Summer days…driftin’ away

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local Newsletter, 9/13/2017

I felt the first chill in the air while I was camping in Door County last week, and I thought with dismay that we’re closer to the end of summer than the beginning. Speaking of Door County, although I love outdoor cooking and would have loved to make some things with Bob’s beautiful veggies and get a few photos, it rained the entire time we were there. We managed a few hikes between the raindrops but no food photos. That means this first recipe comes to you without a photo.

MOROCCAN EGGPLANT PARMESAN

Slice eggplant into 1/8-1/4″ slices, salt and leave covered overnight in the refrigerator in a colander over a bowl to catch moisture. When you’re ready to make the dish, drain and pat the eggplant dry, then deep fry until golden brown and set aside. In a baking pan, layer the following in this order, at least two rounds:

  • Chickpeas
  • Fried eggplant
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Onions, sliced
  • Slivered spinach
  • Sliced green olives
  • Capers
  • Feta cheese (just with first set of layers)
  • Mozzarella (to top off after second set of layers)
  • Grated Parmesan

Bake the dish for 40 minutes in a conventional oven or until the mozzarella is bubbly and has brown spots. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Variations: You can spread whole sliced pita across the bottom of the pan before beginning the layers to absorb the juices if you wish, serving the pita along with the “slices” of Moroccan Eggplant Parmesan — or serve with garlic bread to soak up the juices. You can also leave off the cheese for a vegan version. The fried mozzarella makes the dish plenty “rich.”

ROASTED RADISHES

There are so many things to do with the humble radish, from vegetable art to pickles to salads to colorful salads of all kinds to creamy pink soups. One of the simplest things you can do is roast them for a colorful side dish or garnish to bring a platter of veggies to life.

STUFFED BELL PEPPER

I make stuffed peppers two ways: with the mushroom and rice filling I shared with you a few weeks back for cabbage rolls, my go-to stuffed veggie filling, or with Israeli couscous (pre-cooked) mixed with loads of (vegan) pesto. For the mushroom and rice filling (red and green bell peppers), I made a sauce with leftover tomato soup (pureed tomato, onion, a bit of fresh, peeled ginger, salt and hot paprika to taste). I pureed into the soup some cooked red bell pepper to brighten the color and create a more complex flavor. I made a straight tomato sauce for the couscous and pesto filled peppers (yellow). I always oil and roast the veggie I’m stuffing first until it’s almost as tender as I’d like it and perhaps just a bit browned. Then I add the filling to it — and set it on a bed of the sauce. Don’t those look pretty?

Here’s a hint: I’m not sure what color peppers we’ll get this week, but choose veggies for your soup/sauce that will compliment the color of the pepper.

So coming this week in addition to the eggplant, radishes and peppers, I hear we have sweet corn (can’t get enough of it at my house), Swiss chard, Mizuna, onions, tomatoes and maybe a little lettuce. Remember, any radishes you have left – or onions or greens make a great stir fry! Happy eating in these late summer days.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

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