Archive for September, 2010

We’re busting at the seams!

We’ve been in our current office space in the Hollywood District since 1998 and it has been a great centralized location with room for our backyard garden demonstration garden. We’ve enjoyed watching the outdoor space evolve over the years and to see young sprouts turn into full grown trees. But our organization has been growing as well and we’ve reached maximum capacity inside. We currently have 3 full-time staff, 2 part-time and 2 NWSA AmeriCorps members in about 500 square feet!

In order to add additional resources, we simply need more space. We have received a generous grant from The Oregon Community Foundation and Meyer Memorial Trust which will allow us to add a volunteer coordinator position but unless that staffer is willing to camp on the porch, we need to find a new location!

Our wish list includes 2000+ square feet, room for 8 staff workspaces and one private office, a conference space and a kitchen area, secure storage for garden supplies and an outdoor space with sun exposure for garden beds and containers. We know our perfect location is out there…we just need to find it! If you have any leads on potential properties, we’d love to hear about them.

We also want to thank Ben McInnis of Benco Commercial Real Estate, LLC for providing professional support in our search. Thanks for helping us GROW!


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Got the Zucchini Blues?

This time of year the summer squash are producing like mad! I went away for a week and came home to four huge squash, three mini ones and many blossoms ready to provide more! I’m rich in squash, but this wealth can be overwhelming.

I pulled out my Joy of Cooking Cookbook for help.  I decided to prepare Squash Gratin & Stuffed Squash Blossoms.

Stuffed Squash Blossoms – who would have known you can eat squash blossoms? They make a very lovely side dish, and are easy to make.
You can use any type of squash blossom (I used pumpkin). Look for the male blossoms with the long stem without the rounding at the base, and remove the anther inside the flower. Pick the blossoms right before you are ready to use them.
You’ll need:
12 squash blossoms, freshly picked
Mince together in a small bowl:
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix this garlic-ly salt into a bowl with:
3/4 cup fresh goat cheese, ricotta,  shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese (I used cottage cheese)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped basil or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Ground black pepper to taste
Next, carefully open the petals of each blossom and stuff about 1 tablespoons of the mixture into the blossom. (Grab someone to help you with this – one of you open the blossoms and one of you stuff them with the mixture – it makes it loads easier!) Twist the tops of the petals together.

Next, Dip the blossoms 1 at a time into:

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Then coat with:
All-purpose flour (or bread crumbs)
Heat in a medium skillet:
1/2 inch light olive oil (canola will work)
Fry the blossoms over medium heat until golden – about 2-4 minutes (be sure to flip them to cook on both sides). Serve right a way  and you may need to blot extra oil on a paper towel.
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking pg 421

Stuffed blossoms

Summer Squash Gratin
A gratin, I learned, is a dish with a golden crust made by covering the surface of the dish with breadcrumbs or cheese and browning it in the oven/broiler. Use whatever summer squash available (I used patty pan).
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter a 10 inch baking dish.
Steam for about 10 minutes
1 1/4 pound summer squash (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
Remove to a medium bowl. Cook in a small skillet until softened:
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely diced.
Add to the squash along with:
2/3 cup diced Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese
1/3 sour cream
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 teaspoon ground coriander
salt and black pepper to taste
Pour into the prepared dish. Combine and sprinkle over the top:
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon melted butter.
Bake until bubbling and gold, about 35 minutes
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking pg 422

Squash Gratin

What is your favorite summer squash recipe?

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