Summertime calls for recipes that aren’t really recipes. They are, instead, ways to use up the bounty of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and peppers in the garden in bright, colorful, and unexpected ways.
The following three summer sides are just such “recipes.” Make them on the spur of the moment for company or just yourself. Vary as you like with seasonings you have on hand. They are blueprints, plain and simple. Ideas to ponder. Fresh, unscripted, original. Enjoy!
Grilled Eggplant and Tomato Stacks
I shared this recipe in my Saves the Day book, and here is an abridged method:
1. Grill slices of zucchini and eggplant and alternate with tomato slices and crumbled feta cheese, creating stacks, from 3 to 6 slices high.
2. Drizzle with a vinaigrette full of chopped fresh basil and run in a hot oven – 400 – just long enough to heat through and melt the feta slightly, about 6 to 7 minutes.
3. Serve with grilled steaks, burgers, fish, or pasta.
Chilled Zucchini Soup a la Wyeth
In my book, What Can I Bring, I share this easy way to make cold soup:
1. Simmer 4 cups shredded fresh zucchini and 1 cup chopped onion in 1 quart chicken stock until soft. Stir in 8 ounces of cream cheese, cubed, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until thick, 10 minutes.
2. Ladle the soup into a food processor or blender and puree until nearly smooth. Chill overnight.
3. Just before serving, pour in 1/4 cup half and half and 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.
Fresh Tomato Pie My-Oh-My
No potluck, picnic, or summer Saturday lunch is complete without it. And it is so easy to prepare. This recipe was first printed in What Can I Bring, and I am sharing a quick method here:
1. Pre-bake a frozen pie crust at 375 until crispy, 5 minutes. When cool, layer in 16 well drained fresh tomato slices and chopped fresh basil. Add chopped green onion, if you like.
2. Stir together 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, and a little cayenne pepper. Spread over the top of the tomato mixture.
3. Place pie back in the oven and bake 30 minutes. Cover loosely with foil, and bake 15 more minutes, or until firm and golden brown.