My CSA share has been very generous this summer with peppers, eggplant, and corn. Here are a few ways to use these wonderful summer vegetables.
Italian Fried Peppers
These peppers make an excellent antipasto and also go well as a side dish.
6 Italian frying (sweet banana) peppers
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove smashed and cut in half
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning.
Pinch of salt and crushed red pepper flakes
Heat oil and garlic in a saute pan. Lower the heat and add the whole peppers. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, salt, and crushed red pepper. Saute slowly until lightly brown on all sides. Serve at room temperature but store in the refrigerator.
For each 1 lb eggplant, you will need:
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, black pepper and dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup panko style breadcrumbs
Large plastic ziplock bag
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover two large baking pans with parchment paper. Spray each with cooking spray.
Peel eggplant and slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (no thicker). You want them to be thin. Put the oil in the ziplock bag and then the eggplant slices. Close the bag and shake to evenly distribute the oil.
Place the eggplant slices on the prepared baking pans. Sprinkle eggplant evenly with salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle the panko crumbs over the eggplant slices and spray with cooking spray.
Bake for 20 minutes, then reverse the pans on the oven shelves and bake for 15-20 minutes more or until golden brown. Do not let the eggplant burn or get too dark.
To assemble the casserole, you will need:
Spray an 8 inch or 9 inch or 8-by-11 1/2-inch baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
2 ½ cups Marinara (pasta) sauce
8-ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
Baked eggplant slices
Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Arrange a layer of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping slightly. Spoon some of the sauce over the eggplant and layer with slices of mozzarella cheese. Continue layering eggplant slices, sauce and cheese until all is used. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the sauce bubbles, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest ten minutes before cutting.
Fresh Corn Griddle Cakes
1 ½ cups cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for greasing the griddle
3 cups freshly shucked corn kernels, from about 4 ears
1 small jalapeño chile, finely chopped, or to taste
3 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
Salsa or Sour Cream, for serving
Stir together cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to the cornmeal mixture and mix briefly with a wooden spoon or whisk to obtain a thick batter. Add corn kernels, jalapeño, and scallions and stir to combine.
Set griddle or large cast-iron pan over medium heat. When the griddle is hot, grease lightly with butter, using a folded paper towel or pastry brush. Spoon 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle. Adjust heat as necessary to keep griddle cakes from browning too quickly. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, then carefully flip with a spatula and cook for another 1 1/2 minutes.
Serve immediately as soon as griddle cakes are ready or keep warm in a low oven until all the batter is used. To serve, put 3 griddle cakes on a plate. Top with a generous spoonful of salsa or sour cream.
Avocado & Shrimp Chopped Salad
Garlic bread is a nice addition to go with this salad. Recipe below.
For 2 servings
5 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Big pinch cayenne pepper
8 oz raw shrimp (16-20 per pound), peeled and deveined
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
Juice of half a lime
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 ear of corn, husked and cooked
4 cups chopped green leaf lettuce
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 celery stalk, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 slices crispy cooked bacon, diced
To prepare the dressing:
Place the apple cider vinegar, cilantro, dill, shallot, garlic, dry mustard, salt, and cayenne in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk and set aside for 15 minutes. Whisk in the oil and then the sour cream. Cover the dish and refrigerate until serving time.
To prepare shrimp:
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add one teaspoon of oil and swirl it in the pan. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink. Remove to a plate.
Cut the shrimp into thirds and place in a mixing bowl. Add the diced avocado, 2 teaspoons oil, lime zest, lime juice, salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Toss gently. Cover and chill until serving time.
To prepare the salad:
Boil or microwave corn on the cob until tender, about 3 minutes. Cut the kernels off the cob and place in a salad bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
Add the bell pepper, red onion, tomatoes, celery, and bacon. Toss Add the shrimp and avocado, lettuce and dressing; gently toss to coat. Serve in individual salad bowls.
