Fall is here, summer is over. I can’t say I’m sad. It wasn’t even a uncomfortably hot summer here this year, but that doesn’t change the appeal of leafpiles, frost and lots and lots of bread in our oven. We had shepherd’s pie tonight for dinner and at the same time Tina and I came to the realization that it wasn’t a summer meal, and that was OK with us.
For whatever reason, there are a few blog-related scraps that never quite reached the level of self-actualization required for their own posts and/or recipes. To throw out one more summer metaphor, they are like the green tomatoes that despite their unblemished and unripened bodies fall off of the vines anyway. Was their fate always the compost pile or was someone just too rough in the garden?
This was a swiss chard galette – seems like it would be good with any kind of leafy green that can withstand some heat (spinach, chard, mustard, dandelion, etc) – it was just basic tart dough, sauteed chard with onions, and some fresh mozzarella on top.
One of the best things to do with pasta in the summer. Cook spaghetti, dice tomatoes, chop a ton of mixed fresh herbs, a little garlic cooked in oil if you want, and mix it all together with olive oil. Toasty bread required.
This was an experiment in homemade mustard that failed spectacularly. I had such high hopes – mustard seeds soaking in vinegar, beer and wine – figured I’d have 3 different mustards with some additional seasonings and a great taste test. Yeah. Because everyone needs to have an out of body experience to share the joy of watching from above as your taste buds melt away from your tongue. Watery poison is what I got. Not giving up though.
These stuffed zucchini didn’t get their own recipe because they didn’t taste very good. We liked the idea of stuffing these baseball shaped guys and the stuffing itself was great – it takes a level of skill beyond our abilities to screw up tomatoes, pesto, croutons and cheese – but the zucchini blew it. They didn’t have that pleasant zucchini taste and the texture was bizarre – somehow managing to be hard and mealy at the same time. Oh well…there was no one there to stop us from eating the filling and leaving the rest.
One of my favorite childhood food memories is the simple dish of fat tomato slices with a blob of mayo and some basil. It’s just perfect. These were good tomatoes, but they weren’t the best we’ve had (the good ones really just showed up in our garden in the past couple weeks…just in time to DIE). Accompanying them, a shadow moving across the plate, a carrot that looks disturbingly out of place and some homemade chips with fresh herbs (more fun with the mandoline.)
First attempt at some quasi-pickled hot peppers. There were recipes out there with any possible ratio of water and vinegar, so that wasn’t much help. I figured 50/50 was a good place to start and these came out great. 50/50 water and vinegar brought to boil, added some green peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander and a TB or so each of salt and sugar. Right into the fridge. Makes a serious addition to any sandwich (yes, that includes fluffernutters.)
Grilled fish…it always sounds so good. It always ends up with stinky grill grates covered in charred trout skin. This was no exception and it’s no accident that there’s no post-shot here. The pretty uncooked trout with limes and cilantro is all you’re going to get. Actually there’s the sauce too:
It was a twisted, pureed salsa verde (cilantro, parsley, lime, lemon and garlic) – it was good and will be back again…maybe even in that whisky glass.
The trout that did make it off the grill was actually pretty good…tips for grilling fish anyone?
Finally, a great use for any lingering tomatoes (works best with romas/plum) – half them, spread them out on a sheet pan, toss with oil and s/p – herbs and garlic if you want, and roast them as slowly as you feel like it. Freeze them and save for winter. Or make a pizza or tart out of them. Whiz them up into sauce. It works great with grape/cherry tomatoes left whole.