Harvest Time! Our First Meal from the Garden

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All the heat and rain we’ve been having this summer is doing wonders for our garden! Every day we’re out there picking something new. Kale and swiss chard are growing by leaps and bounds, tomatoes turning red, zucchini, romaine, eggplant, fresh herbs, it’s a beautiful thing!

We picked all of this and more over the weekend, we had so much kale that I decided to clean, cut and blanch it for a few minutes, drained it, and after it cooled down stuck it in the freezer. The kale keeps growing all summer long and into the fall, so if you have any good kale recipes, I’m all ears!

See that cute little round zucchini? That’s the first time we ever grew them, my friend Linda sent me the seeds after I admired the crop from her garden last year. I have another one almost ready to pick and then I’m going to stuff them both.

So I decided to make use of our first bounty and created a salad using romaine, zucchini, fresh basil and our sweet little cherry tomatoes all from the garden tossed together with a little leftover pasta and diced fresh mozzarella dressed in a light vinaigrette.

For the eggplant I kept them whole and in tact cutting slices and fanning them out, drizzling all over with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasting in a 400F. oven until tender, after which I brushed each section with basil pesto and tucked slices of fresh mozzarella and juicy tomatoes inside placing them back into the oven just until the cheese melts. Oh so good!

Dinner is served!

Buon Appetito!
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  1. A bountifil harvest and a delicious meal!

  2. That is so cool everything has grown! Must taste delicious. I love that eggplant dish.

  3. Wow Marie – You guys have not just green thumbs, but green hands. Beautiful produce – love those yellow tomatoes – and so glad the zucchini seeds produced for you. Re: kale suggestions, I have a bunch of Tuscan/lacinato kale ready for picking and plan to make ribollita with some of it and freeze for winter use. You’ve probably already made that. But I saw a great kale salad on this blog that I’d like to try and maybe you would too: to:http://njepicurean.blogspot.com/2011/07/kale-caesar-slaw.html

  4. What a wonderful way to prepare eggplant. My eggplant are the only thing not ready yet but we have had no rain!! I will definitely give this a go 🙂

  5. Wow, the eggplant looks really good, I will have to try that!

  6. I love it!
    I made your fish on the grill the other night with cherry tomatoes from our garden and tons of fresh herbs…..zucchini too! Yummy. I love summer and I so love having a garden.

  7. It’s so neat to harvest your own veggies and that’s a nice bounty. Both of your dishes look delicious.

  8. Isn’t it nice to have so many wonderful things that you’ve grown yourself. It all looks yummy!

  9. Looks incredibly fresh, bright and delicious. Well done, Marie! I can’t wait to try out this method for the eggplant!

  10. That eggplant looks amazing!

  11. Such wonderful bounty from your garden, Marie! Both the salad and the eggplants look delicious.

    My eggplants are growing in a round shape this year like Linda’s squash…kinda cute! 🙂 I also have lots of banana peppers, but my tomatoes did not do well this year for some reason ..I think I planted them too late…I hope they revive.

    I put kale in my soups and stews but I recently saw a recipe for a nutritious kale smoothie on the Real Simple website:

    It says the the addition of a banana and apple juice mask the vegetable flavor and kids love it!

  12. Truly abondanza! I wasn’t aware about the continuous growth of kale. Your recipes are always inspiring and delicious. I will try that idea with the eggplant. I came across a Middle Eastern recipe that used collard leaves similar to grape leaves and stuffed them with a savory meat and rice filling. Couldn’t you do the same with the kale? I appreciate your unique combination of traditional earthy Italian recipes and some of the newer lighter ideas. Buono appetito!

  13. I have my own garden and know exactly the feeling ..when you pick your own.And it does taste so much better.Just keep going;)

  14. Wow and wow again! That’s just about all I can say, really – WOW!

  15. Love this recipe!!!

    Raw Kale Avocado Salad

    1 bunch curly kale, chopped (about 8 to 10 cups)
    2 avocados, diced
    1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for 6 to 8 hours

    3 to 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    1/2 teaspoon Herbamare or sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper

    Chop the kale into small pieces and add it to a large bowl. In a smaller, separate bowl whisk together the dressing. Add the dressing to the salad and gently massage it into the kale with your hands. This will soften it almost immediately. Then add the diced avocado. Drain and rinse the sunflower seeds and add them to the salad as well. Gently toss together. Serve. Source: http://www.NourishingMeals.com

  16. Thanks so much for all your recipes so far, I’m filing them away and can’t wait to try them!

  17. There’s nothing quite so beautiful as fresh veggies from the garden… Wonderful!

  18. I love returning to your site as you give me such great ideas for interesting ways in plating foods. Your garden harvest is great…I’m still waiting for my tomatoes to ripen.

  19. Looks beautiful and so inspiring!

  20. Having just returned from the Amalfi coast, I went hunting for Italian recipes and found your photos and food-talk equally enticing.

    Like love, mozzarella, basil and Modena balsamic vinegar changes flavor depending on how and when you harvest it. For all Italian foodies looking for new twists on a classic theme, check out the MOZZARE’ BAR, a mozzarella bar in Positano. The family run “bar” sources cheese from their 1700 head buffalo farm. Fifteen hours after milking, the cheese production begins. The finished product redefines buffalo mozzarella. My 15 year old daughter felt compelled to photograph this mid-day dining experience. It beat ice cream.

  21. Your garden looks amazing and the food delish!

  22. Wow, Marie, a whole meal from the garden… just beautiful. Your garden seems to be a week or two ahead of mine. I can’t wait. Thanks for the great ideas!

  23. Wow! You’ve definitely gotten a bounty. In my part of the world, our summer has been overcast a lot and no warmer than the 70’s. Me thinks I’ll be making more fried green tomatoes. I love the simplicity of your recipes, yet they are always so colorful and flavorful. I’m making your Chicken Vucina as I type and it smells so good!

  24. I want to go to your house for dinner! We just picked our first green beans tonight and had them. I’m still waiting on my tomatoes.

  25. That is awesome how much you’re grown! If my husband and I ever have a yard, it will be so much fun to garden in it. For now, we have one tomato plant and lots of herbs in containers… the “urban” garden 🙂

    I LOVE buying those 8-ball squash from the farmer’s markets… they are fantastic to stuff. YUM!

  26. It is a beautiful thing, Marie. There’s nothing like picking produce fresh from your garden. I’ve been eating lots of raw kale salad lately; it never gets old: http://blogs.poughkeepsiejournal.com/dishnthat/2011/07/13/raw-kale-salad-packed-with-nutrition-flavor/

  27. This is the time of year when the best restaurant is at home. I haven’t looked at my garden in two weeks. (My husband reports on what’s out there – but then doesn’t pick it!) The vegetable photos just hold me in an embrace. I will be checking Grow Italia for the round zucchini – such fun!

  28. I second the request for raw kale salad..easy and really good. If you have a juicer you can juice it too. We call those round zucchini things “8-ball squash” Your garden is awesome!

  29. Wow, that looks incredible. I am making the eggplant!!!

  30. Love the colors.
    And I must make that eggplant!

  31. Those all look like great ways to enjoy the harvest!

  32. It’s so nice to read about another food blogger’s bountiful garden. Both the salad and the eggplant look delicious and healthy too! Fresh and simple is so Italian and the best way to cook!

  33. I used this as inspiration for a delicious side dish yesterday (unstuffed, brushed with garlic olive oil, fanned, garnished with toasted pine nuts) that I wouldn’t have thought to make but for this post. Thank you so much and I look forward to making the eggplant as posted here. Your site is wonderful!