Cheesy Garlic Bread
6 thick slices sourdough or Italian bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup shredded Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
Place the bread on a baking sheet. Preheat the broiler or toaster oven. Or heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl, combine the butter with garlic; mix well. Spread the butter mixture on each piece of bread and sprinkle with cheese.
Toast in a toaster oven or broil under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the bread is golden brown. Or bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Serve with the shrimp salad.
In my region, CSA’s, local farms and farmers’ markets are bursting with produce. There are so many choices that it is difficult to know where to start. Piles of summer squash might be a good place to begin. Zucchini and summer squash are plentiful during the summer months because they are easy to grow and mature relatively quickly. Some of the more common types are:
- Patty Pan Squash is a variety of summer squash notable for its small size, round and shallow shape, and scalloped edges, somewhat resembling a small toy top, or flying saucer.
- Zucchini is a green summer squash also called marrow in some areas of the world.
- Yellow Crookneck Squash is a lemon-yellow, 6-inch vegetable, with a slightly bent neck that earns it the name Crookneck. For best flavor, pick summer squash like crookneck and zucchini when they are small
- Cupcake is a hybrid squash shaped like a cupcake, with the soft edible skin of zucchini and the delicate, sweet flavor of patty-pan squash.
Here are some recipes to get you started:
Sausage Stuffed Round Squash
4 main dish portions, or 8 side portions
4 pattypan, cupcake or round zucchini squashes, stems removed
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small clove garlic, minced
¼ cup minced onion
¼ cup minced celery
1/2 pound cooked, crumbled Italian sausage
1 large slice Italian bread, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian herbs
4 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds with a serrated spoon, being careful not to tear through the squash. Remove some of the squash flesh with a serrated spoon leaving a ½ inch shell. Lightly brush the insides of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper.
In a skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and garlic, about 30 seconds. Add the chopped squash flesh, onion, and celery. Cook until soft. Add the crumbled sausage, bread and herbs. Cook for about 5 minutes to soften all the ingredients.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide filling evenly among the squash halves, piling it up in the center. Top with shredded parmesan cheese. Add water to the baking dish to the depth of about 1-inch. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the squash halves are tender and the tops are golden.
Yellow Squash Casserole
This yellow summer casserole is a favorite all year round, great for family meals during the summer but also popular for holiday dinners, especially in the South. You can use yellow summer or crookneck squash for this casserole. The recipe ingredients are easily increased for a potluck dish or large family dinner.
This casserole is a good side dish that can take the place of a heavier starch, and it goes well with just about any protein, especially chicken or fish. Variations include adding chopped red peppers or green peppers with the onion that adds a little color as well as flavor. You can spice it up by adding chilies as well.
3 medium yellow summer squash
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion. finely chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg
1 teaspoon honey
4 tablespoons melted butter (divided)
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (divided)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 1-quart casserole or baking dish.
Slice the summer squash and place it in a medium saucepan. Cover the squash with water and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Place the pan over high heat and bring the squash to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan; continue to cook until tender, 15 minutes.
Drain the squash thoroughly; return it to the saucepan and mash it. Add pepper to taste.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg. Add the mayonnaise, chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese. Stir to blend thoroughly. Stir the mashed squash into the egg and mayonnaise mixture.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared casserole. Top the casserole with the remaining 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. Toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter and then sprinkle them over the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Serve squash casserole hot.
8 oz Italian sausage, cut into ¼-inch slices
1 pound small yellow crookneck, trimmed and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided plus extra for the broiling pan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 large eggs, beaten
3 oz sliced Italian fontina cheese, torn into pieces
Heat the oven to the high broil setting. Set the oven rack in the oven 3 to 4- inches from the broiler.
In a medium bowl toss the sliced sausage and squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper.
