Produce A Plenty

If ever there was
a time to try going
vegetarian, summer is it.
Local produce comes
pouring in, bringing a
bounty of diverse fruits
and vegetables perfect
for no-cook weeknight
meals that never get
old. So get out of the
heat, and out of your
meat-heavy routines
with these delicious
menus that are light,
fresh and seamlessly
suited for combating
the hazy, lazy days of
summer.

Menu #1 Under the tuscan sun

Radicchio, fennel and olive panzanella

  • 6 oz. day-old, WedgeMade Rustic Italian bread, torn into bite-size pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
    Salt and pepper
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 small head radicchio, torn into
    bite-size pieces
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted, halved
  • 3 oz. Manchego (or other aged
    sheep’s milk cheese), shaved

1. Whisk shallot, lemon juice,
zest, vinegar and olive oil in a
large bowl; season with salt
and pepper.

2. Add radicchio,
fennel, parsley, olives, cheese
and bread to dressing; toss to combine. Let sit at least 10
minutes before serving.

Spaghetti with no-cook tomato sauce, ricotta and mint

  • 6 medium-sized heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped or torn
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 15-20 mint leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 oz. fresh ricotta
  • 16 oz. spaghetti

1. Place tomatoes, garlic, mint,
and olive oil into a large serving
bowl. Stir mixture until all tomatoes
are coated with oil and garlic is
evenly distributed throughout the
sauce.

2. Cover the bowl and
let everything marinate for about
four hours on the counter at room
temperature. Add salt and pepper
to taste. The tomatoes will release
their juices and flavors will meld.

3. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water until
al dente. Drain and toss with the
marinated tomato sauce. Garnish
each serving with a dollop of
ricotta, more mint leaves, and a
drizzle of olive oil.

Grilled beans and peaches

  • 2 peaches, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 lb. trimmed green beans
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

1. Toss peaches and green beans
with oil in a large bowl; season
with salt and pepper.

2. Transferto a grill pan and cook over high
heat, tossing often, until beans
are crisp-tender and peaches are
lightly charred, 8-10 minutes.

3.Toss with almonds and vinegar.

Menu #2 Southwestern Spice

Watermelon gazpacho

  • 1 lb. seedless watermelon, seeds and rind removed, coarsely
    chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Fresh Feta cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and pepper

1. Purée watermelon, tomato, cucumber, jalapeño, oil and
vinegar in a blender until
smooth.

2. Transfer gazpacho
to a large bowl; season with salt
and pepper. Cover and chill at
least 1 hour prior to serving.

3. Garnish each serving with Feta
and a drizzle of olive oil.

Summer veggie tacos with chickpeas and avocado cream

  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 small summer squash, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup chickpeas, drained
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup full fat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • Corn tortillas

1. Prepare grill for medium
heat. Toss the diced vegetables,
chickpeas, and minced garlic
with the olive oil, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Place on a
grill pan or wrap in aluminum
foil and grill until tender, 15-20
minutes.

2. While veggies
are grilling, combine avocado,
yogurt, cilantro, and lime juice in
a blender or food processor until
smooth.

3. To assemble tacos,
warm up tortillas on the grill, fill
them with veggies, and garnish
with a drizzle of avocado cream.

Mexican corn salad

  • 4 ears of corn, husked
  • 3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 oz. Cotija cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro plus more for serving
  • Salt and pepper

1. Prepare grill for medium heat.
Grill corn, turning occasionally,
until tender and charred, 8-10
minutes; let cool slightly. Cut
kernels from cobs and transfer
to a medium bowl.

2. Whisk
mayonnaise, lime juice, paprika,
cayenne, if using, 2 oz. Cotija
cheese, and 2 tablespoons
cilantro in a large bowl; season
with salt and pepper. Add corn
and toss to combine. Garnish
with more cheese and cilantro.

Menu #3 Asian al fresco

Chilled corn and coconut soup

  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels
  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cilantro (for garnish)

1. Bring jalapeno, corn kernels,
coconut milk, and water to a boil
in a medium saucepan. Reduce
heat, and simmer until corn is
tender, about 20 minutes. Turn
off and let cool.

2. Filling a
blender halfway and covering
with a kitchen towel, puree soup
in batches. Strain through a
coarse sieve into a large bowl;
discard solids. Season with salt
and pepper.

3. Chill soup at
least 3 hours or overnight. Before
serving, stir in lime juice, garnish
with cilantro if desired, and season with pepper.

