If it seems as if I have been focusing on fresh produce recently, you are right. I have been trying to eat a more wholesome, plant-based diet, as many of us are today.
Those who like to garden and shop the farmers markets often are looking for new ways to use and celebrate fresh produce in the kitchen. There are still those who feel that meat makes the meal; however, a survey from Aramark, the large U.S.-based food service company, found many people want to ease up on meat consumption, and 2 out of 3 want to eat more fruits and vegetables. There are resources to help learn about better nutrition and put vegetables center stage on your plate. Check out www.heart.org/healthyforlife and www.fyp365.com.
Have you checked out the fresh bounty at your local farmers market? The stands are chock-full of freshness in a rainbow of colors. Tomatoes and corn, hallmarks of summer produce, are almost at their peak. Corn straight from the cob is a seasonal favorite, whether it be grilled, boiled or, for some, microwaved. Then, take the kernels from the cob and toss with a dab of mayonnaise, a splash lime juice, a pinch of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper and, voila, you have an easy side dish. Or, toss the whole corn in the ingredients to eat it on the go.
After summer is over, there is no need to have vegetables disappear from your plate. A healthy eating regimen can continue throughout the rest of the year. With the help of Danielle Majeika, founder of the food blog I read, “The Perpetual Season,” and her new book, “The Vegetable Gardner’s Cookbook: 75 Vegetarian Recipes that will Help You Make the Most Out of Every Season’s Harvest” (2019, Page Street Publishing, $21.99), you can bring the harvest of each season to your plate. She shares gardening tips and vegetarian recipes to offer you inspiration in the kitchen as you revel in your own bounty, whether from your own garden, pick-your-own farms or the farmers market.
Recipes included are for any meal, from breakfast to dinner ,and for every season. The book is perfect for anyone looking to increase their vegetable intake and try plant-based dishes.
Majeika adds a unique spin to old classics such as Parmesan-Baked Parsnip Gnocchi with Marinara (winter) Lemon-Poppy Seed Zucchini Loaf Cake (summer), Cucumber Pear Soda (summer) and Charred Snap Peas with Chive Vinaigrette & Whipped Ricotta (spring).
Before summer fades away, check out the recipes below found in the “summer” chapter. To ease into fall, below is the recipe for Blackened Red Cabbage with Lemon Caraway Butter from the “autumn” chapter. If you still crave recipes using the best tomatoes of the season, check out the autumn recipe for Roasted Tomato Risotto at https://bit.ly/2TSJB1P.
The headnote says, “Red cabbage can often get lost in the shuffle of more ‘exciting’ vegetable options — but it is not to be misplaced or forgotton. Try serving this roasted cabbage on top of a salad or perhaps as a side to the Swiss Chard Tacos with Chili-Lime Pepitas and Queso Fresco (page 132 in the book).”
In a medium bowl, combine the softened butter with the caraway seeds, lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until well blended.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the cabbage, cut side down. Cook, undisturbed until the underside is charred, 10-15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add the infused butter. Once the butter begins to foam, tilt the skillet toward you, and spoon some butter over the top of the cabbage. Baste the cabbage every 3-4 minutes, adding more butter if necessary. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes until cabbage is knife-tender. Transfer to a cutting board and halve it once more so you are left with two quarters. Drizzle with the vinegar, season with salt and serve warm. Serves 2.
The headnote says, “Corn and tomatoes have a natural affinity for each other. Try to compose this salad with the freshest available, as you always should with simple assemblages. The deal is sweetened exponentially with hints of sesame and basil. The croutons work best with day-old corn bread, but can also be made with fresh bread if it’s what you have on hand.”
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Toss the corn bread with the olive oil, and splay it out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the za’atar over the corn bread, and toss to coat. Bake for 10 minutes, until crisp and browned.
In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper, and whisk vigorously to combine.
Toss the tomatoes and basil with the vinaigrette. Add the corn bread croutons, and toss to coat. Allow the salad to marinate for 20 minutes before serving. Serves 4.
Tip: As tomatoes begin to ripen on the vine, a boost of potassium will deepen their sugars and sweeten their taste. Wood ash is an easy and accessible source you can apply directly to the base of your plants. Simply add it to the base and then water.