Lay the sausage and squash in a single layer on a foil-lined half sheet pan that has been brushed with oil. Broil the sausage and squash for 5 minutes. Turn them over and broil for another 5 minutes. Drain in a fine mesh colander.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Whisk the eggs, herbs, salt, and pepper together in a medium mixing bowl. Add the drained sausage and squash. Stir.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick, oven-safe saute pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and stir with a silicone spatula to make sure the egg gets under the squash mixture. Distribute the Fontina cheese around the top of the frittata. Cook without stirring until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set on top, about 4 to 5 minutes. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn the broiler back on and brown the top of the frittata, about 2 minutes,
Loosen the frittata from the pan by moving the spatula around the edges. Slide the frittata onto a plate or other serving dish, and cut into 6 servings. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Summer Vegetable Soup
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 small red potatoes (7 oz) peeled and diced
2 quarts chicken (or vegetable) stock
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
2 cups fresh corn kernels
2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cups yellow squash, diced
1 cup zucchini, diced
1 cup okra, sliced into thin rounds
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup mixed herbs finely chopped (dill, parsley, and chives)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
In a large saucepan, bring the broth and water to a boil and add the garlic, onions, potatoes, turmeric and a generous pinch of salt. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add in the remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until all the vegetables are tender about 15 minutes. Serve in individual soup bowls and garnish the soup with grated cheese.
Scallop and Prosciutto Kebabs
You can also make a combination of shrimp and scallops if you prefer.
16 large sea scallops (about 1½ pounds)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
16 large basil leaves
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium. Or use a stovetop grill pan.
If the scallops still have the tough muscle that attaches them to the shell, trim it off. Pat the scallops dry with paper towels.
Whisk together the lemon juice and a hefty pinch of salt in a medium bowl until the salt has dissolved; whisk in the olive oil. Add the scallops and toss until they are well coated.
Cut the prosciutto slices in half lengthwise. Arrange the strips on a work surface and place a basil leaf in the edge of each strip. Top the leaf with a scallop and wrap the prosciutto around the scallop to enclose it. Thread 4 prosciutto-wrapped scallops onto each of 4 metal skewers. (If using wooden skewers, soak them for 20 minutes in water before threading the scallops.)
Place the skewers on the grill and cook the scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until almost firm to the touch, transfer to plates and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Grilled Summer Squash
This recipe can be broiled also.
4 medium zucchini, about 6 inches long and 6-7 ounces each
4 medium yellow squash, about 6 inches long and 6-7 ounces each
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped scallions, white portion only
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Trim the ends of the zucchini and the squash, cut them into 2-inch rounds.
Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag and add the squash rounds. Roll the bag to evenly coat in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat a well-oiled charcoal or gas grill to medium. Or use a stovetop grill pan.
Remove the zucchini and squash from the bag and thread on skewers.
Place the skewers on the grate, close the lid, and grill until well marked, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the skewers over, close the lid, and grill on the second side until well marked, 5 to 7 minutes.
Grilled Corn On the Cob
4 ears fresh corn, husked
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat an outdoor grill to high.
Combine butter, lime zest, lime juice, ground chipotle and salt in a small bowl
Place each ear on a sheet of foil large enough to enclose the corn. Spread some of the butter spread over each ear. Enclose the foil and seal the ends. Place on the grill and cook, turning frequently, for 10 minutes. Remove from the grill and let stand in the foil for 5 minutes
Carefully unwrap the corn.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Prepare the corn as above and place the wrapped corn on a baking sheet.
Roast the corn, turning once, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Mexican Americans have lived in the United States for most of the country’s history. Ethnically, Mexican Americans are a diverse population, but the majority are Mestizo, which in colonial times meant to be a person of half European and half Native American ancestry. Nonetheless, the meaning of the word has changed through time and currently refers to the segment of the Mexican population who do not speak indigenous languages.
