the seed year after year.

And of course, there is the fantastic fair trade coffee that we buy from Sissiboo Coffee here in Bear River. Yum, yum!

All of these ways of food preparation and shopping have reduced our dependency on the 2 big box grocery stores in Digby, who still don’t seem to understand that people want to buy locally grown produce. It means too that our grocery bill is reduced. We wouldn’t be able to eat this much organic food if we couldn’t grow it ourselves or buy it with others. And by eating food from crops that are rotated and without insecticides etc as well as fresh, I know that the nutritional quality of the food is better.

Brocolli is STILL producing. The side shoots are like small heads.

The downside and the upside is that all meals are made from scratch. This is fairly labour intensive and wouldn’t be possible if I still worked full-time in the city.

Roasted tomato, onion, zucchini, garlic, carrots and herbs.
I scooped out some zucchini boats and added a mixture of uncooked rice and roasted tomato sauce with chopped, fresh spinach. Top with feta and mozzarella cheese. Pour in an inch of veg water. Bake, covered at 375 for an hour.

We still didn’t get it together this summer to build a greenhouse to try our hand at winter gardening, but maybe next year. “Fingers crossed”.

I like my dry goods to be visible.

I also went a little crazy last night and ordered some spring flower bulbs to plant out this month when I plant my garlic. The gardening season is drawing to a close, but it’s not over yet.

I’ve saved this year’s biggest bulbs for replanting to harvest next summer.

13 thoughts on “Roasted Tomato Sauce and Zucchini Boats and More Food

  1. Hi Flora, Yes, I’ve tried baking and it just doesn’t work. Toronto has two good bakeries so I buy some loaves and put them away. @ $10 a loaf is a little steep, but I was never much of a bread eater anyways. You definitely don’t find anything as fluffy and rich with gluten free flour and the raw materials are equal to a finished product. Please check out the site in a few weeks, I’m actually overhauling it now, my personal site is done🙂 http://www.ktoth.com

  2. Flora, Thanks for the mention in that delicious looking post! In spite of today’s dusting of snow, the greenhouse is still in production. Winter greens, spinach and lettuce are starting to sprout. The tomatos and peppers still haven’t given up the ghost, although they are slowing down. We ought to have plenty to share! Cheers!

  3. Pam – thanks! Come over when I get home (around the 15th and I’ll give you a pumpkin)
    Barbara – I’ll talk to you in Toronto soooooon!! xo
    Tascha – I’m enjoying your blog!
    Kathy– I love the photographs you are taking of industrial places in Ontario. What an excellent archive and the info you share is so informative too! Good for you and nice to hear from you after all these years too! I hear that baking gluten-free bread is a challenge because it’s the gluten that helps it rise. Maybe ask a baker what the trick is??

  4. Faye – Thanks! Isn’t harvest time the best?
    Sybil – Those ARE jam jars! I bought them at a garage sale about 20 years ago! lol! They are really useful.
    Kate – Hi. Blog on!
    Sara – I will give you the low down when I come back from my trip….I found all the recipes by googling “how to make ____” (don’t tell anyone😉
    Fiona – Butter is soooo easy. Just dump cream into your food processor with the whipping blade and set it on low. It takes about 8 minutes…suddenly it all separates and lumps together. Dump out the water or save it for cooking. The butter needs to be ‘washed’ to prevent it from souring, so Then rinse with up to 6 baths of cold water. (I’ll show you when you move here!)

  5. This looks so wonderful! I’m going to try that zucchini boat idea as I have a few sitting around here. I recently turned (somewhat) vegetarian and have started making everything from scratch, but it’s not as time consuming as I imagined it to be. I need to try baking gluten free bread but have a dismally performing stove.

  6. Hi Flora,

    You dazzle me. What a worker! Gorgeous photos and great ideas.
    Do you roast the peppers in the oven? For low long? Lots of
    questions. Miss you.

    xoxoxoxoxoxBarbara

  7. Hello Flora

    Mouthwatering. Thank you for taking time away from the garden / kitchen to inspire the rest of us. I am looking forward to learning from you. See you when I get back from the UK at the end of the month.

  8. Ooo you are making my mouth water with the photos of all your lovely veg etc. You’ll have to teach me how to make cheese and butter… yet another something i’ve always fancied having a go at! We’re now at the waiting stage for news from NS immigration about our application which we sent off at the beginning of the month when we got the last of the required documents done.. It was an inch thick when completed!
    Happy Thanksgiving weekend by the way.. I hope you are having a wonderful time xoxox

  9. Yes, yes…please post some info on making yogurt and soft cheeses.
    I’m going to try your idea for roasting veggies next year, it sounds delicious.
    How big is your veggie garden? I am thinking of expanding ours (we just have 6 boxes that are 4×4) but I’m not sure I could keep up with the work.

  10. Oh my gosh, Flora, looks like you are having a crazy and awesome fall! Your vegetables definitely kick my vegetables ass… I want to come up and buy some stuff!!! Thanks so much for your comment on my blog! It is so exciting… I think you are the first!

  11. Wow. You are my hero ! Wonderful pics, food and description.

    Something on your dry goods shelf caught my eye. Those square jars with the red lids. I remember them ! My mom used to collect them and re-use them. I think they were jam jars ?

    Blog on Flora.

    All the best from your “Thrill-ing” chum, Sybil

  12. Oh yum, Flora! Those wonderful photos & descriptions of all your lovely food are making me feel quite hungry at the moment! Congratulations on your beautiful & bountiful harvest this year. – Faye

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