The headnote says, “This savory cobbler makes a fine case for an easy summer dinner. While I’ve used cherry tomatoes here, feel free to substitute with grape or plum tomatoes. The beauty is being able to use what’s available and transforming the flavors. The filling is ripe with savory and sweet flavor, lent effortlessly by tomatoes, herbs, garlic and fennel. The biscuit topping comes together easily and is punctuated by fresh chives and nutty Gruyère cheese. Serve this hot with a fresh dinner salad composed of tender baby greens.”
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and fennel with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper, and cook for an additional minute. Add half of the cherry tomatoes and the brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes just begin to soften. Remove from the heat, and fold in the remaining tomatoes and the flour.
To make the topping, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter, and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to rub the mixture together until small clumps the size of peas form. Add the minced chives and Gruyère. Add the buttermilk, and gently mix with a fork until a sticky dough just forms.
Transfer the tomato mixture into a 2-quart baking dish. Spoon the biscuit dough over the tomato filling, leaving spaces for the tomatoes to steam through. Brush the dough with additional buttermilk. Lightly sprinkle the biscuits with a few flakes of salt. Bake until golden and bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes. Allow the cobbler to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.
2nd Annual Heirloom Tomato Festival, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, noon-5 p.m., White Silo Farm & Winery, 32 Route 37 E, Sherman, 860-355-0271 or 917 699 7355., www.whitesilowinery.com. Features six small plates of food prepared with their farm-grown heirloom tomatoes. Menu: Virgin Bloody Mary served with a mini grilled cheese and pickles, sliced tomato and cucumbers; marinated cherry tomato salad; quinoa and feta stuffed tomatoes; home-made ketchup and baked parmesan steak fries; and fresh tomato sauce and sausage and pasta. Reservations are not required, admission is free. Wine and food purchased for a fee. Live music Saturday and Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m. Free winery and field tours will be held throughout the day. Pets and children welcome to join their parents.
Brewfest at the Beach sponsored by the Rotary Club of New London Sept. 6, 6 -9 p.m., Ocean Beach Park, 1225 Ocean Ave., New London, $25 in advance, $30 at door, proceeds benefit Camp Rotary, a nonprofit camp for New London students. Features tastings of more than 150 beers, brew-friendly food, pizza, chili, wine tasting and live music. Info at newlondonrotary.org. Tickets at https://bit.ly/2Z2f87k.
Hoptoberfest, Sept. 7, 1-5 p.m., Rotary Pavilion at Shelton’s Riverwalk, 100 Canal St., Shelton, $35; $40 at the door. Beer sampling, food from area businesses and live 1980s music from Pop Rocks. Tickets and info facebook.com/SheltonHoptoberfest.
“Chefs of Our Kitchen” presents Rinku Bhattacharya, Chef and Author of “Instant Indian: Classic Foods from Every Region of India Made Easy in the Instant Pot.” Sept. 18, 6:15 reception; 7 p.m. dinner. Gateway Community College, 20 Church St., New Haven, 203-285-2617, $65 includes a signed copy of her book, reception and dinner; benefits Gateway Community College Foundation. Chef Rinku will demonstrate some wonderful recipes from the book, using this popular new kitchen appliance. Validated parking in Temple Street garage. Bring ticket for validation. Tickets at https://bit.ly/2zTfUWf.
Consiglio’s Demonstration Cooking Class: Sept.19 or Sept. 26, 6:30 p.m., Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster St., New Haven, 203-865-4489 (reservations required), $75 (beverages, tax and gratuity not included), https://bit.ly/2Nd0xAg. Menu: Beet Salad with Feta Cheese over Whipped Cauliflower, Shrimp Bisque, NY Strip au Poivre with Chive Compound Butter, Apple Crostada.
Consiglio’s Mystery Dinner Party: “Sour Grapes” Sept. 20, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.), Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster St., New Haven, reservations at 203-865-4489, https://bit.ly/2O3TQzQ, $65 includes dinner and show (beverages, tax and gratuity not included). An interactive comedy show that goes on throughout the evening during a 3-course meal. Cast mingles table to table, dropping clues for a mystery only you can solve. When the matriarch of a winery dynasty dies, the will is read. The folks mentioned are going to be surprised when they hear who gets what! Dress in purple to compete for a prize.
Worth Tasting, culinary walking tour of downtown New Haven, Sept. 21, 10:45 a.m., downtown New Haven, reservations required, 203-415-3519, 203-777-8550, $65. Enjoy tasty samplings from several of New Haven’s favorites. You won’t be hungry after this tour. I will lead this one. Tickets at https://bit.ly/2FjiwMP.