The Last Days of Summer
The end of warm weather is upon us, and so is the last of the summer garden vegetables. In your home garden, you may have a final flush of zucchini, squash, basil, eggplant and tomatoes before the roots are pulled from the ground to make way for fall and winter greens and roots. If you do have some of these yummies left in your summer garden, you may be wondering what recipes you haven’t thought of yet, and how you can possibly eat any more of them for the season. Well, I’m here to help in the idea arena and inspire you to give those veggies one last hoo-rah before putting them to rest until next spring.
Have you ever tried to make hummus with fresh, raw zucchini? It’s a great alternative to garbanzos in any hummus recipe. It usually turns out a bit thinner than chickpea hummus, but the flavor is great. Try a combination of half beans and half zucchini for a more traditional hummus texture.
How about ratatouille? I had forgotten this delicious dish until a few weeks ago, when I was running out of ideas for all of my summer vegetables. I chopped everything into cubes (eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, onion and garlic) added olive oil, herbs, and salt and baked until bubbly. What a fabulous combination of flavors. This mixture can top rice or pasta, or be a side dish for fish or meat. I added some feta cheese and olives and ate it over a bed of fresh raw spinach – delicious! I later ran into a friend of mine, who recommended making a huge batch of this the end of the summer and freezing portions for later.
I recently experimented with a recipe that turned out to be very good, and I can’t wait to make it again. It was homemade yogurt cheese (it’s very easy, and I’ll share the recipe, courtesy Jean Crozier of New Leaf Market and www.realsimple.com) with some walnuts, feta and yogurt. I rolled this cheese up in some thinly sliced and roasted eggplant, then topped the rolls with a simple marinara sauce and baked them. Wow! It was decadently delicious, healthy, homemade and simple to make. Give it a try. The recipe can be found below.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this summer’s bounty, and can’t wait for the next season of dark leafy greens, cabbages, root vegetables, beets and broccoli. My favorite growing season – when the bugs are all gone, the sky is blue and the air crisp!
Eggplant Rollatini by Jill Welch
- 1 Large Eggplant, thinly sliced
- Yogurt cheese with walnuts (Recipe here)
- Simple marinara sauce (Recipe below)
Place sliced eggplant in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Toss around until the salt and oil are well distributed. Place on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until soft. Add a spoonful of the yogurt cheese in one end of an eggplant piece and roll up. Place, seam down on an oiled, glass baking pan. Continue until you use up all the eggplant. Top with marinara and bake in preheated 300 degree oven until bubbly.
Simple Marinara Sauce
- 5 roma tomatoes chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 small onion chopped
- Olive oil
- Herbs de Provence
- Sea salt
Chop tomatoes, onion and garlic. Put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan along with the onions. Fry until soft, then add garlic and tomatoes, herbs and salt, and cook for just 5 minutes or so until the tomatoes are soft and blended. Do not over cook. Adjust salt to taste.