By: Giovanna Forno


Hello again Sacramento! This past month’s heat has done wonders to my
summer garden and it has finally come to life! With the support of friends and
beautiful Mother Nature, I have successfully started to produce zucchini, zucchini
blossoms and corn. My herbs and flowers have tripled in size and produced the first
flower of the season, although I am still waiting for my sunflower to bloom as it
stands and 4 ft. I am amazed at how beautifully my garden has grown into itself and
the pots they are planted in. My main planter, which holds about 10 gallons, carries
my corn, zucchini, squash, flowers and sunflower. This planter was given to me with
the seeds already germinated in the soil and they were arranged to help each other
grow—symbiotically. I often find myself fantasizing about the massive network of
roots that must be living beneath the soil and how they are all working together to
produce an array of vegetation.

With the growth of my garden, comes the growth of me. My summer
vegetable project has given me such joy and confidence by seeing my hard work
come to life. It has not only brought me tremendous growth, but also food to put on
the table and to share with those closest to me. The growth of my zucchini has also
given me an appreciation for agriculture and local farm. After always shopping at
grocery stores, it is almost as if I forget where exactly my food comes from.

In honor of the growth of my garden, I decided to make a summer salad
using the first zucchini of the season along with zucchini blossoms. I came across
a zucchini blossom salad in one of Martha Stewart’s magazines, and though it
would be a great recipe to share because it was a example of way to utilize zucchini
blossoms as well as how to make them taste good. Although you could deep-fry the
blossoms with a light batter, I decided to slightly modify this fresh salad, perfect for
summer. Please Enjoy!

You will need:

A small bunch of thyme sprigs
Half cup of extra virgin olive oil
Fresh lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
A handful of heirloom cherry tomatoes
1-2 thinly sliced zucchini (raw)
4-6 zucchini blossoms, halved
A small bunch of basil leaves
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
A pinch of salt & pepper
4 tablespoon of fresh ricotta

Serves 1-2 Time- 30 min

Strip the thyme sprigs and place in small saucepan with oil. Cover, and heat
over low-medium heat. After coming to a slight bubble, take off heat and let
cool. Mix with lemon juice and zest
Combine desired amount of dressing to sliced zucchini, the cherry tomatoes,
blossoms, basil leaves, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper
and toss. Plate the salad and top with spoonfuls of ricotta.
Enjoy the remaining dressing any time if refrigerated