If you have access to fresh vegetables the flood gates have been opened. We’ve been fortunate at our office, it is in the sticks after-all, to have an abundance of produce for the taking. The office has taken it on as a special project and are diligently keeping the conference table stocked with cucumbers, eggplant, squash, peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini. If you have a vegetable garden or have connections to the gardens of your friends and family, you may have already exhausted your dinner possibilities and want a few new ideas. Here are a few recipes from the EverGreen Landscape staff recipe books. Quite of few of them have made it to our lunch table and have been quite the topic of conversation.
Chicken and Vegetable Stuffed Acorn Squash
• 1 acorn squash cut in half with seeds removed
• 2 slices of sweet onion chopped
• 1/2 of a small-medium zucchini chopped
• 1/2 of a red bell pepper – chopped
• 2 oz of cooked chicken – chopped
• 1 tsp dried cumin
• 1 tsp chili powder
• 1 tbsp salsa
• 1 Mini-Babybel Light
• Dried Cilantro for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place one of the racks on the lowest setting. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Lay the squash cut side down, slice off the top to help stabilize it when turned over.
Place the squash on the lowest rack to help caramelize the flesh. Roast for 10-15 minutes, then turn the squash over, sprinkle with a little salt, and move to the center rack.
Roast for 10 more minutes or until the flesh is soft to the touch.
While the squash is in the oven, sauté the onion, zucchini, and peppers in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Let the veggies get scorched a bit by leaving it alone on the heat for 30 seconds to a minute and then toss. This adds TONS of flavor.
Once the veggies are soft and browning, add the chicken, cumin, chili powder and salsa. Toss and cook for a few more minutes, allowing all the flavors to merge.
Pile the chicken and veggies into each squash half, it will be a lot, so you have to pack it in there.
Cut the Mini-Babybel Light into small pieces and scatter them on top of the stuffing.
Return to oven until cheese melts, approximately 5 minutes.
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic
• 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1/2 teaspoon oregano
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 large tomatoes, seeded, coarsely chopped
• 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
• 1/2 red onion, peeled, chopped
• 1 bell pepper, seeded, coarsely chopped
• 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
• A heaping half cup crumbled feta cheese
1. Whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, and oregano together until blended. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Re-whisk before using.)
2. Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, bell pepper, olives in a bowl. Toss with dressing. Sprinkle cheese over and serve.
Yield: Serves 6.
4 medium zucchini
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
3/4 cups dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese
Trim ends of zucchini; place in a steamer basket. In a saucepan, bring 1 in. of water to a boil; add basket. Cover and steam for 5 minutes. When zucchini is cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-in. shell. Set pulp aside.
In a bowl, beat the egg; add spinach, bread crumbs, tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and zucchini pulp. Spoon into zucchini shells.
Place in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes. Top each with tomatoes and Swiss cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 8 servings.
Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 roasted red peppers, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 (28-ounce) cans plum tomatoes and their juices, crushed with your hands
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
1 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Honey, to taste
5 cups fresh dried breadcrumbs (made from dried day-old bread)
Butter, for greasing the dish
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons water
2 to 3 medium eggplants (about 2 1/4-pounds), cut into 1/2-inch-thick round slices (need about 18 slices)
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Vegetable oil, for frying
Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce
12 ounces grated mozzarella (not fresh), plus1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
12 ounces grated fontina
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
Fresh basil leaves, torn
For the Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Sauce:
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the red peppers and cook for 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth. Return the mixture back to the pot, add the parsley, basil and oregano and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes longer and season with honey, if needed.
For the Eggplant:
To dry out the bread crumbs:
Preheat the oven to 300 degree F.
Evenly spread the bread crumbs on a large baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 5 minutes, turn the oven off and let the bread crumbs sit in the oven for 30 minutes or until just dry.
Raise the temperature of the oven up to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 15 by 10 by 2-inch baking dish and set aside.
Place the bread crumbs into a large shallow bowl. Add the herbs, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. In another medium shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and 2 tablespoons of water together.
Season each eggplant slice on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge each eggplant slice in the flour, tapping off excess, then dip it in the egg, and finally dredge it in the bread crumb mixture. Shake off any excess breading and transfer the egg plant to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
Heat 1/2-inch of oil in 2 large straight-sided saute pans over medium heat until the oil reaches a temperature of 385 degrees F. Working in small batches, fry a few of the eggplant slices, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining eggplant.
Cover the bottom of the prepared baking dish with some of the tomato sauce and arrange 1/2 of the eggplant over the sauce. Cover the eggplant with some of the sauce, grated mozzarella, fontina, Romano cheese and some of the basil. Repeat to make 3 layers ending with the sauce. Top with the fresh mozzarella and remaining Romano and bake until hot and just beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.