by Anouk Booneman
While I do love autumn in Upstate NY, I am dreading the end of summer. This year more than usual. We have had a beautiful summer and an abundance of delicious, local produce. The early summer vegetables are still available, and my kitchen counter is overflowing with succulent corn, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon and peaches. Take advantage and appreciate the late summer bounty with the following recipes.
Tomatoes are a real pleasure in this part of the world. I have stopped buying tomatoes outside of their local growing season because I don’t like them anymore. Store your tomatoes at room temperature and not in the fridge. August tomatoes don’t need more than good crusty bread and flaky salt to delight in them, but the following recipe is a hit in my household.
Tomatillo and tomato jam (The Vegetable Butcher by Cara Mangini )
I served this jam on homemade cornbread and a cold avocado soup. There are a lot of cornbread recipes on the web, that can easily be made vegan or gluten free. The key for a good cornbread is a high-quality cornmeal. I like Geechie Boy Mill Yellow Cornmeal and purchase it from Amazon. Adding fresh corn kernel and herbs will bring you cornbread to a next level. This jam is easy to make and it will last a week in the fridge.
Combine 1 pint tomatillos (about one pound) husked, cored and coarsely chopped, 1 pound ripe tomatoes cored seeded and coarsely chopped, 1 jalapeño stemmed, seeds and ribs removed and minced and 1 tsp fine salt in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and cook stirring occasionally until they begin to break down, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2TBSP freshly squeezed lime juice and 1/4 tsp of cumin and simmer stirring occasionally until the mixture has thickened. Let cool then blend in a blender until smooth.
Eggplants are available in different shapes, colors and sizes. I usually come across the purple one, Japanese and fairy tale. This year I haven’t seen the white ones. It’s fun to cook with all of them. Look for an eggplant that is shiny and heavy for its size. The following recipe is from my favorite chef.
For the sauce, infuse the saffron in the hot water in a small bowl for 5 minutes. Pour the infusion into a bowl containing the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt. Whisk well to get a smooth, golden sauce. Taste and adjust the salt; if necessary, then chill. Keeps in the fridge up to 3 days. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet, brushing both sides with plenty of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast until the slices take on a beautiful light brown color, 20-30 minutes. Let cool. Arrange the eggplant slices on a large plate, slightly overlapping. Drizzle the saffron yogurt over them, sprinkle with the pine nuts and pomegranate seeds (or the parsley or the dried cranberries) and lay basil on top.
The following recipe is a baba ghanoush variation
Smoky eggplant dip
This dip will hold at least three days in your fridge
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Place 3/4 inch thick rounds of eggplant in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast twenty minutes until tender. Flip the slice halfway. When the rounds are cool enough to handle peel off the skin. (I personally roast the whole eggplant in the oven until soft) Place the eggplant in a food processor with 1 garlic clove, two to three drops of liquid smoke (available in any supermarket, be careful it’s very strong ) 1 TBSP of lemon juice, 1 TBSP tahini, 1/2 tsp of salt, a little pepper. Puree until smooth. Taste and add olive il if needed. Sprinkle with fresh parsley or mint. Serve with pita bread or cucumber slices.
Ratatouille vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and bell pepper) are at their peak now. There are many variations to make this dish. The most common method is as a stew. Another variation is called Tian. This classic Provençal version is made with alternating rows of sliced zucchini, eggplant, and tomato. The flavors meld as the vegetables cook together, somewhat like ratatouille. The vegetables are sliced very thin and arranged in a very attractive pattern. I made an in between variation laying my vegetables (adding a lost potato), smoked olive oil, salt and pepper. Baked in the oven at 400 for 1:30 hours the flavors melt together. It tastes even better the next day. No recipe needed, just make sure that your vegetables are thinly sliced (I used a mandoline).
Midsummer Fruit & Vegetable Paradise
Cold Soups Add Zest to Summer Eating
Salad Days of Summer
Food Shopping and Cooking During COVID-19
Cooking During the Time of COVID-19: Chickpea Scramble
The Making of Buddha Bowls with Delightful Dishes Added
Super Healthy Granola (Inspired by Rouxbe)
January Recipe – Socca Muffins
Great Cookbooks as Holiday Gifts
Butternut Squash Soup
Healthy Plant-Based Eating
Perfect Seasonal Vegan Recipes
Anouk is a master chef with degrees from around the world including the Culinary Institute of America who is a strong believer in plant based eating. She and Daniel Maslowsky offer workshops in their Spring Into Health program.