Fresh fruits and veggies abound! For a bit longer anyway. This time of year with an Indian summer probably in full swing in your neck of the woods, you can pretty much eat anything from the garden and feel good about it. If feeling good for you means eating seasonal, that is. There is something about fruits and veg still warm from the end of summer sunshine that make my taste buds sing a pitchy but none the less rejoicing Jeff Buckley Hallelujah in my mouth.
Seasonal eating = happy planet = delicious and fresh food = good person. (Insert smiley face emoji here!)
Maybe you are ready for the shift to sweet potatoes, pumpkin spice everything (literally, ew,) warm spicy soups and baked goods and casseroles. I am, too. I hear you. We all crave the transition because it is time. It is September for pete’s sake! Before you do go down that inevitable path, here is a final menu to take advantage of those poor zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes and figs that know they have overstayed their welcome on the produce aisle, but who deserve a final hurrah just the same. And as a final note, all of these recipes are minimal ingredient, minimal effort which is my style of cooking I might add. I so hope you enjoy!
Tomatoes- THE Tomato Sandwich
Have you seen the heirlooms at the market lately? I could die. They are so beautiful and the taste of heirloom tomatoes is like nothing else. So my recommendation for eating late summer tomatoes? Be a southerner. Take a slice of bread (here it is white bread, but take your pick of whatever type tickles your fancy.) Slather some kind of mayo-nayo-whatever tasting mayo’ish spread you can muster. Slice tomato thickly and adorn your mayo-bread with its ruby red or sunshine yellow brilliance. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and voila: THE best sandwich hands down known to man.
Figs- Burrata, Figs & Honey
This might be a little TMI, but my second son was conceived in Montalcino, Italy. On a yoga retreat. Yep, TMI. You can’t say I didn’t warn you! With that said, this particular dish holds a VERY special place in my heart. Probably because it was just prior to being able to stomach only PB&J’s for 3 months, I don’t know. This combo is divine. The sweet figs with the burrata and just the slightest drizzle of honey and an even slighter drizzle of balsamic. (Chef’s note: Do NOT even think about substituting Mozzarella for this. It would be sacrilege, I am not even kidding.) Literally, it is Italy in your mouth. Or maybe we should say on the plate? Either way. Italy, I tell you.
image via cooking and beer
Who is Fred, you might ask? Fred is my half Swiss, half Alsatian husband! Alsace is a region in the Northeast region of France where they know how to slay some food. And by slay I do mean cook very well. It almost sounds like I mean hunt which they do as well, but not Fred. In any case, the guy won my heart over with some of the dishes he prepared, Ratatouillle being among them. You are welcome. And shhhh… this is a secret recipe. Okay, not really, but seriously, keep it to yourself.
Essential for him is that you cook the summer squash, zucchini, onions, red pepper, yellow pepper together until soft WITH a bay leaf or two (or three if you are Fred.) Once softened, you add a large tomatoes or two (skin removed if that kind of thing bothers you.) Cook this down with herbes de Provence, oregano or anything else that tickles your aromatic fancy until everything breaks down a bit. For seasoning we add the organic bouillon in a tub that we import ourselves into our kitchen from Switzerland. But salt and pepper also work great. SEE? Easy peasy. And if you are ME, an egg goes on top. Because, why would you not? I basically put an egg on just about anything. And lesson learned here, season with pepper AFTER the photo shoot.
Blackberry Fig Feta Summer Sorghum Bowl
How you like THAT alliteration?! So full disclosure this entire article was inspired by My New Roots. I have a slight (okay, maybe full blown, but who’s counting, right?) obsession with this food blog. She is nothing less than phenomenal- especially her Best EVER Lentil Salad which I make all. The. Time. In any case, she introduced me to sorghum, a gluten-free grain that even my kids- okay, one if we are being precise- LOVE. I cook it with that bouillon I mentioned before for 50 minutes or so, and it becomes like a delectable cross between pasta and grain with a little crunch and a slight bite with which quinoa cannot even begin to dream of competing. I heart sorghum. And Sarah Britton’s recipe for a Late Fall Abundance Bowl. So, I have come up with my own. A lot of my cooking revolves around cleaning out the fridge. Let’s have some #truth here. And without further adieu, the sorghum bowl. From my fridge.
*Literally, like your acai or smoothie bowl, you AWYL. (Add What You Like!) For me it is a bit of sweet with the seasonal berries and some of those leftover figs from your burrata experience, a bit of salty with some feta or goat cheese, those little orange tomatoes that taste like candy, some kind of a mix of chia, buckwheat, flax seeds, sunflower seeds- just some grainy crunch. You can geometrically align all of the ingredients OR throw all that stuff together. Up to you! My dressing is usually comprised of some type of acidic ingredient (splash of lemon or apple cider vinegar,) bit of spicy mustard, EVOO, nutritional yeast and a bit of the bouillon with some type of spice- curry, coriander, cardamon, cumin- or mix it up like Sarah does. She is my inspiration if you didn’t catch that before. And the image below is hers because she is also an incredible photog. Her mix is a bit different than mine, but end of summer’ish all the same.
photo from my new roots
Featured image is Alice Water’s Ratatouille from Food52.
Bon Appetit, y’all!