After a glorious ten days away in the mountains with family, we came home to a glut of zucchini and I was super stoked to try out some new recipes. But, first, a quick recap of the trip and a garden update.
By current standards, I’m from a large family of four kids and we are all paired off now with our own offspring, so it’s a big deal when we manage to get even half of us together, especially considering that we are scattered all over the western half of Canada. And, I mean scattered all over: Calgary to Vancouver Island to Northwest Territories and in between. Now that most of the cousins are exiting the diaper stage, it is even more fun to get together because, well, built in play mates!
So, we spent the last while in Canmore, invading Gran’s house, swimming in cool mountainous (but not true mountain) lakes, splurging on quick trips to the alpine, and eating pretty great food (my older brother and I both like to cook, and my mum’s not too shabby, either). Unfortunately, most of the forest around my mum’s house was closed off due to an aggressive bear in the area and the heaps of Shepherdia canadensis that were enticing the megafauna close to town, so we couldn’t access the refreshing Quarry Lake as easily as we would have liked to, but we rocked the minivan lifestyle and made it work, in spite of having to coordinate two toddler naps. Pat pat pat.
Day trip up to Sunshine Meadows
A highlight of the trip, for me, was getting up into Sunshine Meadows and Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. The last time I was in the high alpine was the summer before the littlest was born, when we bike-hiked up to Shadow Lake as a family of three. Our youngest has been horrible in the car pretty much her whole life, so trips to the mountains have been precious since she joined the family (thankfully, the trade-off in tonnes of urban biking hasn’t been too arduous, ha), as neither my husband or I have much patience for sitting in a car with a screaming kid when we could just have some pretty good times around town without burning fossil fuels. I digress…
We lucked out and had a beautiful day to venture out. The skies were blue with gorgeous cumulus clouds puffed out in patches everywhere, the air was invigorating, and the environs were lushly green for this time of year after all of the moisture that we have had. The wildflowers were out, not abundant, but the asters were notably prolific. And, the kids loved the gondola ride, up and down. All in all, a great day, and I would definitely recommend it, especially if you are looking for a good day trip with younger kids as they ride for free, so you only have to splurge on an adult ticket, plus the walking is right for their little legs – undulating terrain, nothing overly steep as you may encounter trying to get to the alpine without the technological assist! (Be sure to buy your ticket ahead of time online as they have a promo right now that gets you up the Standish Chair for free, which means no serious hills to ascend, at all.)
While we were away, we kept hearing of the crazy Alberta storms that were plaguing parts of Calgary. Hail bigger than a toonie, puddles in yards, and crops of greens that appeared as though they’d been blended dominated my gardening Facebook group pages every day or so. I put it all out of my mind for the trip, keeping my fingers crossed that, generally speaking, we live in a low-hail part of Calgary and our neighbours have a huge poplar tree that overhangs (and shelters) at least half of our yard, but the garden was definitely on my mind on the drive home…
Relief. It was okay. A little more hail damage but nothing to make history, most of the damage had been caused by the storm before we left. The basement had flooded; however, the garden was green! Lush! The corn were standing tall and almost ready (although we snuck two sweet cobs for this dinner, below). The basil had finally taken off. Some tomatoes were ready and many more are turning, just waiting for a few more BTUs. The kale, chard, fennel, and celeriac were gorgeous, seriously! I spied two plump sugar pumpkins that were just little nubs when we left. The garlic is ready for harvesting. The dill is ready for pickles. And, there were zucchini! So many beautiful zucch’s and one baseball bat that is slowly getting baked into goodness.
A few weeks ago, I posted a zucchini recipe round-up, including a few new ones that I was itching to try, including this Sweet Corn & Zucchini Pie. And, here is my adapted version as I forgot to get mushrooms at the market because the toddler decided she wanted to come at the last minute, so I got preoccupied and forgot my list. Plus, we have copious amounts of fresh herbs in the garden, so I went that way instead of dried.
I normally wouldn’t recommend trying new foods when coming back from holiday or with tired kids, in general, so it was with baited breath that I served this to mine. Thankfully, they devoured it, so I will stamp it as kid-approved with a caveat that I think a lot of the enthusiasm was that they were eating zucchini they had helped to grow and harvest! Not to say that it isn’t good, but there is definitely a magical spell that the garden casts over my kids… I mean, really enchants them – I’ve even caught my eldest snacking on spinach straight from the garden because she was hungry… before breakfast! I hope garden magic works in your house, too. Enjoy!
Zucchini Corn Eggy Pie
Time: about an hour
Zucchini, cheese, and eggs mingled with fresh herbs and little pops of fresh corn!
Lightly adapted from Lindsay’s Sweet Corn and Zucchini Pie over at Pinch of Yum
- olive oil
- 2 ears of corn
- 2 zucchini, thinly sliced rounds (~4 c)
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, slivered
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 c mozzarella, grated
- 1 1/2 c Swiss cheese, grated
- 4 eggs
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Put a few glugs of olive oil in a frying pan big enough to hold the onions and zucchini. Heat on medium.
- Add onions and sauté until just starting to brown. Meanwhile, prep the zucchini.
- Add the zucchini and cook until softened, over medium/medium-high heat. 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cut the corn off the cob and add it in the last few minutes.
- Add the herbs and salt, and grind in some pepper, to taste.
- Crack the eggs into a medium to large bowl. Lightly beat. Grate cheese on top, mix, then add the cooked zucchini.
- Pour this mixture into a 9″ pan that has been lined with parchment (I used a springform pan, but considered using one of my cast-irons…).
- Bake for about 35 minutes, checking after 30.