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.


Escarole and Beans

escarole

 

 

Using escarole as your greens in this means that this recipes comes together in about five minutes — that’s how fast the escarole cooks. The salad green also has a nice, soft bitterness and plays well with the beans, making them taste almost sweet. Don’t drain your beans! The liquid provides a creamy sauce. This is absolutely a favorite in our household — it is equally comfortable alongside pan-fried fish, a grilled steak or a hearty stew. If you were to add some sliced grilled sausage to it, you’d make this side into a main course — or just double up on amounts, warm up some crusty bread,  and make it a vegetarian main course. Even small children wanted more when we demoed this at US Botanic Garden in October 2014 so we ramped it up again for Brookside in November 2014.

2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ t salt
½ t pepperescarole
¼ t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3 heads escarole, rough-cut into 2- 3-inch pieces
1 can white cannellini beans
2 T shredded Parmesan

In a large pot heat oil, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes; do not let the garlic brown. Add escarole and cook down slightly. Add beans and bean liquid; turn up heat and cook until liquid begins to take on a syrupy look and beans are heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.


Greek Zucchini Fritters

zucchini fritttersThe zucchini this year has been fantastic. Typically by mid-August borers hidden in the stems of squash plants have done their work almost overnight rendering foliage into wilted into a mass of brownish detritus. The few plants that do withstand a borer invasion rarely survive the onslaught of squash bugs, which spread a fungus that paints plant’s big, coarse leaves with white powder. I measure my success in growing squash in how long I can keep either one of these scourges at bay, and this summer has been a banner one. It might be the cold winter we endured, or our relatively cool summer here in the mid-Atlantic, with far fewer hot and humid days than we typically experience, but whatever the reason, the  zucchini, patty pan and yellow squashes have been coming on abundantly and the plants are showing no signs of stress yet.patty pan Read More


Spring Edamame Soup

edamame

This soup goes together very quickly and begs to be served immediately so the lovely spring vegetables retain their bright green color don’t get overcooked.  If you have leftovers, however, they will still be delicious reheated, if not quite as pretty. Adrienne demoed this at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton MD February 19, 2014.  This soup came from Cuisine magazine’s Splendid Soups special.

2 T olive oil
3 oz diced proscuitto or pancetta
2 C diced leeks
1 T minced garlic
2 t oregano
½ t red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 C white wine
4 C chicken or vegetable broth
3 C frozen shelled edamame
1 C chopped zucchini
1 C chopped asparagus
1/3 C sliced fresh basil
1/4 C chopped fresh mint
1 T lemon juice
salt and pepper
shaved Parmesan or Pecorino
lemon zest

Heat olive oil in a large pot; add diced meat and saute until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.  Add next three ingredients and turn heat down to low-medium; cover pot and cook about 5 minutes until leeks and garlic are soft. Add white wine and cook until nearly evaporated.  Stir in broth, and bring to a boil.  Add edamame, zucchini and asparagus.  Reduce heat and simmer soup until vegetables are just tender. Remove from heat, add reserved proscuitto, basil, mind and lemon juice.  Stir in and taste for seasoning.  Serve immediately, garnished with shaved cheese and lemon zest.


Meyer Lemon Green Beans

meyer lemon beans

Meyer lemons, a cross between a lemon and mandarin orange, are in season for just a short time across the holidays. In this recipe, the sweet-tangy flavor that is unique to these tasty lemons brings a fresh and different dimension to fresh green beans.  The breadcrumb and cheese topping complete the effect, making this one of the best sides of the season. Make extra sauce and topping and keep them in the refrigerator for other green vegetables, including broccoli and asparagus.  Serves 6-8. Adapted from Fine Cooking. Read More