Special of the day: From the Garden to Your Plate, A Bounty of Fall Vegetables

18 Sep Special of the day: From the Garden to Your Plate, A Bounty of Fall Vegetables

Zucchini Parmesan Stacks

When it rains, it pours, and this was especially true for me last week when our weekly share of vegetables from Groundworks Farm combined with the generosity of friends sharing their fall harvests left our kitchen counter overflowing with beets, tomatoes, zucchini and yellow and green beans.

Put up some pickles- pickled spicy dilly beans, that is, I thought to myself surveying the windfall and thinking of ways to preserve the shelf life of some of the perishable produce. In no time at all, the yellow and green beans were washed and trimmed, packed in jars and steeping in spices and dill. Yum! We’ll be enjoying these straight out of the jar as an appetizer or dressing up a zippy Bloody Mary during cocktail hour.

My favorite way to prepare beets is to roast them in a foil packet. So, that is what I did, lining them up side by side on a sheet of foil, giving them a quick splash of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper before covering and tucking them into a packet to roast in the oven. Roasted beets are delicious on their own served with butter or used as the centerpiece of a sweet and savory salad with crumbled blue cheese and candied walnuts.

Italian breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese baked atop zucchini rounds created the base for a Zucchini Parmesan Stack with fresh Marinara sauce and melted mozzarella that served as a super simple and satisfying meatless entrée for dinner one night.  If you’re fond of Italian food, this fresh take on zucchini is worth a try this fall.

Sending you simple ways to enjoy seasonal vegetables in this week’s Special of the day: From the Garden to Your Plate: A Bounty of Fall Vegetables and recipes for Beet Salad with Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts, Zucchini Parmesan Stacks and Pickled Spicy Dilled Beans. Enjoy!

Recipes and food photography by Sydne George.

Beet, Blue Cheese and Candied Walnut Salad

Beet Salad with Blue Cheese and Candied Walnuts

(serves 6)

6 medium beets

2 tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

½ cup blue cheese crumbles, divided

½ cup walnuts

¼ cup sugar

½ cup buttermilk

¼ cup blue cheese crumbles

1/8 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1 tsp. red wine vinegar

1 tsp. honey

3 tbsp. sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash beets and arrange them right next to each other on a sheet of foil.

Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with a sheet of foil to cover and crimp edges to make a packet. Roast in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. When cool, peel beets and slice into thin slices.

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over hot pan and allow to melt. Add walnuts and stir to coat with melted sugar. Remove from heat and transfer candied walnuts to parchment paper to cool.

Combine buttermilk, ¼ cup blue cheese, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper, vinegar, honey and sour cream in a jar with a cover. Cover and shake until well mixed.

To assemble:

Arrange a beet slice on each individual salad plate. Top with blue cheese crumbles and drizzle with dressing. Repeat sequence of beet slice, blue cheese and dressing two more times to create salad stacks. Top with candied walnuts. Enjoy!

Zucchini Parmesan Stacks

Zucchini Parmesan Stacks

(serves 6)

2 medium zucchini, sliced into1/4 inch rounds

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup Italian style bread crumbs

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

14 ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, drained

1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 tsp. sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into thin slices

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut a sheet of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a baking sheet.

Arrange zucchini slices in a single layer on parchment paper.

Brush zucchini slices with olive oil.

Sprinkle bread crumbs over zucchini rounds to cover.

Top with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

Bake in preheated oven 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and set oven temperature to broil.

While zucchini is baking, make the Marinara Sauce:

Combine tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and salt in blender and puree until smooth.

Assemble Zucchini Parmesan:

Top a zucchini round with marinara to cover, then a mozzarella slice.

Add a second zucchini round, marinara to cover and a second mozzarella slice. Add a third zucchini round to the top of the stack.

Repeat to form additional Zucchini Marinara stacks.

Place on baking sheet and broil just until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.

Serve hot. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!

Pickled Spicy Dilled Beans

Pickled Spicy Dilled Beans

(makes 6 pints)

2 cups washed and trimmed green beans

2 cups washed and trimmed yellow beans

3 tsp. crushed red pepper

6 sprigs fresh dill

3 tsp. dill seed

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 tsp. mustard seed

4 cups white vinegar

4 cups water

½ cup salt

Pack beans into clean jars, leaving about ½ inch of space at top of each jar.

Add ½ tsp. crushed red pepper, 1 dill sprig, ½ tsp. dill seed, 1 clove garlic, minced, and ½ tsp. mustard seed to each jar.

Bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil. Pour boiling liquid over packed beans. Screw lids on tightly and process beans in boiling water for 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Then refrigerate. Enjoy!

Sydne George is a food journalist specializing in recipe development, food writing and food photography. She can be reached at sydnegeorge@hotmail.com . Sydne’s recipes from “Special of the day” are archived at http://sydnegeorge.com/blog/.



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