Thursday, September 16, 2010

How to Eat at Summer's End

Somewhere along the way, I forgot to keep taking photos of my farmers market hauls, but I've still been bringing home bags of produce and finding time to cook despite my newly busy schedule. This time of year, I like to focus on tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, which in past summers, I would have grilled and turned into caponata. Lacking a grill has required me to get a little more creative this year. Below are some dishes I've enjoyed in the past couple weeks, showing how seasonal vegetable driven meals can be as lazy or as complex as you have the time and inclination for.

For a still hot summer night when you don't feel like cooking:
Deconstructed cheese and tomato sandwiches

Top one cube of Bread Alone organic baguette with one slice of Bobolink grass fed cheddar and one cherry tomato (preferably from a mother's garden) and pop in mouth. Chase with a sip of Troegs Sunshine Pils.

For a cooler late summer Sunday when you have time for a cooking project, so that you can eat quick meals with little prep later in the week:
Roasted red pepper hummus

Cook a large batch of dried chickpeas, let cool, drain, and apportion into jars in freezer for future meals. Also roast two or three red peppers until blackened on each side, remove skins, slice into strips, and marinate in olive oil and garlic in refrigerator. Either that day or sometime in the next week, prepare the hummus - thaw one jar of cooked chickpeas, and blend in food processor with 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, a generous stream of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of tahini, juice of 1/2 lemon, and a sprinkling of crushed hot pepper. Serve this special sweet and spicy hummus with warmed pita as an appetizer or as a dinner for one.

For a cool evening when you have time to make a more complicated dinner, company to help, and/or a desire for leftovers:
Eggplant parmesan sandwiches

Slice one large eggplant into thin rounds. Salt heavily and let drain in colander for 30-60 minutes, rinse, and dry with paper or cloth towels. Dredge eggplant in a bowl of beaten egg and then in a plate of homeground breadcrumbs. Fry in a shallow layer of hot oil until browned on each side. As you dredge and fry, have a helper remove the cooked eggplant from the pan and layer it in a baking dish with homemade tomato sauce and grated parmesan cheese. Warm in oven for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted, alongside slices of Amy's rustic Italian bread drizzled with olive oil. Plate sandwiches, enjoy with a red wine, and remember to thank your helper for doing the dishes.


  1. Um... Yeah. I'll take one of those eggplant parm sandwiches. Thanks.

  2. when i was in india i ate cheese and tomato sandwiches for lunch everyday!

  3. Oh my god, that eggplant cheezy thing looks amazing! So does the hummus, but a little too time-consuming for my tastes.