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Fried burnt butter rosemary and garlic zucchini

This is the fifth Tightwad effort to use a copious amount of fresh zucchini. Other attempts this week include: zucchini and potato latkes, zucchini tzatzaki, zucchini chocolate cupcakes, and chickpea, roasted tomato and garlic stuff zucchini “boats.” All with some success! But the following was the crowd fav.

  • one sliced zucchini (approximately 1/3” thick)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon of dried garlic
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried chicken or veggie stock
  • Heat skillet with butter until melted.
  • Mix together the dry ingredients, place on plate
  • Beat egg together in bowl
  • Dip zucchini in flour mixture
  • Dip flour coated zucchini in beaten egg
  • Double coat the zucchini with a second dipping in flour
  • Move coated zucchini to sauté in pan, several at a time.
  • Watch carefully and turn once the first side is brown to brown the other side. 
Delicious! Would be improved with zucchini tzatzaki… simple substitute zucchini for cucumber in your favourite tzatziki recipe.

Extend the shelf life of your perishables

No one likes to throw out food. It’s such a waste of money, misjudgment of what our needs are (been eating out instead?) and an insult to people less fortunate than us who can’t afford to eat well. Here are some tips to help keep what you do buy.

Lemons and limes stay fresh up to four times longer when refrigerated. All is not lost if you have a dried out one though, soak it in water overnight in your fridge and it will rehydrate through its peel.

Carrots The leafy tops absorb all of the available moisture from the carrot so always remove them before storing. Wrap topped carrots in a damp paper towel, followed by a layer of foil and store in your fridge. This method also works with other crops including parsnips, radishes and rutabagas.

Onions should be stored in a cool, dark place with lots of airflow to prevent sprouting or rotting. One of the best things to do is putting them in panty hose with a knot tied between each one for air­­­flow and space. Put partially cut onions in the freezer and they will keep for up to six months. Freeze them in diced one-cup portions and speed up future dinner prep!

Bananas should be stored in isolation because tomatoes and apples emit ethylene gas, which speeds the ripening process of other produce (so great if you want to ripen an avocado). Prevent bananas from over-ripening for 2 to 3 days by placing them individually in the fridge. This tip works because the stem of the banana is where most of the gas is released.

Berries Mold can grow on them overnight. A solution: ‘thermotherapy’ - the process simply involves swishing berries in their plastic basket in a pot of hot water. The hot water kills off mold spores and keeps them fresh longer. Heat water to 125 degrees and immerse for 30 seconds. After bathing the berries spread them out on a towel to allow them to breathe and dry, then freeze them for future use.

Keeping tomatoes in cold temperatures rids them of flavor and transforms their texture in just a matter of days. Instead, put them in a bowl lined with a paper towel at room temperature away from direct sunlight with the stems at the top to prevent bruising and rotting.

The best way to extend the life of leafy greens is to wrap unwashed leaves in a paper towel to absorb excess moisture, then put in plastic bags and into your fridge. Easily refresh them by giving them in an ice bath – submerge in a large bowl of water to revive them for a minute or two.

When storing corn, the husks on but cut away the shank (this part of the grain is a magnet for worms). Put your corn in a plastic bag and place it in your refrigerator’s crisper. The corn will remain at its freshest for two days, at which time it will start to dry out.

Stone fruits should be bought firm, but stored at room temperature once home. Don’t put them in the fridge before they’ve ripened, as chilling them before that will result in fruit that is flavourless.

Composting made easier

If you are like Tightwad you have compost on the go, ready to replenish the soil nutrients in her planting beds. But then again if you are like Tightwad for some reason the compost never actually makes it to a raised bed or cut flower garden. This tip may help (if you have a vertical composter with no liner): PLACE THE COMPOSTER ABOVE THE BED YOU WANT TO AUGMENT over the fall and winter, fill it and tend it over those months, then lift it in the spring and it’s easy to distribute on the area you want to nourish. No more transferring it to a wheelbarrow and dragging it across the garden. This is a much simpler approach and may encourage you in your composting efforts too.

Whatz the haps - Paleo diet

The Paleo, aka the Stone Age or caveman diet, is an eating plan based on how humans ate during the Paleolithic era. What this means to Tightwad is the no-brainer approach of eating whole foods and not consuming anything processed.  As everyone knows, as a rule, if the food comes in a box, don’t eat it. The Paleo diet is high in fat, moderate in animal protein and low to moderate in carbohydrates. Calorie counting is not encouraged, neither is portion control. This seems achievable.

