Homestyle Chunky Tomato Sauce

Makes 1½ cups

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ large sweet onion or 1 small yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)

2 large garlic cloves, minced

3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced (about 3 cups diced, OR substitute 1-28oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes)

¼ cup fresh basil leaves, minced OR 1 tablespoon dried

¼ cup fresh oregano, minced OR 1 tablespoon dried

¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (about 6) – optional

½ teaspoon sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Stir in the diced tomatoes and increase heat to high-medium to bring to a low boil. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered, until most of the water cooks off. Watch closely, reducing heat if necessary and stirring often. Add sun-dried tomatoes (if using) into a food processor along with a ladle of the tomato sauce. Process until mostly smooth. Stir this mixture back into the tomato sauce in the pot. Stir in the minced basil, oregano, salt, and pepper, and optional red pepper flakes to taste. Continue cooking until thickened to your liking and then remove from heat. Serve sauce over a bed of cooked pasta noodles, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash noodles or diced butternut squash.


Harvest Ratatouille with Bacon

Nothing says Mediterranean more than the classic ratatouille. This spin on an old favorite, amped up with chunks of crispy thick bacon, make it a robust meal.

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1 medium-sized eggplant (about 1½ lbs)

2 T olive oil

3-4 medium zucchini (or yellow squash or both, about 1½lbs), thickly sliced

1½ lbs. tomatoes, skin removed and roughly chopped

1 medium sweet bell pepper, largely diced

1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia, chopped

12oz. thick cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T Herbs de Provence

Sea salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 425. Peel strips of the eggplant skin from top to bottom, leaving about an inch between each peel. Cut eggplant into large chunks . (If you prefer to leave the peel on, that’s fine, and likewise, removing it entirely is fine). Transfer the eggplant on to a cookie sheet, salt lightly and drizzle with olive oil. Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 20 minutes.

 

While the eggplant is cooking, heat a Dutch oven (or a large deep skillet) and sauté the bacon until fairly crisp. Transfer pieces to a bowl. If there is more than 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings left in the pan, pour off the excess. Add the onion, garlic and peppers into the Dutch oven. Cook until lightly softened, add the zucchini and Herbs de Provence. Cook the zucchini until it begins to soften, about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil, drop in the tomatoes to release the skin. Rinse immediately in cold water and peel the skin from the tomatoes. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, transfer them to the Dutch oven and cook for about 5 minutes.

 

Remove the eggplant from the oven, add it to the Dutch oven; add the bacon pieces. Let the ratatouille cook together another 20 minutes; adjust the seasoning for salt and pepper. At this point the ratatouille can sit in the Dutch oven off the heat for several hours, allowing the flavors to meld. Serves 6-8.

 

 


Caramelized Onion Tart “Tatin”

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For best results, bake this in a well-seasoned cast-iron pan. Let it cool slightly before flipping the pan over and easing out the tatin. Serve as a first course or as a main course with salad and cheese for a vegetarian meal. Adrienne made this in a class at Brookside Gardens in May 2016.

2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1.5# boiler onions, peeled and slice in half around the middle
2 T brown sugar
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 C crumbled goat cheese
1 (8 oz.) sheet puff pastry

Preheat oven to 400°. In a 10-inch cast-iron or other oven-proof pan, melt butter with olive oil. Place onion cut-side down in hot fat and cook until onions are soft and turning brown, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine sugar and balsamic, stir to incorporate. Add to onions and let sizzle until they caramelize, about one to two minutes. Remove from heat and let the pan and onions cool about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle 3/4 of the cheese over the onions. Roll out the pastry dough gently and press over the cheese. Prick lightly with a fork. Bake 25 minutes, or until pastry is golden and filling bubbles up around the edge. Set aside for a few minutes, then invert on a plate and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


Black Bean Chili with Citrus

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A lot of chili recipes tend toward darker flavor enhancers — expresso coffee or chocolate, or both, for a mole twist. This one takes a different approach with the addition of orange juice and it makes for a lighter, brighter chili — great as a summer chili, but also a delicious at this time of the year when citrus is abundant. This is vegetarian, but shredded chicken would certainly work well in it if you’re looking for a bit more protein. Have fun with this recipe — add sweet potatoes in the winter, and in the summer, liven it up with fresh chopped tomatoes, corn and crisp zucchini.

4 C dried black beans
2½ quarts (10 cups) water
2-3 fresh sprigs oregano, or 1 T dried
3 bay leaves
6 small or 3 large sage leaves
1 t salt
4 T olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
2 chopped peppers – bell pepper, Anaheim, or jalapeño (your choice, depending on taste for heat), seeds, stems and ribs discarded
6 cloves crushed garlic
2 T chili powder
1-2 t puréed chipotle in adobo, chipotle Tabasco, or chipotle powder (to taste)
1 T cumin, (crushed whole toasted cumin seed is best, if possible)
1 C orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
2 T rice wine vinegar
salt to taste

Garnish:

Sour cream
Chopped cilantro
Lime wedges
Avocado wedges

Rinse and sort the beans, discarding any stones or shriveled beans. You can soak the beans overnight in cold water (cover with several inches of water) OR pour enough boiling water over them to cover by a few inches and soak them for an hour OR skip the pre-soaking step. Soaking will speed up the cooking process. Add beans to a large pot with water. Add oregano, bay leaves, sage and salt. Bring the beans to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are soft, but not quite done. The time will vary depending on how large, dry, or old your beans are, and if you have pre-soaked them, from anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.

While the beans are cooking, sauté onions and peppers in olive oil until soft. Add chili powder, chili purée, cumin, and garlic. Sauté until spices are fragrant. Remove from heat. When the beans are cooked, fish out and discard the bay leaves, stems of oregano, and sage leaves from the pot. Remove, but reserve, extra cooking liquid until there is about ½ inch of liquid above beans. Add the onion mixture and salt to the pot of beans. Cook another hour or so until thickened. Add reserved liquid if needed. Add half of the orange juice, and simmer. Adjust chili heat at this point – you may or may not want to add more of your chili paste. Just before serving, add remaining orange juice, lime juice, and vinegar. Salt to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with corn tortillas, and/or rice, and garnishes.

 


Gratin of White Bean, Zucchini, Tomato

white bean gratin

We first posted this recipe three years ago, after it had become a perennial favorite in our households. A go-to for using up summer zucchini, this gratin is hearty enough to satisfy winter appetites. The zucchini can be replaced with delicata or butternut, but you’ll have to increase the cooking time. The gratin also could be assembled and baked in the oven for about 30 minutes before being broiled.  We demoed this for USBG as part of our January heirloom bean theme; we used fresh dried beans rather than canned ones. The original recipe came from The Washington Post so many years ago they don’t have it in their archives any more!

3 T olive oil
3 zucchini, cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 ½ C canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
2 T fresh thyme
4 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 15-oz can white beans – cannellini, navy or great northern, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 C shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat a skillet and add olive oil; when oil is hot, add zucchini and saute over medium-high heat until lightly browned; remove with slotted spoon and reserve.  Add onion and garlic, turn heat down, cover and cook gently, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, five minutes, until onion is soft and translucent.  Add tomatoes, bring to a simmer, cook another five minutes.  Add thyme, basil, beans and zucchini.  Simmer five minutes, taste for seasoning.  Pour mixture into a gratin dish and top with shredded cheese. Place gratin under pre-heated broiler five minutes or until cheese is lightly brown and melted.  Serve immediately.