Leonard Bruno and his family don’t eat bottled tomatoes; at least not anyone else’s bottled tomatoes. That’s because the Howard Beach gardener extraordinaire grows enough to feed the whole family—throughout the year.
For the last 22 years, he’s been doing at his Howard Beach garden what his father did before him in the family’s Brooklyn garden since his childhood– growing a bounty of fresh vegetables and flowers. More than ten varieties of tomatoes surround a modest plot of land that also features giant hanging squash, peppers, bunches of fresh herbs, garlic and onions.
Bruno is the chair of the language department at a public school in Lynbrook where he infuses his love for cooking into the instruction of the Italian language. And despite a busy schedule at school, he manages to maintain his crops and use them to make delicacies for his family and friends.
Our visit to the “Bruno farm” ended with a virtual cornucopia of much appreciated and very delectable gifts—a 47” inch squash, four big boy tomatoes, a jar of pickled squash and a much sought after zucchini pie made about an hour before by the master chef himself. After performing the necessary taste test on the pie, and a tomato salad made with the big boys and some of Lenny’s fresh basil, the least we can do is share with you the recipe for his zucchini pie.
As for the squash—we can’t help you with that. But if you know Lenny, he’s definitely willing to share his beautiful crops.
Lenny Bruno’s Zucchini Pie
3 cups zucchini, diced
1 onion, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk baking mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
ground black pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10×6 inch pan or 12 inch pie plate.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine zucchini, onion, eggs, buttermilk baking mix, vegetable oil, cheese, marjoram, parsley and pepper. Mix well. Spread into the prepared baking dish.
3. Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly brown.
If you have an amazing garden you’d like to share with our readers please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 718.845.3221
by Patricia Adams