Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Victory thy name is Benning's Green Tint

Finally, we have a squash that has survived my enemy the Squash Vine Borer. This is cause for celebration after every other zucchini and squash plant in our garden has gone to its death without producing a single offspring. I have watched this "Benning's Green Tint" squash develop each day, and finally decided not to tempt fate any longer. When I cut if off the plant, I was excited to see two small squash developing on the same plant, promising at least one more harvest. Unfortunately, I also removed at least 30 squash vine borer eggs glowing in dark red all over the leaves and stems of the plant, so although I have won this small victory, my nemesis has obviously not given up her efforts.

Benning's Green Tint is a patty-pan squash, which is a flattish shape reminiscent of a flying saucer. In color, my squash is more white than green. I'm not sure if this means I waited too long to remove it, but the squash isn't larger than the palm of my hand. Now I have the problem I seem to always face at the beginning of a harvest. What do you do with a single vegetable? This was particularly a problem when the snap beans started. You can't do much with 1 green bean, or even 3 or 4, but I didn't want to leave them on the plant lest they slow down the plant's production of additional beans. I put those first beans in the refrigerator, hoping to have more in time to cook them all together.

The squash isn't quite as small, and should make at least one dinner. I'll have to consult with him to decide what we can produce with our small harvest, but I'm guessing a new pizza creation is in order.

Last night, we made a tasty pizza with arugula and yellow pear tomatoes from the garden, plus cream cheese instead of sauce. The idea was inspired by a pizza described in this month's New York Magazine. When it was time to cut the arugula, there was a serious rain storm outside. The satellite went out, our giant timber bamboo was bending onto the roof, and our driveway turned into a river. Nevertheless, David braved the rain to go retrieve the arugula. As soon as he walked back in, the fragrance from the arugula was overwhelming.

This is the first time we've eaten arugula fresh from the garden. There was so much more flavor than what I've tasted before -- not just the customary bitterness, but also a tartness similar to fresh spinach, with a dense texture. The yellow pear tomatoes turned sweet and juicy in the oven, combining perfectly with the arugula, and the tangy cream cheese pulled all the flavors together. With very few ingredients, this pizza may be my favorite yet. It will be hard to top, but I know I'll enjoy anything that includes our Benning's squash. With each bite, I'll savor my victory over the squash vine borers.


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