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.


Savory Crustless Popovers

iStock_000015641199Large
3 eggs
2/3 C half and half
½ C plain lowfat yogurt
1 T unsalted butter, melted
1/3 C flour
½ t salt
4 oz. mild cheddar, shredded
2 T each fresh parsley and chives, finely chopped (or other herbs of your choice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together the eggs, half and half, yogurt and butter. Add the flour and salt, stir in the cheddar and herbs. Fill greased ramekins or mini-muffin tins until 3/4 full, and bake for 20 minutes, or until set, puffy and lightly brown on top. Let popovers cool at least 10 minutes before unmolding (they will fall slightly, this is normal!). Gently invert to unmold. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 12 standard muffins.


Killer Gaspacho

 

 

Three years ago we posted this. It’s such a summer favorite that we made it again at US Botanic Garden this week. It takes advantage of the abundance of summer produce, hits the spot on warm evenings. Summer in a bowl. This soup is at its best when all prep is done by hand, rather than processed.  Veggies can be chopped in a processor, but you have to do them in small batches to get the rights consistency and be very careful not to over-process. Demoed by Adrienne July 23 2015.

2 small or one large avocado
2# tomatoes
1 small red onion
1 peeled and seeded cucumber
½ red pepper
½ orange or yellow pepper
2 stalks celery
1½ quarts vegetable juice, chilled
¼ C red wine vinegar
½ C olive oil
1 t Tabasco
2 t Worcestershire
Juice of one lemon or lime (more to taste)
salt & pepper to taste (you don’t need much at all)

Prepare avocado by slicing in half and removing seed; dice the flesh and gently scoop it out of its shell into a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Finely dice all remaining veggies and add to bowl. Add veggie juice and seasonings. Chill and serve. Gets better as it sits in the refrigerator. Will keep up to one week.

Serves many.


Triple Squash Soup

squash

 

The back story on this post, which pulls out a recipe from the archives (Danielle demoed this at Brookside and USBG this year ago) is that Adrienne discovered a (new) squash: Butterkin. Daughter Evangeline, coming in from Boston, wanted to try a pumpkin galette as a hardy vegetarian main course for our family gathering yesterday around Danielle’s table in her Washington DC home. The recipe (stay tuned) called for pumpkins but Evangeline wanted to make it with butternut. The shape wasn’t working however, so off we went to find small pumpkins that would work better. And there, in the hard-squash bins, was a Butterkin — butterkina cross between pumpkin and butternut! So lovely to look at — the skin the nut-color of butternut, the inside flesh like a persimmon — and the perfect size.

So how do we get to the soup? Well, there was quite a bit left over after the galette was executed.  But that wasn’t all. At the farmer’s market earlier in the week, Adrienne fell under the spell of some gorgeous striped squash, which she mistook for Delicata — the vendor concurred as to its pedigree, so her mistake was not entirely without reason. After battling mightily with the squash in an unsuccessful attempt to slice it, she realized the squash was actually an acorn, albeit pale gold with lovely multi-hued stripes, not unlike the skin of Delicata. Well, the two are not interchangeable, especially in the Sweet and Sour Delicata recipe Adrienne was making for the T’G table, so the hard-shelled acorn squash ended up in the crisper, along with the leftover Butterkin. Lo, we have the ingredients for Triple Squash Soup (counting Butterkin as two squashes in one).  This soup is a nice extension of the glories of the Thursday feast, but light enough to merit space on the Friday or Saturday table — or any time during the winter, for that matter.

1 (about 3 lbs.) small pie pumpkin
1 (about 1½ – 1¾ lbs.) acorn squash
1 (about 1½ – 2 lbs.) butternut squash
1 medium onion, chopped
1 apple, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2½ teaspoon curry powder
¼ t cayenne
1 can lite coconut milk
4-6 cups vegetable broth
Salt to taste

Roast the squash: cut each squash in half, put face down on a cookie sheet, add about 1 cup of water to the pan. Roast in 375̊ oven for 40-50 minutes, until soft. Cool, remove seeds, scrape flesh from half of each squash into a bowl and set aside. You want to yield about 2½- 3 lbs. of flesh. (This step can be done up to three days in advance)

Make the soup: heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in a large stock pot, sauté the onions until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, cayenne and apple, stir well and let cook two or three minutes. Add the squash and broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Add coconut milk, honey and continue simmering for another 30-45 minutes, until all ingredients are very soft. Puree the soup, with a hand-help machine, a blender, or pureeing in batches with a food processor. Adjust taste for salt. Garnish with paprika.  Serves 6-8.


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


Tomato Essence

tomato essenceTomato Essence is actually the clear or nearly clear liquid that is the real juice of the tomato.  What we typically know as tomato juice is actually pureed tomatoes, often thinned with water.  But if you strain tomato chunks through cheesecloth for several hours, what comes out is Tomato Essence, a liquid that has such deliciously pure tomato flavor you’ll want to spoon up every drop.  This liquid can be used on its own, as a soup, spiced with salt and pepper, drizzled with fruity olive oil and garnished with finely diced tomatoes and cucumbers and basil chiffonnade, all thoroughly chilled, for an elegant first course.  Or you can use Tomato Essence to dress a salad, per the recipe below.  Adrienne demoed this for a class at Brookside July 16 2014. Read More


Spring Vegetables Over Rustic Pasta

pasta primevera

 

 

We demoed this delightful pasta dish last week on “Recipes from the Chef’s Kitchen,” a cooking show hosted by Lindsey Gustin on Fairfax Public Access television.  The ragout takes advantage of early spring vegetables and herbs and burst with flavor.  Baby carrots, turnips and even radishes should be available at farmers markets in the next few weeks.  Sugar snaps and fresh garden peas will start appearing in supermarkets by late April and at area markets by mid-May.   You also can use frozen peas or edamame. If you can’t find baby turnips or carrots, trim down mature versions so they are bite-sized.  Organic carrots and turnips tend to have more flavor.   We made this for the folks at USBG April 3, 2014 and again at Brookside April 16, 2014. The recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking. Read More