The United States is home to the second-largest Mexican community in the world, second only to Mexico itself, and comprising more than 24% of the entire Mexican population of the world. Mexican American families of indigenous heritage have been in the country for at least 15,000 years, and Mestizo Mexican American history spans more than 400 years, since the 1598 founding of Spanish New Mexico. Spanish residents of New Spain in the Southwest included New Mexican Hispanos and Pueblo Indians and Genizaros, Tejanos, Californios and Mission Indians. Approximately ten percent of the current Mexican-American population are descended from the early colonial settlers who became U.S. citizens in 1848 following the conditions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ended the Mexican–American War.
Generally, when Americans speak about Mexican food, they are usually referring to Tex-Mex (or Cal-Mex) cooking, an extremely popular cuisine that follows the long border between the United States and Mexico. The food of the southwestern US state of New Mexico and the dishes of many of the Native American peoples of the southwestern US have similar names to many Tex-Mex and some Mexican dishes but they use different flavorings and cooking techniques.
Dishes like chili, fajitas, salsa, tortilla chips, chimichangas, quesadillas, burritos, and nachos are actually homegrown American inventions. Even dishes that exist in Mexico like enchiladas, tacos, and tamales are cooked and served differently in the United States. True Mexican dishes are not as spicy as many US versions. American versions of Mexican entrees add prodigious quantities of cheese, either shredded or melted, to nearly every dish, a practice rare in Mexico. The same heavy hand applies to the American use of sauces of all kinds. North of the border portions are larger, plates are filled so that the food items tend to run one into the other. In Mexico, the soft corn tortilla performs the function that bread on the table performs in the United States; it is a side starch. In the United States, fried tortillas, become an ingredient in nearly every dish.
Like most immigrant groups, Mexican Americans have remained loyal to the food traditions of their homeland. Many shops in small ethnic markets carry Mexican specialty foods. When they cook, they follow recipes handed down to them by their parents and grandparents and their cooking styles have certain things in common. Meat, usually pork or beef, is central to the diet. It is often eaten with salsa on the side. Corn, beans, rice, and root vegetables are also staples, especially sweet potatoes, yams, yucca, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, and taro. Also popular is a pear-shaped squash called chayote. Here are some Mexican American recipes for you to make at home.
Carne asada means grilled beef in Spanish. The best cuts for making carne asada is Arrachera or skirt steak. It’s the taste that comes to mind when you think carne asada.
In Mexico, there are several marinating techniques that vary depending on the region of the country.
In the south and in the Gulf of Mexico area, where bitter oranges are grown, cooks will add some of its juice to the meat they are using to make Carne Asada; in other regions, they will add lime juice, and others will add a splash of beer.
Carne asada is traditionally made using a skirt or flank steak. The two cuts are very similar, but I prefer flank steak. When cutting the cooked meat, be sure to cut against the grain. It is quite easy to see the grain running through the meat in both of these cuts. It looks like long lines. Do not cut parallel to these lines, always cut perpendicular to them.
Adapted from Rick Bayless, Chicago Chef
2 limes juiced
4 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 jalapeno minced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 pounds flank steak
In a gallon size resealable bag, combine the lime juice, crushed garlic, orange juice, cilantro, salt, pepper, olive oil, jalapeno, and vinegar. Squeeze the bag to mix it up.
Put the entire flank steak into the resealable bag. Seal it up tight. Make sure all the meat is exposed to the marinade, squashing the bag around to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight is better.
Heat an outdoor grill or grill pan over high heat.
Remove the flank steak from the marinade, and discard the excess marinade. Cook on the grill for 7 to 10 minutes per side.
Once done, remove from the heat and let rest 10 minutes. Slice against the grain, and serve.
For Carne Asada Tacos
Thinly sliced grilled flank steak
Sliced red onion
Cotija cheese, crumbled
Blood oranges, cut into eighths
Grilled or Roasted Corn On the Cob
4 ears corn
2 tablespoons butter (softened)
Parmesan cheese, grated
Chopped herbs (your choice)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F or use the grill when cooking the meat.
Remove husks and silks from the corn. Place the corn on sheets of foil.
