Monday, July 19, 2010

Assault With A Deadly Vegetable

Mr. Bug was in the Navy, stationed on the East Coast, for six years before we met. The summer after we were married, an old Navy friend and his wife came out west to visit us and see the sites. Our first stop was the State Capitol Building. As we parked and exited the car, Mr. Bug's Navy friend noticed that the windows were down a crack {after all it is the desert here} and that we left the doors unlocked. He voiced concerns about leaving the car unlocked while we were away. We told them that Utah was a friendly place with a low crime rate and assured him that the car would be fine during our absence. As we predicted, when we returned from our tour of the Capitol several hours later, all was well.

Our site seeing continued throughout the week, with places like the Zoo, Red Butte Gardens, Temple Square, the Heber Creeper, and Clark Planetarium. Each time we left the car, our friends would become anxious. Sometimes they would ask if we shouldn't lock the car. Surely, they said, we've been lucky so far. But it would be unwise to continue to press our luck. We explained that we always left the car unlocked – that everyone leaves their cars unlocked – always to find everything safe when we returned.

On Sunday we invited them to come to church with us. As they were not members of the LDS Faith, they thought it would be interesting to attend our services to see what they were like. We arrived at the church and Mr. Bug found us a nice shady spot to park. Then he checked to make sure all the windows were up, locked the doors and set the alarm. Our friends' surprise was apparent as they asked, we've been site seeing all over the city and left the car unlocked in some pretty risky parking lots. Why, of all places, are you locking it now in the church parking lot? We told them that if we didn't, when we got out of church our car would be full of zucchini.

Gardening season is in full-swing here in Utah and almost everyone grows a produce garden. It's an off day when someone doesn't ask you if you'd like a zucchini or some tomatoes. I didn't do any veggies this year, but just look at these beautiful Ruby Raspberries I picked from my very own back yard. They are amazingly sweet and delicious; one of summer's true delights.

And yesterday morning I found a grocery sack of fresh-from-the-garden peas hanging on the front door. There was a note attached that said simply, enjoy! After church I snapped the pods open and LadyBug and Grasshopper each took a turn popping the peas out. We cooked some up to go with our supper last night and they were so sweet. I wish I knew who left them so that I could thank them and see if they had more they wanted to give away. I saved a few for one of my favorite meals, made even better by fresh summertime produce.

Italian Chicken Pasta Toss
6 oz. mini bow tie pasta {uncooked}
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ lb. chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup chopped onion
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow {or red} bell pepper, cut into strips
½ cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
¼ cup {1 oz.} parmesan cheese, grated {omit for dairy-free}

• Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and keep warm.
• Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a stir-fry skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and chicken to the heated oil in the skillet. Stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add onion, zucchini, bell pepper, peas, salt and Italian seasoning; stir-fry 2 minutes.
• Add tomatoes; heat 1 to 2 minutes, stirring gently until heated through. Remove from heat. Stir in warm pasta. Serve immediately topped with grated parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

For beautiful {and fast and easy} watermelon chunks, check out this tutorial.


QuiltNut Creations said...

oh yum that recipe looks good!

and I loved the line "when we got out of church our car would be full of zucchini" lol!!

Shay said...

I want to come and live at your place....vegetables left by a mystery person, what a friendly place. Someone chucked a maccas wrapper over my fence once.

I am not a great vegie fan but if theyre fresh I'll eat them every time.

Jennifer Lovell said...

I've heard that "joke" about locking the car against free zucchini before, but I didn't realize that really happens to people. Ha ha!

You recipe does look delicious! I sure hope I can get myself to try it, I almost never try new recipes, but I would LOVE to EAT this one!! Wish me luck... (no zucchini donors near me, that I know of : (... )

Michelle said...

LOL! I grew up in a suburb of a L.A. Needless to say we locked the car doors and rolled up the windows. Then I moved to a small town in Kansas. One evening I went to a work meeting, and one of my co-workers came in and told me I'd left my lights on. Then she added, "And you locked your doors. I would have turned them off for you." It was the reverse of "You're not in Kansas anymore Toto. I was!"

Lane said...

What a funny story. Having to protect yourself from overzealous sharers is a new one on me. I'd probably leave my car at the church parking lot, unlocked, windows down. but, then, I love zucchini. Lane

whimsyfox said...