Multiple varieties of peppers are abundant in my area at the Farmers’ Market and in my neighbors’ gardens. Take advantage of this great crop and make some delicious recipes. Peppers are easy to freeze. Remove the seeds and cut into sizes that you like to use. Place them in ziplock freezer bags to use in the future. That’s all it takes.
Tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, and squash are also plentiful.
Tuscan Flavored Redfish
I like to use Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset herb seasoning on fish. It is a salt-free combination of basil, oregano, red bell pepper, garlic, thyme, fennel, black pepper, and anise. However, you can use any dried Italian seasoning mix.
Two thin redfish fillets, 4 oz each, or fish fillets of your choice
Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset seasoning or other dried Italian seasonings
3 small Italian frying peppers, seeded and sliced into rings
1 small red onion, sliced into rings
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
A handful of finely chopped fennel fronds
Sprinkle the fish, on both sides, with the herb mix. Season with salt to taste. Set aside while the vegetables saute.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet and add the prepared peppers, onions, fennel, and garlic. Saute the vegetables until tender, about 10-12 minutes.
Push the vegetable to one side, add the remaining oil and, then, the fish. Cook the fish two minutes and carefully turn the fillets over. Cook for two minutes more. Sprinkle the fish with the orange juice and fennel fronds. Serve the fish alongside the sautéed vegetables.
Mexican Flavored Chicken Stuffed Peppers
Coleslaw is a great side for this dish.
2 medium green bell peppers
1 large chicken breast, about 8 oz, cooked and shredded
1/2 cup medium spice salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Cut the top off the peppers and reserve the top. Clean the peppers and remove the seeds. Stand the peppers up in a deep baking dish that is just large enough to hold the two peppers.
In a mixing bowl combine the shredded, cooked chicken with the salsa and cheese. Stuff the peppers with the mixture and place the tops back on the peppers.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add about one inch of water to the baking dish and place the dish, uncovered, in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the peppers to individual serving dishes, using a slotted spoon.
Summer Tomato Salad
1-pint grape tomatoes halved
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 cup Italian vinaigrette. recipe below
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a serving bowl. Let marinate at room temperature for several hours before serving.
To make 1 cup of dressing:
Mix 1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning with 1 tablespoon of water in a mixing bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup red wine vinegar.
Whisk in 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Let stand several hours for the flavors to develop. Whisk again before adding to a salad.
French Basque Pipérade
My easy version of this dish is great to have in the refrigerator. It can be used as a side for grilled meat or fish and is especially good on top of an omelet. This recipe also makes a good pizza topping.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium sweet onions, peeled, halved and cut into ½ inch thick slices
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
1 medium dried bay leaf
6 medium green bell peppers, cleaned and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
2 teaspoons piment d’Espelette
1 cup marinara sauce
In a large, deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid, add the olive oil. Heat over medium, Add the onion and garlic. Cook until soft and beginning to color, about 8 minutes. Stir in the herbs and pepper slices and season well with salt. Cover and cook until the peppers are slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the marinara sauce, piment d’Espelette and season well with salt. Cook uncovered until the mixture melds and the juices thicken about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve or store in a covered container to use during the week.
At this time of year the farmers’ markets, roadside stands and supermarkets are bursting at the seams with fresh grown produce. Take advantage of all these good things and create some seasonal recipes around fresh July produce. Here are a few ideas.
These little bites are delicious for lunch or for a summer appetizer.
- 2 medium cucumbers, peeled
- 1/2 cup chive and onion cream cheese
- 1/2 cup carrots, finely shredded
- 1/4 of a green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 small banana pepper or other spicy pepper, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons relish
- Sweet paprika for garnish
Cut cucumbers lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out seeds to form a hollow center.
Combine the carrots, green pepper, spicy banana peppers, relish and cream cheese.
Spread the mixture into the center of the cucumbers. Sprinkle the top with paprika.
Cut each cucumber half into 4 pieces. Chill in the refrigerator until serving time.
- 1 medium to large eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into ¼ inch slices
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
- Olive oil
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/4 cup minced fresh herbs (parsley, basil)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups Marinara (tomato) sauce
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Combine the flour, salt, pepper and dried herbs in a shallow dish. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet.
Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour mixture and place in the skillet.
