Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Yummy recipes for that autumn harvest of zucchini, basil, tomatoes and squash

I had to take a break from Operation Simplify and Purge to purge my garden and fridge of some of the garden goodies before they start to spoil. It is that time of year again when the zucchini are plentiful and the tomatoes abundant. Now what to do with them?

One thing I discovered the past weeks was Caprese salad. I was at a play date where the hostess made a great dip from chopped tomatoes, pesto and mozzarella. The flavors combined were so fantastic that I could not get enough and asked for the recipe. A few days later, a friend brought a salad to my house comprised of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella... again, it was fantastic. Those 3 ingredients are so simple, but just work so well when you add a little salt, pepper and olive oil. It was only as I was researching the recipes that I discovered that these were variations of a Caprese salad (which is now my new favorite food!) Anyhow, this is my take that I came up with...

Insalata Caprese Bruschetta

2 large red or yellow tomatoes, chopped
1/2 pound Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, drained, sliced
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 loaf favorite italian bread, sliced

• I whisked the vinegar and oil in a large bowl. I then added tomatoes, basil and mozzarella and let set. As that was sitting, I put bread slices in a 350 degree oven for 3-4 minutes (right on the rack) I did not brush the bread with olive oil before toasting, as the basil mixture adds a lot of moisture and flavor after.
• I then removed the toast and added my basil mixture on top and put back in the oven for minute or 2 to melt the mozzarella slightly. It is sooo delicious with a dab of salt and fresh cracked pepper on top.

Now, to use those tomatoes...
Fresh Garden Salsa
2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 red onion chopped (I chop really fine)
2 green onions
3 garlic cloves minced (add more to taste- I use A LOT of garlic)
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro chopped
3 tbsp. red or white wine vinegar
1 tbsp. lime juice

This is easy, just chop all ingredients, mix and throw in a jar. It will refrigerate well for 3 days and contains way less sodium than store bought (and tastes way better!)

Although I have not tried it yet, a friend that is an amazing cook, gave me this recipe for my zucchini stash:

Zippy Zucchini
4 zucchinis, thinly sliced
1 cup buttermilk baking mix
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive oil
4 eggs, beaten
2-4 tbsp minced garlic
Optional: splash of Tabasco

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
• In a medium size mixing bowl combine zucchini, buttermilk baking mix, onion, parmesan cheese, salt, oil, eggs. Spread lightly into a 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

An absolute favorite in the autumn for me is butternut squash soup. This is the recipe I use. (And don't forget the cinnamon croutons!)

All of your autumn harvest will mix fantastic with pasta, and this recipe is delicious for that.

Don't forget my favorite zucchini bread recipe.

I hope you are having as much fun cooking as I am, although this ridiculous 90 degree weather is keeping the kitchen way too hot for comfort.

1 comment:

  1. this all sounds SO good!

    I have an old cookbook of my grandmothers that only has carrot and zuke recipes in it. I should go through it tonight and figure out something different to make!

    My mom makes zucchini boats, she hollows out a zucchini and makes some sort of stuffing that she puts in the boats and bakes them.