Hoisin-glazed eggplant

  • 4 baby eggplants, or 1 large eggplant, cut lengthwise into 1-inch-thick slices and scored
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. sambal olek (or other garlic chile paste)
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil
  • Salt

1. Heat grill to medium. In small
bowl, whisk together hoisin
sauce, honey, sambal olek and
1 Tbsp. oil; set aside.

2. Halve eggplants lengthwise; slice a
bit off the skin side so they lie
flat, and score both sides in a
crisscross pattern.

3. Brush
both sides of eggplant halves
with remaining 1 tablespoon oil,
and season with salt. Grill until
charred and tender, 4-7 minutes
per side. Brush both sides
generously with reserved hoisin
mixture; grill each side again just
to glaze, about 1 minute per side.
Serve hot.

Cold noodle salad with pickled vegetables

  • 6 oz. wide bean thread or rice noodles
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large daikon (Japanese white radish; about 1 pound), julienned
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, julienned
  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup torn fresh herbs such as basil, mint and cilantro, divided
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

1. Place noodles in a large bowl
and add boiling water to cover.
Let noodles soak until tender
but not mushy, 15-20 minutes;
drain. Rinse under cold water
and drain well. Whisk garlic,
soy sauce, lime juice, vinegar,
sugar, ginger and pepper in
another large bowl. Add daikon,
cucumber, carrots and sprouts;
toss to combine. Let sit at least
10 minutes.

2. Add noodles,
oil and half of herbs to bowl;
toss to combine. Top salad with
remaining herbs and peanuts.

Would anyone care for dessert?

Menu #1 Dessert Under the tuscan sun

Raspberry Granita

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 3 cups fresh raspberries (about 16 oz.)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Whipped cream for garnish (optional)

1. Combine water and sugar in medium
saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar
dissolves. Remove from heat and chill syrup
until cold.

2. Meanwhile, mash raspberries in medium
bowl. Stir in lemon juice and sugar syrup.
Pour mixture through strainer, pressing on
solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
Pour mixture into shallow baking dish. Freeze
until almost firm, stirring frequently, about
2 hours.

3. Continue freezing granita (do not stir) until
firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.

4. Using fork scrape surface of granita to
form crystals. Scoop crystals into glasses.
Garnish with whipped cream and more fresh
raspberries (if desired).

Menu #2 Dessert southwestern spice

Strawberry, lime and black pepper popsicles

  • 4 slightly heaped cups (about 20 oz.) fresh, ripe strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (use less for a barely detectable bite, more if you’d like it more present)
  • Pinch of sea salt

1. Combine the strawberries and sugar
in a bowl; let them sit for 15 minutes if
they’re really fresh, longer if they’re firm or
off-season berries. Transfer mixture to a
saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil
then reduce to a simmer, and cook for
5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

2. Once cooled, transfer to a blender or food
processor, add the lime juice, pepper and
salt and blend until mostly smooth. Divide
between popsicle molds, leaving a 1/4-inch
space on top to accommodate expansion
during freezing.

3. Freeze for about 5 hours or overnight. Dip
in lukewarm water for 10 seconds to unmold
each popsicle before serving.

Menu #3 Dessert Asian al fresco

Lime, ginger and lemongrass sorbet

  • 2 thick lemongrass stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 8 limes)

1. In a blender or food processor, combine
the lemongrass with 3 cups water and puree
until mostly smooth. (Lemongrass is very
fibrous, so you will not get to a completely
uniform consistency; that’s okay.) Transfer the
puree to a saucepan, add the sugar and bring
to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from
the heat, cover, and let cool completely. Strain
the syrup into a bowl, pressing on the solids;
discard the solids captured in the strainer.

2. Transfer the cooled syrup to a quart-size
container and stir in the ginger juice and lime
juice. Cover and refrigerate the sorbet base
until completely cold, at least 3 hours.

3. Pour the chilled sorbet base into an
ice cream maker and freeze according to
the manufacturer’s instructions. Churn the
sorbet until it resembles Italian ice. Transfer
the sorbet to a chilled storage container
and freeze until hardened to your desired
consistency. The sorbet will keep, frozen, for
up to 7 days. If you don’t have an ice cream
maker, pour the chilled sorbet base onto a
parchment-lined cookie sheet and freeze until
set. Break the frozen puree into pieces and
blend again in a food processor or blender.
Serve immediately or freeze, for up to 7 days.