Monday, August 31, 2009

A Little Taste of Late Summer

I was thinking last night, as I was cooking a little feast for my family just for the fun of it, that I wish I could bottle up the smells of my summer kitchen to send over the internet to my far away readers. I've been whipping up delicious showcase entrees using the freshest of the fresh veggies from my garden and our CSA farm. It is so very delightful! Here's a few recipes from last night:

Eggplant and Summer Vegetable Gratin

olive oil
2 lbs globe eggplant, preferably on the small size, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds
2 large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large bell pepper
2-3 large, ripe tomatoes, skinned and seeded and chopped
10 basil leaves, chopped
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
sausage or other meat (optional)

Oil the eggplant slices and roast in a 425 oven for about 30 minutes, flipping over halfway through. Remove from oven and salt and pepper. Turn the oven down to 325. Meanwhile, saute the onion in 3 tbsp olive oil until it wilts. Add the garlic, stir for a moment, and add the bell pepper and tomato. Cook for a while, stirring every once in a while, until it forms a jam. Turn off the heat and stir in the basil. Layer the eggplant and tomato sauce in thirds in a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Cover and bake at 325 for 45 minutes. Moisten the breadcrumbs in olive oil and mix with the parmesan. Uncover the gratin and add the breadcrumb/cheese mixture and bake uncovered for another 25 minutes.

Pear Almond Pudding

1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

4 ripe but firm pears, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
Crumble topping: 3 tbsp. butter, 1/4 c sugar, 1/2 cup flour, pinch of salt, cinnamon to taste, 1/2 cup chopped almonds, all mixed together.

Mix the first set of ingredients in a blender or with an immersion blender. Place the sliced pears in a 2 quart dish. Pour the pudding liquid mixture over the pears. Top with the crumble. Bake at 325 for approximately 50 minutes, until golden and puffed all over. Serve warm with whipped cream...mmmm.

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