A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Good Eats: Summer Squash & Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta

Good Eats: Summer Squash & Goat Cheese Pasta | PepperDesignBlog.com

Kevin was out of town last week and I was inspired by this series on three ingredient pastas to cook something very wholesome and easy with the girls. That same day we finally harvested two yellow squash that were each the length of Liv’s arm (crazy) and that became our starter point. Wanting to keep pulling from our own garden box, I added a red bell pepper and a handful of sage leaves to the mix. Plus goat cheese, cotija cheese and pasta from our stash on hand. So fresh! So easy.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Last week’s mini harvest to choose from:

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

 

Yellow Summer Squash & Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta

Ingredients: pasta, yellow squash (though any squash will do), goat cheese (or really any cheeses of your choice), sage (or any herbs you have on hand – there’s a pattern here), bell pepper for topping, butter

Cook your favorite pasta just a few minutes shy of package directions. When straining, reserve ½-1 cup of pasta water for sauce (do you know this trick? I can’t believe I just learned this easy diy sauce trick this year). Saute slices of yellow squash in butter until slightly translucent (watch for over cooking here, al dente is better than smashed) and spoon out squash into a separate bowl. Add reserved pasta water to melted butter in the sauce pan that previously held squash and sprinkle cotija cheese (or any melting cheese like parmesan, cheddar) and sage en chiffonade (see below) while stirring. Continue to stir until the sauce is slightly reduced and resembles a watery, cheesy, buttery broth. Mix in pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes more allowing all ingredients to simmer together.

Serve pasta in bowls with sliced squash layered on top, sprinkle sliced fresh red bell pepper and creamy crumbled goat cheese over squash.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Cutting leafy vegetables or herbs en chiffonade is a fancy way of saying that herbs are stacked, rolled up tightly, and then finely sliced to produce slender ribbons. It’s pretty and effective, and I use it all of the time.

This pasta is also delicious without the cheese & pasta water sauce, and instead tossed cold with olive oil and vinegar to make a pasta salad. Yum!!

Enjoy your beautiful week :).

PS our over-zealous yellow squash plant (why cocoa hulls and marigolds made the difference) and more ‘good eats’.

Our Summer Garden Box

I’d like to start this post with a moment of silence… I lost my 128gb camera card last week to a terrible fall (it snapped in half while sticking half way out the side of my laptop) and with it several months of favorite photos. Thankfully, I had backed up some of the bigger events – mostly in part to this blog to share T’s first birthday, Memorial Day and others – thank you blog! But so many other visual moments are now gone. I sent my card off to DriveSavers (my favorite so far, nope this isn’t the first time this has happened and now I have two auto backup systems) hoping that perhaps something could be saved, but alas not possible. Sigh. Tear, tear, sigh. Today’s post is affected in a minor way because a good chunk of my planting and ‘in progress’ garden bed photos were amongst the lost.

But, ultimately the tale of our veggie garden is such a happy one! It is one of high expectations, then temporary mourning when my first round of seedlings failed… and then suddenly of a garden resurrection! and now a bustling gem of a home veggie patch.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Against all odds, our little garden box harvest has been plentiful.

ourhome_yard_gardenbox_800

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

We are watching our yellow squash just explode. I mean, it truly is exploding. Everything else is coming along little by little and it’s been fun to observe with Liv by my side. She is sure to update me daily as she waters and carefully inspects each small growing bud of a veggie (her little job) in her garden.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

We made dinner one night last week using just the ingredients we picked fresh from the bed. It was neat to show her a tangible example of ‘farm to table’ and to enjoy our yummy harvest. That solo strawberry was so sweet! We split it.

If we start from the beginning though you can really see the transformation of this space. It all started when we took down the jungle that was once a side yard and installed a wraparound deck, flagstone path and a block wall.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

It was Kevin’s idea to initially add the raised garden bed to the yard. Our deck sort of runs into it with the sandbox partitioning off the space. That’s Taylor’s preferred zone :).

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Last year Kevin filled the bed with cabbage to give it a little something. We didn’t even harvest the cabbage and by fall, almost every head had bloomed with a big purple center.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Somewhere along the line the cement wall was capped with saltillo tile (it still waits for stucco but there’s a bigger project happening over here that’s in the works).

This spring I was excited to revisit the little garden bed and wanted to start from scratch with Liv. We went to our local Armstrong garden (a nursery in our area) and she was able to pick out a handful of seed packets. I’m pretty sure she chose by picture only, but we planted starter trays of cherry tomatoes along with red and golden beets.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

And then they grew and they grew and they grew! Liv watered regularly and treated them like little babies.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Here’s where a bit of the the womp, womp happens. I lost so many great in-progress of photos of Liv with her seedlings with my damaged camera card. Imagine the above 3″, then 5″, then… suddenly… dead.

I’m not sure where we went wrong but we lost our seedlings six weeks in. Life was too busy to start over, this is the part of the story of failed expectations. :(

I finally let the garden go emotionally and physically (and I had really hung my hat on creating a garden this summer) and realized that if there was an item on my list that was just too overwhelming in our crazy little life, the garden was it.

My mom was awesome though. She takes the girls every Tuesday afternoon (plus some) and part of one of their afternoon adventures included a trip to the nursery.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Soon we had tomatoes, strawberries, squash, cucumber, peppers and one of each of all of the major herbs in the ground and growing. I’d insert a photo of 1 gallon transplants here, but just imagine the below about 1/4 in size.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

We tilled the garden, mixed in fresh, healthy soil meant for garden beds (about four giant bags from the home improvement store) and added a soaker hose. The wire u-shaped stakes holding the hose in place are just metal hangers cut into 8″ lengths that we molded with our hands.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

The soaker hose (basically a hose covered in itty bitty holes) connects to our regular garden hose via a snap on, quick connect transition piece.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

It’s not an automatic drip system but with Liv’s diligent reminders to turn the hose faucet on, it’s just as well. It waters each little plant spot on with brilliant results and we can walk away for twenty minutes while it gets the job done.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Two additions in the last few weeks have made a world of a difference, too. The first is cocoa hulls over the entire bed (now walking near the garden smells like pure chocolate!) at the nursery’s suggestion.

ourhome_yard_gardenbox_cocoahulls3_800

ourhome_yard_gardenbox_cocoahulls2_800

The second was adding blooming flowers which we think has encouraged visits from more bees and subsequently more pollination.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Suddenly veggies and fruits began to grow.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

With more on their way!

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Those summer yellow squash amazed the most. In just a few weeks these little blossoms grew into squash of crazy sizes.

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Seriously?

Plus, no pesticides (you can tell from some of the leaves) and no additional fertilizer yet. Man, this garden has been one of those sweet summer surprises that, every time I pop my head outside, makes me smile from ear to ear.

PS just for fun, our entire yard makeover chronicled right over here.

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