he summer is now in its last weeks. My garden is exploding out of its confines. Normally this would be a big problem because the concept of throwing food out or letting it rot on the vine is not something any Italian can live with. I am fortunate enough to be married to a beautiful and talented wife.
As to how I managed to end up with here is beyond my comprehension but I am forever grateful for the miracles she can perform with fresh garden produce in the kitchen. For the past couple of months I have been enjoying some of the most remarkable meals ever produced by my garden. One of my favorites is called, ‘chombought.’
Now I don’t have a clue how to spell it or if it even exists anywhere else in the world but all I know is that the combination of zucchini, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and herbs is second to none. The recipe is as follows: First, get all the ingredients together. This includes zucchini, bell or Italian peppers, onions, spices that include basil, garlic, crushed red pepper, and pesto.
Pour a little extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan.
Cut onions and peppers into chunks.
Add them to hot oil and then add your spices with the exception of the Pesto.
Sautee’ until soft. (During this time I have an uncontrollable urge to drool).
Add thinly sliced zucchini and cover to steam until the zucchini is soft.
Add Pesto, one can of tomato sauce and one can of chopped tomatoes.
Simmer for about one-half an hour.
This concoction can be eaten hot as a meal topped with grated cheese or cold in a sandwich on hard crusted Italian bread.
Another great meal from the garden is simple but delicious; roasted vegetables. You can use any vegetable you have in the garden. All you have to do is cut them in one-inch cubes.
Pour a little extra virgin olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan.
Add chopped vegetables, potatoes, and chicken.
Add fresh chopped rosemary, parsley, and basil from the garden.
Add white wine and regular Worcestershire sauce.
Add grated Romano cheese.
Then add a combination that will become your own concoction. This could include any number of dried spices.
Dribble olive oil on the top of the vegetables.
Mix together and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until vegetables are soft.
You can then place the roasting pan under the broiler in order to brown the vegetables.
Depending on how many vegetables you roast, this meal can be enjoyed throughout the week. In my house, no matter what size the roasting pan, the vegetables don’t make it through the day.
No meal is considered fabulously great without using Pesto. The pesto recipe is as follows:
Fill a 7-quart food processor with fresh, washed, and dried basil.
Add three heaping tablespoons of jarred minced garlic.
Add 12 heaping tablespoons of Pecorino cheese and freshly ground black pepper Pulse until chopped.
Add one cup of pine nuts.
Turn on processor and drizzle a little less than one cup of extra virgin olive oil down chute.
Many of our friends and colleagues love my wife’s Pesto. Every year we make, jar, and freeze enough Pesto to get through the year. We give many jars away but one rule is always in effect. If you don’t bring back the old jar, no Pesto for you.
Now if you like eggplant a remarkable recipe is as follows: Spray a baking pan with Pam. You can also dribble olive oil.
Peel your eggplant, salt it, and lie on paper towels. Add dishes on top so that the eggplant gets rid of its bitterness.
Place eggplant on the bottom of the baking dish.
Layer fresh sliced tomato, green peppers, onion, and grated Pecorino cheese.
Add salt, pepper, and your favorite spices.
Top off with mozzarella cheese.
Repeat in order to build a second layer. If you are real ambitious you can repeat for a third time.
Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.The smell in the house is second only to the taste of the dish. It is a meal that can feed many but in my case it is enough to feed me.
There are many more vegetable dishes my wife uses from our garden. One always seems to taste better than the last. My wife is the first to tell you that these are not her original recipes. They came from her parents who probably got them from their parents. You will also notice that I did not give you any specific amounts. The reason for this is that each person or family has their own taste that they like. It is up to the cook to decide what taste he or she will produce.
The only thing I know is that this is one of my favorite times of year because the eating is great and not a garden vegetable goes to waste.
End of season delights by J. Fabiano
Jim Fabiano is a teacher and a writer living in York, Maine, USA
e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org