Butter corn and sprinkle with herbs and Parmesan cheese. Enclose the corn in foil and press the edges to seal.
Place wrapped corn on a cookie sheet or on the grill and roast for 25-30 minutes.
Mexican Red Rice
Arroz Rojo Mexicano
Adapted from Rick Bayless, Chicago Chef
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
1 ¾ cups unsalted chicken broth or water
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (roughly 1 to 2 serranos or 1 large jalapeño), stemmed and cut a slit down the side of each one
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into ¼-inch cubes
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
Place the garlic into a blender or food processor, add the canned tomatoes and process to a smooth puree.
In a large saucepan, stir together the oil and rice. When the rice is thoroughly coated, stir in the tomato puree, broth (or water), carrots and 1 teaspoon salt. Nestle in the chiles. Cover the pan, bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Gently stir the rice, re-cover and let the rice cook about 20 minutes. or until tender Taste a grain of rice: It should be very close to done at the core. If not, sprinkle in a little water, re-cover and cook 5 minutes more.
When the rice is done, uncover it and sprinkle in the peas and the parsley or cilantro. Use a fork to gently fluff the rice, reaching all the way to the edges of the bottom, to release steam and slow the cooking. Re-cover, let stand 5 minutes.
Black Beans with Chiles
1 pound dried black beans
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
2 whole serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño chile
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 1/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Rinse beans. Place beans in a large bowl. Cover with water by several inches. Let soak overnight.
Place oil, onion, and carrot in a Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat until the onion is tender. Drain beans and add to the Dutch Oven. Add whole chiles, cumin, chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1 hour. Uncover and simmer until beans are very tender, about 15 minutes more.
This past weekend I grilled a whole chicken and, of course, there were leftovers. The leftovers made a delicious filling for the peppers. Here is the link to the grilled chicken and my recipe for Ranch Salad Dressing.
2 large bell peppers
1/2 cup water
1 cup of shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup leftover rice or cauliflower rice
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 scallions, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the tops off the peppers and reserve them. Remove the pepper seeds, wash and dry the peppers.
Combine the filling ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. You need about 1 cup of filling for each pepper.
Fill the hollowed out pepper cups and place them in a baking dish where they can stand upright. Put the tops on the peppers and pour the water in the baking dish around the bottom of the peppers.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the peppers are tender.
Corn and Black Bean Saute
2 cups corn kernels
1 seeded and minced jalapeno
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups canned or homemade black beans, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Saute the corn, jalapeno, and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until corn is just tender. Stir in the black beans and cilantro. Season and heat.
Sliced Cucumbers With Ranch Dressing
1 English cucumber
Ranch Dressing (your favorite or my recipe in the link at the top of this post.)
Cut the cucumber into thin slices. Place on a serving plate and drizzle with ranch dressing.
Here in the deep south, the beginning of August is just about the end of the growing season due to the high temperatures. Peaches, summer squash, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, watermelon, basil, and okra are at their peak but will be difficult to get locally in the next few weeks. Here are some of my favorite recipes to make with August fruits and vegetables.
Fresh Tomato Sauce
5 pounds of fresh tomatoes, quartered and seeded retaining as much pulp as possible
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large sweet onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
2 large cloves of fresh garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (chili)
1-2 teaspoons honey, if needed
Place the following herbs in a piece of cheesecloth and tie the cheesecloth closed.
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh oregano
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of parsley
Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot over medium heat.
Add the onions, celery, garlic, and carrots.
Saute for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the tomatoes and sea salt.
Simmer on low heat, covered, for about an hour until the tomatoes cook down.
Remove the pot from the heat and using an immersion blender, process the mixture until smooth.
Return the pot to the heat and add the herb cheesecloth package.
Taste the sauce to see if the tomatoes were too bitter. Add the honey, if needed.
Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until reduced and thick, an hour to an hour and a half more. Remove the cheesecloth package and discard.