The diet recommends generous amounts of saturated fats like coconut oil and butter. Beef tallow, lard and duck fat are also good. Olive, avocado and macadamia oils are good fats to use in salads and drizzle over food, but not for cooking.

Suggested animal protein includes red meat, poultry, pork, eggs, organs, wild caught fish and shellfish.

Eat generous amounts of fresh or frozen vegetables cooked or raw and served with fat. Starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and yams are also great as a source of non-toxic carbohydrates.

Eat low to moderate amounts of fruit and nuts, particularly fruit low in sugar and high in antioxidants such as berries and nuts high in omega-3, low in omega-6 and low in total polyunsaturated fat like macadamia nuts. Consider cutting fruit if you are trying to lose weight faster.

Eliminate all cereal grains and legumes. Cut all vegetable and hydrogenated oils including margarine. Ditch added sugar, soft drinks, all packaged sweets and juices. Say no to dairy products other than butter and heavy cream. If you cannot eliminate all dairy, consider raw, full-fat and/or fermented products.

Other tips: Eat when you’re hungry and don’t stress if you skip a meal or even two. Do what feels natural. Get enough sleep. Consider supplementing with vitamin D and probiotics. Levels of magnesium, iodine and vitamin K2 should also be optimized.

French girl floral

Practice camaïeu: Choose a monochromatic colour palette, working with a range of, for example, all white/off whites, pinks and purples, darks, chartreuses in different hues. This gives a feeling of stillness and uniformity to the composition. Stay with all cool hues, or warm hues, not both. The result will be more balances and calming.

Focus, texture, filigree: Three words to keep in mind as you choose materials and build your arrangement.

Pre-hydrate: Cut stems at an angle to increase surface area and ensure they absorb fresh water for a few hours prior to arranging them.

Seek imperfection: Flaws are charming. Forage elements such as grasses and sculptural branches. Tightwad loves unusual bark and lichen in her arrangements.  

It’s not just about the flowers: Choose your container to scale with the volume of flowers you are working with. The vessel alone should create a statement so that your blooms remain elegant, minimal and foraged, while still appearing sculptural and unique.

Gardens are for living in

Gardens offer serenity and important green space to your home, which is essentially the centrepiece of your garden. Here are some Tightwad tips to consider when planning your outdoor space.
Mirror the sky 3D gazers or mirror balls are gorgeous in gardens, but the same effect can be created with a large shallow bowl of water to reflect the sky and give the impression of limitless.
Hardscape, then softscape Get the bones of the space down first, whether it’s a pea gravel area under shade for dining, or a retaining wall, or raised planters, and build the softscape to compliment that.
Mimic nature Plants grow in massings and drifts, overlapping as they merge. Pattern is produced with layers and through the repeated use of a physical characteristic such as form, colour or texture.
Perennials are an important backbone of your garden. As any gardener knows, things can be hum-ho with perennials the first year, and maybe even the second, but by their third year you will be thanking yourself for nurturing them into gorgeous, spreading loveliness. Also extremely handy as a ready to go cut flower garden.
Filigree Typically a word used for a jewellery making technique, Tightwad thinks its spot on to describe the level of plant textural variety that helps elevate any garden.
Manage the colour palette Are you going for a monsoon wedding joyous riot of colour? Or Tightwad’s favourite, a white/off white, chartreuse and subtle plum palette? Don’t do both. Consider the camaïeu, or a sophisticated monochromatic palette
Go for height Mix herbaceous woody species with height defying perennials and grasses. Utilize planters to add height and create the feeling of enclosure that make garden spaces special and sought after. Remember what you plant that doesn’t die down for the winter will create sculptural vocabulary during the dormant months. 
Create shade Umbrellas, triangular sails, pergolas are a few of the many ways to beat the heat and create a social focal point in your green space.
Make it a seamless transition from the interior to the exterior Have your garden visible from the inside and make the access inviting with potted plants and other sculptural elements.
Aromatic foliage Create an outdoor space that is not only visually, but aromatically memorable. Some fragrant plant ideas: daphne, lavender, roses, ornamental lilies, lilac, gardenia and sweet peas.