Tag Archives: thyme

End-of-Summer Eggplant Stew

A delicious end to the summer. Buy varieties of summer squash, eggplant, and snap beans that appeal to you at the farmer’s market. View this stew as a way to savor the flavors of late summer. Very little seasoning is needed – a good amount of humble freshly ground black pepper will really do the trick.

This recipe is infinitely adaptable, and one that I adapted myself from Deborah Madison’s lovely Local Flavors – a favorite cookbook of mine and Witch Pilgrim‘s.

Can you believe these are eggplants?! Amazing!

End-of-Summer Eggplant Stew

3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions
4 gloves garlic, minced
5 fat thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons oregano, chopped (or 1 1/2 tablespoons dried)
2 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
5-8 oddly shaped & sized eggplants (white, Japanese, Thai, Hybrid Ruby, Black Beauty, or a few handfuls those tiny striped ones), cut into slim 2-inch lengths
a few handfuls of your favorite snap beans (yellow wax, green, purple, etc.)
1 1/2 pounds summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into chunks
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine

1.) Heat olive oil in a your largest Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, thyme, and oregano and cook for 10 minutes or so; until golden. Add tomato paste and use your wooden spoon to really work it into the onions.

2.) Add your veggies and cook for 15 minutes; until fragrant and beginning to brown. Season with salt. Add the wine and use your spoon to release all of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to cook off a bit; 2 minutes.

3.) Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 12-18 minutes; until veggies are delectably tender throughout. Fish out the barren thyme sprigs. Season with pepper and more salt, if needed. Serve with freshly shaved parmesan, a chunk of good homemade bread and a glass of red!

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Summer Vegetable Frittata

My very first attempt at a frittata was immensely satisfying. Watching this mess of raw eggs and scraps of veggies transform itself in a mere 3 minutes into a handsomely browned, restaurant-worthy egg pie had me eagerly telling my friends of my feat – but no one seemed too impressed. Am I the only one who’s never made a frittata before?!

Summer Vegetable Frittata
Serves 4

9 large FRESH eggs
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup zucchini or any other summer squash you have hanging out in your fridge
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup tomato, diced

1.) Combine eggs, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl and whisk until frothy. Set aside.

2.) Heat olive oil in a large, broiler-proof skillet (10-12 inches is fine). Add onions and saute for 1 minute. Add zucchini, bell pepper, thyme, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally; until vegetables are tender. Stir in tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid cooks off; 5 minutes or so.

2.) Preheat broiler to high heat. Pour eggs into skillet and stir gently to combine. Cover reduce heat, and cook for 15 minutes, until the center is about to set.

3.) Broil frittata for 3-8 minutes; until cooked through. Serve with hot sauces, if desired.

Summer Vegetable Casserole

summer vegetable casserole

Summer Vegetable Casserole

extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 pound petite golden Idaho potatoes (or any small, fingerling variety), sliced in 1/4″ rounds
1/2 pound roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
2 small zucchini (1/2 pound) or other summer squash, sliced diagonally 1/4″ thick
1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9″ baking dish. Combine bell pepper, onion, garlic, and thyme in a bowl. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2.) Place potatoes in the dish in an even layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread about tow thirds of the bell pepper and onion mixture over potatoes. Top with tomatoes and zucchini. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Evenly distribute remaining bell pepper and onion mixture on top of tomatoes and zucchini. Finish it off with as much/as little grated cheese as you prefer.

3.) Tightly cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Increase oven temperate to 425 degrees, uncover dish, and bake for 20 minutes more; until lightly browned.

summer vegetable casserole

Deborah Madison’s White Bean & Black Kale Minestra with Farro

Ask me my favorite chef, and I will abruptly and gleefully shout, “DEB MADISON!” The woman, simply put, is a genius. Though her cookbooks are vegetarian, she has been known to indulge in meat, and thus fully comprehends the full spectrum of flavor that a dish needs. You have never tasted a soup as flavorful as one of Deb’s – they are simply unmatched by anything I’ve ever ordered/made/tasted/dreamt about. The basis of her deep levels of flavor come from her fondness of stocks, or in this recipe’s case, the bean stock composed of the bean’s cooking water as well as dried herbs and “aromatics” as she calls them. That’s another thing I love about her – the way she writes about food is poetic without veering into pretentious territory. Her cookbooks are brimming with her musings – musings that both inform and delight – and that clearly come from a lifelong passion. Her cooking is infectious – and begs you to push yourself in your own cooking.

Oh, and the next time someone rips on Italian food and groans about how unhealthy it is, whip out this recipe, ok? Cannellini beans, farro, and kale – all staples of the Italian kitchen – convene in this wondrous pot of nutritional, not to mention culinary, delight. Literally, one of the most flavorful, satisfying soups you’ll ever make.

Cannellini Bean & Kale Soup with Farro

1 1/4 cup dried cannellini beans, rinsed and soaked
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
2 bay leaves
3 large parsley branches
1 1/4 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup farro, thoroughly rinsed and soaked for at least 1 hour
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups yellow onion, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon thyme
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
A few tablespoons of red wine
6 cups kale leaves, torn into bite size pieces
14 oz can diced tomatoes
3 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
freshly ground black pepper (about 1 teaspoon should suffice)

1.) Drain beans and place them in a large pot with 11 cups of water, garlic, sage, bay leaves, and parsley branches. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes, then add 2 teaspoons salt. Continue cooking until beans are tender; about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how old your beans are. When beans are done, remove from heat, pick out garlic and parsley branches, and leave beans sitting in their liquid.

2.) Drain beans by placing colander atop a large bowl to catch their liquid. Remove parsley branches.

3.) Grab your trusty dutch oven and heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 10 minutes; until soft and beginning to get all brown, fragrant, and delicious. Add garlic, carrots, celery, and herbs. Cook for another 15 minutes or so, stirring frequently and reducing the heat slightly, if necessary, to ensure that nothing burns.

4.) Work the tomato paste into the the vegetable mixture and continue stirring until the bottom of the pan becomes glossy and brown. Add wine to deglaze the pan and use your wooden spoon to scrape up all the yummy browned bits.

5.) Drain the farro and add it to the pot along with the kale, tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pot of the beans and their liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until farro is tender; about 30 minutes.

6.) Season with more salt, if necessary, and pepper. Serve with a chunk of rustic, peasanty bread.

This recipe was adapted from Vegetable Soups by the grand dame of soups, Deborah Madison. Published by Broadway Books; February 2006.