Pour the sauce into a refrigerator container and store the sauce up to 1 week, or freeze in batches.
Summertime Corn Chowder
For the corn stock ingredients
12 corn cobs (corn kernels removed and set aside for the chowder)
2 chive stalks
2 stems fresh parsley
2 stems fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Put corn cobs, chives, parsley, thyme, bay leaf and cold water to cover in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 1 1⁄2 hours. Strain, discard the solids and measure the broth.
If you do not have 6 cups add water to make the 6 cups. Set aside the broth.
For the chowder ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, white and light green sections, chopped
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 carrots, diced
1 bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups fresh corn kernels, divided
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk
6 cups corn stock or vegetable broth if you don’t make the corn stock
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Grated cheddar cheese, chopped chives or crumbled bacon, for garnish
Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or large soup pot.
Add the leeks, celery, carrots, bell pepper, jalapeno, and potatoes to the pot and saute for ten minutes until soft.
Add 3 cups of the corn, the 6 cups corn stock, chili powder and the thyme.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for an hour. Remove the thyme branches.
Take the pot off the heat and puree the contents with an immersion blender.
Add the half and half, salt and pepper to taste and the remaining 3 cups of corn.
Return the pot to the heat and simmer the soup for about 30 minutes.
4 cups peaches, peeled and sliced (about 8 medium peaches)
2-3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar, depending on the sweetness of the peaches
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup oats
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, combine the fruit and honey. Spread the mixture evenly in an 8×8-inch baking pan.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Stir the oil into the topping mix with a fork until you get a crumbly mixture forms.
Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the fruit in the baking dish.
Bake for 50 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden.
Quick Broiled Tomatoes
For each 2-person serving:
1 large beefsteak tomato
2 teaspoons prepared basil pesto
2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the broiler to high.
Cut the tomato in half and place in a baking dish, cut sides up.
Spread 1 teaspoon of pesto over each tomato.
Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs and then the grated cheese.
Drizzle each with a little olive oil.
Place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes until the topping is nicely browned.
2-3 medium eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
2 large cloves of garlic
1/2 cup lemon juice, more if desired
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat and place the eggplants directly on the grill. Directions for an oven version below.
Cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until tender and charred on all sides, about 15-20 minutes.
The eggplants should be very tender.
Test the eggplants by sticking a skewer near the stem and bottom ends. If the skewer meets resistance, continue cooking.
When they are done, wrap the eggplants in foil and crimp the top to seal. Let the eggplants rest for 15 minutes.
Open the foil package, using a sharp knife slit open the eggplants and with a large spoon scoop out the soft flesh.
Transfer to a strainer set in a large bowl. Pick out any bits of skin and blackened flesh.
To roast in the oven:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Pierce the eggplants with a fork in several places. Place on an oiled baking pan and roast until soft all over, about 20 minutes.
Follow directions as above.
Put the eggplant in a food processor, add the garlic, lemon juice and pulse until it is smooth and creamy.
Add the tahini and pulse again until it’s combined. With the processor turned on, slowly add the olive oil in a thin steady stream.
The mixture will be pale and creamy.
By hand, stir in the parsley, honey, smoked paprika and salt. Taste to see if you’d like additional salt or lemon juice.
Put the baba ghanoush into a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and serve with warm flatbread or vegetables.
Baba ghanoush can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Let the eggplant dip warm to room temperature before serving.
1 pound small okra
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Rinse the okra, drain and dry on a kitchen towel. The okra should be dry.
Trim away the stem ends and the tips and place the okra in a large bowl. Toss the okra with the olive oil until coated. Generously salt the okra.
Place the okra on a rimmed baking pan in one layer. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, shaking the pan every five minutes.
The okra should be lightly browned and tender. If you don’t want them too brown, roast at 400 degrees F.
Remove the pan from the oven, toss with fresh thyme leaves and freshly ground pepper. Transfer to a platter. Serve hot.