An abundance of fruits and vegetables are available everywhere you turn. Hope you are supporting your local farmers’ markets and fruit stands. Lots of recipes can be made and frozen, canned or jarred.
SIMPLE MARINATED PEPPERS
This is an easy but versatile preparation for roasted peppers from an acclaimed New York City restaurateur and chef. There are more than 80 recipes that will invite you into the kitchen to enjoy dishes light on the fuss and big on flavor and with integrated Indian techniques for these farm-to-table dishes. Great on a toasted baguette with chévre, puréed with cream for a simple pasta sauce, or served as a side dish. Roasted garlic makes all the difference, but fresh garlic (use half as much) works, too. From Masala Farm Stories and Recipes from an Uncommon Life in the Country by Suvir Saran (Chronicle Books).
12 red bell peppers
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 roasted garlic cloves or 3 fresh garlic cloves
Place oven rack to the upper-middle position, and heat the broiler to high. Place peppers on an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheets, and broil until blackened on all sides, 12 to 16 minutes. Wrap each pepper in a damp paper towel, and place them in a large paper bag to steam. Set aside for 20 minutes. Open the bag and remove peppers. Remove the stems and turn each pepper upside down over the sink to drain. Peel the blackened skins off. Make a lengthwise slit in the peppers do they can lay flat, and use a knife to scrape away the seeds. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and a sprinkle of salt in a 9×23-inch baking dish. Place the peppers flat in the dish, and place the garlic cloves between them. Cover the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or up to 1 week before serving.
Makes 12 roasted peppers.
RAW ZUCCHINI SALAD
Zucchini undergoes a radical transformation when it’s salted, from still and bland to flexible and flavorful, making the vegetable the focus. This is light, refreshing and satisfying. A great vegetarian side dish, perfect for late summer and early fall when zucchini is abundant. From Michael Ruhlman’s Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques, 100 Recipes, A Cook’s Manifesto (Chronicle Books). This book will teach you how to cook or, if you are already adept in the kitchen, this book will make you even better, teaching you how to think about what you are doing so you can understand the what, why and how, leaving you free to explore, experiment and hone your skills.
2 zucchini, 1 green and 1 yellow, cut on the bias into slices 1/8-inch thick or julienned
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds or toasted roughly chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, or chives, cut into chiffonade (optional)
Put the zucchini in a colander and sprinkle evenly with 1 teaspoon salt. Toss and sprinkle evenly with another 1 teaspoon salt, distributing it evenly. Let stand for 10 to 20 minutes (the squash should be limp but still have some bite to them).
In a small bowl, combine the shallot, garlic and lemon juice. Shake the moisture off the zucchini and taste. If too salty, rinse briefly under cold water and pat dry. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the olive oil. Spoon the lemon shallot mixture over, and toss some more. Season with pepper, more salt, and lemon juice if desired. Garnish with nuts and herbs if using.
PICKLED WATERMELON RIND AND SWEET CORN FRITTERS
For more than 20 years, guests at Lisa’s restaurants have asked for the recipe for her fabulous pickled watermelon rind. Lisa also loves dicing these pickles finely to use as a chutney for corn fritters. They are also a colorful, yummy summer appetizer. When canned, these rinds make a great gift. Lisa’s life in the kitchen, and her fabulous recipes, come from 30 years of creating food inspired by her Southern roots while honoring classic techniques and amazing local ingredients are a mix of high end or down-home. In the end she’s simply a Southern gal who can’t resist a glass of champagne with a plate of fried chicken. These recipes will quickly become part of any cook’s repertoire. From: Fried Chicken & Champagne: A Romp Through the Kitchen at Pomegranate Bistro by Lisa Dupar (Partners West) (http://www.duparandcompany.com/).
1 large (12 to 15 pounds) watermelon
1 quart apple cider vinegar
2 pounds sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
1 orange, zest and whole segments
After you enjoy the watermelon, the easiest way to remove the rind is to cut the watermelon into long 1-inch strips. With a sharp knife, remove just a thin layer of the green outside skin. Leave as much of the white layer as possible and a touch of the inside red layer. Then cut the rind into 1-inch even cubes.
In a large pot over medium-high heat, pour 1/2-quart of the vinegar and 1 pound of sugar over the watermelon rind and boil for 5 minutes. Combine the remaining 1/2-quart vinegar and remaining 1 pound sugar in a separate pot and simmer until syrupy (similar to maple-syrup consistency). Add the syrup to the watermelon rind along with the cinnamon stick, cloves, nutmeg, pepper flakes, garlic, allspice, orange zest and orange segments. Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain off the syrup. Set the watermelon rind with spices to the side. Continue to reduce the syrup until it becomes thicker, like maple syrup. Pour the syrup back over the watermelon rind. You may can it at this point, following standard canning instructions, or store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.
Makes about 1 gallon of pickles.
SWEET SUMMER CORN FRITTERS
From: Fried Chicken & Champagne: A Romp Through the Kitchen at Pomegranate Bistro by Lisa Dupar (Partners West) (http://www.duparandcompany.com/).
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 cup water
2 cups corn
1 scallion, finely sliced
2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 red jalapeño pepper, minced
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
In a bowl, sift the rice flour, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and cayenne together. Lightly beat the egg and add to dry ingredients along with lime juice and water. Beat until smooth. Add the corn, onions, cilantro and red jalapeño. Fold together until combined.
Heat the oil in a deep pot on the stove until it reaches 350° F (use a candy thermometer). Using a small ice-cream scoop, scoop the fritter batter and gently drop into the hot oil, about 6 at a time. Cook until golden brown; about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt (optional). Serve the corn fritters warm with watermelon rind chutney
Makes 24 to 32 fritters.
For more recipes or details about Sheilah Kaufman, visit www.cookingwithsheilah.com.