Sunday, September 13, 2009

Late Summer Harvest Recipes

Todays class
These yummy recipes came together to make a great lunch during the September "What's Cooking?" Class at Sevananda Natural Foods Market. I'll be back on the second Saturday in October to start our Halloween and holiday celebrations early with Fair Trade chocolates and other naturally good treats. See you then, and in the mean time enjoy these recipes using the best of late summer produce!

ciabatta pomodoro & zucchini tom gratin
Ciabatta Pomodoro

This is like a vegan open faced sandwich, almost a bruschetta. The ciabatta is fantastic for sopping up every last bit of the chunky pomodoro sauce. Traditionally, pomodoro sauce is a lot like marinara – tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil – but cooked longer and therefore thicker. This is my 15 minute version which is finished with a good quality olive oil for a decadent feeling. The tomatoes I used were garden fresh and huge for Romas and very meaty. Most plum tomatoes or tomatoes used as “paste tomatoes” would be a fantastic option as well.

1 large cipolini onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-6 large Roma tomatoes (or other meaty vs. juicy tomatoes), large diced
Salt and black pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a pan until shimmering. Add the onion, cook, stirring occasionally for 3, add the garlic and continue cooking until the garlic becomes aromatic and tender. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften but are not falling apart. Season with salt, pepper and basil, allow to cook for just a few moments more then finish with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Serve over warmed ciabatta rolls or lightly toasted slices.


Zucchini Tomato Stove Top Gratin

This is a stove-top gratin, made in a pan, in less time than it takes to pre-heat an oven. For that reason I think of it as a “summer” gratin partially because it features summer-ripe foods and partially because it’s quick and easy to make during hot weather without firing up the oven. Just that little handful of olives really brings a nice flavor to the dish, and the breadcrumbs and cheese provide just enough texture to barely hold it all together, so that it's still light and summery.
2 zuchhini, sliced ½ inch thick
2 plum tomatoes, sliced ½ inch thick
6-8 kalamatta olives, pitted, sliced
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp seasoned bread crumbs
Shredded parmesan reggiano or mozzarella cheese (or a combo)

In a large skillet heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot (but not smoking) arrange the zucchini and tomato slices overlapping and alternating, in a spiral pattern starting from the outside edge of the pan until you cover the entire surface of the pan. Do not shake or stir. Season with salt and pepper, and basil. Sprinkle bread crumbs and shredded cheese over the top. Continue cooking over medium heat until the cheese is well melted and begins to brown around the edges. Cut into four wedges with a spatula and serve immediately.

Cucumber jalapono soup w herbed goat chz
Cucumber Jalapeno Soup with Herbed Goat Cheese
The goat cheese really does bring something to pull this soup together. It’s good without it, but it’s better with. A vegan version of this no-cook soup is easily adapted by using soy yogurt/sour cream and the vegan herbed “feta” cheese that’s widely available in many natural foods markets. Keep the seeds in the jalapenos for a spicier soup, this version is mild enough to serve everyone.

4 garden cucumbers, seeded, peeled and roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 jalapeno peppers, 2 seeded, all chopped
1 cup fresh parsley
¼ cup fresh dill
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Juice from 2 lemons
½ cup plain greek style yogurt
½ cup sour cream
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 6 oz pkg of herbed goat cheese (or flavor plain goat cheese with lemon zest, black pepper, parsley and dill)
Salt and pepper

In a large blender (or in two batches) combine all of the ingredients adding the yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice and olive oil in first. Then the cucumbers and the rest. Puree until smooth and pour into a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Before serving, stir well and check the seasonings, you may want to add more cayenne, salt, pepper or lemon juice. Ladle soup into bowls and drop dollops of herbed goat cheese on top of each bowl. Garnish with the zest of a lemon and a sprig of dill.