Cook until brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels and let cool until room temperature.
Mix together the filling ingredients and distribute evenly over the sautéed eggplant slices.
Roll up the slices from the short end and place in a greased casserole dish. Pour the Marinara sauce over the rolls and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes.
Big Batch Summer Vegetable Chowder
Makes plenty to freeze for future dinners and lunches.
- 12 ears fresh corn
- 2 quarts water
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 cups southern field peas
- 3 medium red potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 9 oz pkg fresh spinach tortellini
- Chopped fresh herbs for garnish
Slice the kernels from each corn cob into a large bowl. Set aside.
Break each corn cob in half and place in a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Cover the cobs with 2 quarts of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and turn the heat to low.
Simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
When the corn cobs have finished simmering, heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium low heat.
Add the onions and cook until soft, approximately 2 minutes, then add the garlic, salt, pepper, dried Italian seasoning, reserved corn and remaining vegetables.
Cook for several minutes until the corn is soft, stirring frequently.
Once the corn cobs have finished simmering, remove the cobs from the broth. Add the corn broth to the soup pot. If the corn broth has reduced to less than 4 cups, add more water to equal 4 cups.
Add the chicken broth and tortellini. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the ingredients together over medium heat for an additional 15-20 minutes, covered.
- One 9 inch refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
- 3 small to medium vine-ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced 1⁄4″ thick
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
Spread tomatoes in a single layer on a double thickness of paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and let drain for 1 hour. Blot dry with more paper towels.
Heat the oven to 425°F.
Place the dough in a greased 10 inch pie dish or tart pan. You can also place the dough on a baking sheet on parchment and form the tart like a galette.
Spread the cream cheese over the crust, leaving a 1 inch border. Sprinkle the cheddar over the cream cheese.
Top with tomato and shallot slices, overlapping each slightly. Sprinkle with black pepper and chives. Fold overhanging crust up and over the edge of the filling.
Bake until golden brown, 40–45 minutes. Let the tart rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Regular or Gluten-Free Strawberry Peach Sponge Cake
The recipe for this cake can be made as a gluten-free cake or as a regular sponge cake. Any fruit filling works in this recipe – just use what is in season.
Simple Sponge Cake Mixture
- 6 eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup cake flour
Gluten-Free Cake Mixture
- 8 oz butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon light rum
- 1 ½ cups King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Flour (not gluten-free flour)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons milk
Regular or Gluten Free Cake Filling
2 tablespoons light rum for sprinkling on the cake layers
1/2 cup strawberry syrup or jam (recipe for strawberry syrup)
6 strawberries, cut into thin slices
1 medium peach, peeled and sliced thin
12 whole small strawberries, stems removed
Whipped Cream Topping
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon light rum
Cut parchment or wax paper to fit two 9 inch round cake pans. Spray the pans with cooking spray and place the parchment circles in the pans. Spray the paper. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Directions for making the simple sponge cake:
Separate the eggs, putting whites in the large mixer bowl and the yolks in a small mixer bowl.
Add 1/2 cup sugar to the whites and beat until very stiff.
Add 1/2 cup sugar to the yolks and beat until very thick and light yellow in color.
Fold egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.
Fold flour in using 1//3 cup each time until well mixed. Do not over mix.
Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
Cool for a few minutes, remove from pan and remove paper. Sprinkle each layer with 1 tablespoon of rum. Cool completely.
Directions for making the gluten-free sponge cake:
Cream the butter and sugar together in the large electric mixer bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the rum.
Fold in the baking flour and baking soda, a little at a time. When completely mixed, add the milk slowly until the batter is fluid.
Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake until lightly brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack. Sprinkle each layer with 1 tablespoon of rum. Cool completely.
Directions for making the whipped cream topping:
Combine the ingredients in an electric mixer bowl and with the whisk attachment beat the mixture until stiff.
Directions for assembling the cakes:
Place one cake layer on a cake plate and top with the strawberry syrup. Arrange the sliced fruit on top of the strawberry syrup layer. Spread half of the whipped cream over the fruit.
Place the second cake layer on top of the whipped cream. Spread the cake layer with the remaining whipped cream. Place the whole strawberries evenly in a circle around the cake.
Chill in the refrigerator until serving time.