This is easily one of my favorite seasonal meals. It’s a mix of just about every summer veggie I can get my hands on, topped with zesty grilled chicken. AND it’s a great way to throw something together out of all the odds and ends of your CSA share at the end of summer. If there are certain vegetables you prefer more than others, I encourage you to tailor the recipe to your tastes. Particularly as the seasonal offerings change, you can make substitutions based on what’s available. No matter what, I promise you’ll be coming back for seconds! End-of-summer Fiesta Salad By Holly Rodricks Makes 4 servings. Ingredients: Quick Chicken Marinate – 2-3 Chicken Breasts (or 1.5 – 2 lbs. chicken or other poultry), cut into tender-sized strips 1 tsp. Onion Powder 1 tsp. Garlic Powder 1 tsp. dried Oregano 1 tsp. dried Basil 3/4 tsp. Salt 3/4 tsp. Pepper 1/3 cup White Wine* 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice (Optional) 1 tbsp. Olive Oil Grilled Veggies – 3-4 Zucchini, sliced diagonally lengthwise into long, flat pieces 3-4 Colored Bell Peppers, seeded and quartered Any other veggies of choice that you enjoy grilled Olive Oil Salt and Pepper to taste Salad – 1 bag Spring Mix (or 1 head Lettuce, chopped) 1 small Cucumber, sliced 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, halved, or 1 Heirloom Tomato, chopped bite-sized 1 Avocado, sliced (optional) 1 cup Black Beans, canned or cooked 1/2 cup Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded Salsa of choice Instructions: Mix all marinate ingredients together and allow to sit for 5 minutes until dried herbs re-hydrate a bit. Add Chicken to marinate and toss to evenly coat. Allow to sit for a minimum of 20-30 minutes, or as along as a full day. (I like to get the Chicken in the marinate in the morning before heading out for the day, and grill it when I’m home for dinner.) While Chicken is marinating, toss Zucchini and Colored Peppers in olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover and let sit for as long as Chicken marinates. Grill marinated Chicken and vegetables. When done, set aside to cook slightly. Fill salad bowls with Spring Mix and layer with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Avocados, and Black Beans. Sprinkle with Monterrey Jack Cheese. Slice cooled Chicken and grilled veggies into thin strips and lay over salad. Top with heaping spoonful of Salsa and enjoy! *If you don’t have any White Wine on hand, substitute equal parts Vinegar and Water adding up to 1/3 cup and add 1 tsp. Sugar.
Starting to wonder what to do with all this summer squash? Our good friend and former NYC Chef Elias Kushner, now calls CNY home, and he has just the answer – Summer Ratatouille! Learn more about Elias and his food adventures on his website, What’s Edible, and follow him on Instagram! Summer Ratatouille By Elias Kushner, What’s Edible Makes 4 servings. Ingredients: 2 1/2 tbsp. Olive Oil 4 Cloves of Garlic – sliced thinly 1/4 tsp. Chili Flakes 2 medium to large Tomatoes, diced 1 small Onion, sliced thickly 1 Zucchini or Yellow Squash, diced finely 1 Cubanelle Pepper, sliced thinly in short pieces 1 large or 2 small Japanese Eggplants, diced (Optional) 2 tbsp. fresh Basil, roughly chopped 2 tbsp. fresh Oregano, roughly chopped 2 tsp. + 1 pinch Salt Black Pepper to taste Instructions: Heat Olive Oil in a large, tall-sided pan or stew pot over a medium-low heat. Add Garlic, Chili Flakes, and pinch of Salt and cook, stirring frequently until aromatic. Add Tomatoes and stir until combined. Cook on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. Add Onions and stir. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Add Squash, Eggplant, Pepper, Salt, and Black Pepper and stir. Simmer on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes or until liquid has thickened. Enjoy.
Flour City Pasta has done it again! Jon Stadt brings us yet another seasonal recipe that pairs grilled eggplant and homemade herb relish – a twist on traditional pesto – with his tomato basil fettuccine to create a combination of flavors that capture the essence of summer. Grilled Eggplant & Garden Pesto with Tomato Basil Fettucine By Jon Stadt, Flour City Pasta Makes 4 servings. Ingredients: Herb Relish – 1 lb. Tomato Basil Fettuccine (Learn more about where to buy Jon’s delicious pasta here.) 2 cups fresh Parsley leaves 1/2 cup fresh Mint leaves 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh Oregano 3 Green Onions, chopped 2 tbsp. Capers 3 tbsp. Pine Nuts 1 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar 2 tbsp. Olive Oil 5 tbsp. Water Salt and Pepper to Taste Eggplant – 2 Eggplants, sliced 1 tbsp. Olive Oil Salt and Pepper to taste Instructions: Cook pasta for 6-8 minutes. While Pasta is cooking, puree all relish ingredients in blender. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. Brush Eggplant with oil and sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Grill or cook in large skillet over medium-high heat, 3-4 minutes per side. Place warm Pasta in serving dish and top with Eggplant and Pasta. Additional Suggestions: To add a little extra flavor, whisk a couple tablespoons of Pesto in with the Olive Oil and use to marinate Eggplant slices for 1 hour before grilling. Try substituting or adding sliced, grilled Zucchini or Summer Squash to replace or complement the Eggplant. When tossing warm Pasta with Pesto, mix in one medium-sized diced Tomato, to add a pop of flavor and color.
Last weekend, I visited Lockwood Lavender Farm during the Finger Lakes Lavender Festival and left with several fresh bouquets to dry at home. I arranged them into bundles, rubber-banded the stems, hooked jumbo paperclips through the rubber bands, and hung them off the utility shelf in my kitchen closet. Who knew you could do so much with a paperclip and a rubber band? Don’t fret! Such fun isn’t only reserved for lavender. Below are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way to stretch as much use as possible out of those big, beautiful bunches of herbs that come home with us from the farm. Treat fresh herbs like flowers. No, this is not a joke. You will routinely find vases of herbs around my little home in the summertime, and they make quite a fine substitution. All you need to do is collect the herbs into a little bundle, removing any leaves that would rest beneath the water. Trim the stems, and place your lovely arrangement in a vase. Place in a well-lit area at room temperature, and enjoy the lovely scents. Change the water regularly, continuing to trim the ends as needed and removing any soggy leaves that have crept under the water line. I’ve kept bunches of oregano fresh for cooking this way for three weeks! Wrap herbs in paper towels inside a sealed zip-lock bag, and store in the fridge. This approach is pretty straightforward. As long as the herbs are in a nice, moist, cool environment, they have quite a bit of longevity – up to 2 weeks! If you’re not a fan of herbal bouquets, this might be a better approach for you. Dry herbs for use all year long. It’s amazing how much money we spend on those little bottles of dried herbs when home-preserving is so remarkably easy. If you purchase a bundle of herbs so big that you couldn’t possibly consume it in a few weeks’ time, separate a portion. Rinse the leaves and allow them to air-dry on a clean towel. Collect all the stems into a bunch. For herbs with woodier stems, secure them with a rubber band. For more delicate stems, secure with string or dental floss. Then, hang that little bundle upside down in a dark area, like a closet, that isn’t too humid. (No basements for this kitchen experiment.) Herbs usually take approximately 2 weeks to dry, sometimes longer. You’ll know they’re done when they crumble at the touch. At this point, you can either crumble the leaves off the stems and store them in an airtight jar as is or use a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle for smaller, more even pieces.