Cut 1 zucchini and 1 summer squash into lengthwise quarters. Trim ends. Place in a pie pan seed-sides up. Drizzle olive oil over them, sprinkle with generous amount of cracked black pepper and garlic powder. Put in oven and turn to 400 degrees convect. When oven hits 400, turn off. Take out the squash after another 5 minutes. Let cool. Cut into small bite-sized chunks.
Make couscous. Use casserole dish with tight fitting cover. Put 1 cup dry couscous in the casserole dish. Add squash chunks. Boil one cup chicken broth and a couple pats of butter. Pour boiling broth over the couscous and squash. Cover and shake a bit to distribute liquid. Let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin. Cut into quarters across the loin. Pound the pieces to tenderize, but keep steaks thick as possible. Marinade in Sriracha sauce, just enough to coat both sides and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Julienne one bell pepper, 2 jalapeño peppers, 2 long chile peppers. Sauté peppers in a little olive oil in a large fry pan. Add pork steaks and sear on both sides. Then turn heat down to cook until pork is pink in the middle. Pounding and marinade make meat tender.
Serve with roasted squash couscous.
Late summer farm stand fare. Delish. Peel and quarter 4-6 local Valley potatoes. Peel and slice 3 parsnips into small diagonal chunks. Cover with water in a large saucepan. Season with a generous amount of cracked black peppercorns and a little kosher salt. Cover and bring to boil until potatoes and parsnips are very tender. Uncover and simmer until water is almost gone. Add 3+ tablespoons butter and chives to taste. Let simmer until water is evaporated and vegetables brown up a bit. Mash with a hand tool until blended. Savory side dish.
Staying with the Tandoori theme, left over plain yogurt in the fridge, used Pierre Franey’s time-tested cooking method. 6 minutes under the broiler, no turning. Perfect every time. So, clean and de-vein largest fresh shrimp you can get.
16 shrimp serves 2. Put in medium-sized bowl with 2 tablespoons plain yogurt, 1/4 tsp. each of cayenne, cardamom, coriander, ginger, turmeric, cumin. 1 tsp. paprika. Garlic powder to taste. Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime. Stir and coat shrimp. You can refrigerate until ready to cook, or just broil right away.
Place shrimp on a cookie sheet so not touching, using all of the coating mixture. Turn broiler to high and when hot, place cookie sheet on highest rack. Broil for 6 minutes. That’s it. No turning. Serve with Kazmati rice and chutneys.
Use parts of one chicken. Breasts. Thighs attached to legs. Skin on and bone-in.
For the marinade, in a large bowl mix:
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 lime, juice
3 scallions, sliced with part of the green
6 mint leaves, chiffonade
1 jalapeño, de-seeded julienne
1 tsp. cardamom
1 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
Roll chicken parts in the blended marinade to coat. Put them in a shallow glass pan and pour remaining marinade over them. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to grill, take chicken out of marinade and put on plate, still with as much coating as possible. Skewer 2 large farm stand bell peppers, de-seeded and cut into quarters. Skewer 1 red onion, cut into large chunks. 2 whole jalapeños. Coat veggies with olive oil and garlic powder. Grill in stages, chicken first to sear and cover until mostly cooked through. Then put it off to the side of the grill while cooking skewered peppers and onions over the fire, turning until charred but not burned. Serve with basmati rice, chutneys, and homemade raita.
Peel and chop 3 farmstand pickle cukes into small chunks into a medium sized bowl. Add 6 shredded, trimmed mint leaves, 1 cup plain yogurt, 3 small scallions, sliced. Season with 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. coriander, 1/4 tsp. celery salt, ground pepper to taste. Stir. Add a drizzle of red wine vinegar to taste. Stir. Chill for at least an hour. Serve with Tandoori chicken or as a refreshing side with any meat.
Variations on a theme from generous neighbors’ garden gems and Connecticut River Valley farm stand treasures. Check them out below.
I add watermelon to balance the acid. Not as a dominant taste.
4-6 pickle cukes, peeled and coarsely chopped
6-8 ripe garden tomatoes, peeled, cored, de-seeded
2 bell peppers, de-seeded, chopped
1 small jalapeño pepper, de-seeded, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 slices day old bread, crusts cut off
6 2″-cubes watermelon, de-seeded
1/4 cup olive oil
6 tbs. red wine vinegar
celery salt, ground black pepper to taste
Soak the bread in water and wring dry. Put bread and all above ingredients in layers in a blender and pulse so consistency is smooth with a few chunky bits. Stir and taste for seasoning, vinegar balance.
Put in a container and chill. Serve cold with chopped garden veggie garnishes.
Summer Seafood Stew for Two
~Tilapia. Vongole. Pomodori. Aglio. Olio. Prezzemolo. Pane. Questo è tutto.~
2 Tilapia filets
2 dozen + Little Neck Clams
1/2 cup fresh American parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbs. unsalted butter
2 Garden tomatoes, chopped
1/2 Bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 Jalapeño pepper, sliced and de-seeded
1 cup seafood broth
6+ fresh garlic cloves, minced
Red pepper flakes to taste
Ground black or white pepper to taste
1 Lemon, zest
Chop 1/2 cup fresh parsley into a large measuring pitcher. Add 2 tbs. unsalted butter, 6 cloves minced fresh garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil. In a stock pot heat little neck clams in 2-3 tbs. vegetable oil over medium high heat until they start to open and release nectar. Add the parsley, butter, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, ground pepper to taste, 1/2 cup broth and stir. After all clams have opened, 5-6 minutes, remove clams and discard shells and any unopened clams. Reserve clams. Cut the tilapia into chunks. Add to the pot with chopped tomatoes and another 1/2 cup broth. Poach until fish is flakey, 2-3 minutes. Don’t overcook. Add back the clams, take off heat and stir. Serve in large bowls with chopped bell and sliced jalapeño pepper as garnish. Top with lemon zest. Dip a baguette. Delizioso.
Recipe and photos created by Gary F. Levine.
August greens from local farm fields. Manchego cheese, shaved. Sweet fresh peaches, sliced. Walnuts, crumbled. Basic vinaigrette with a splash of Balsamic. That’s it. El Cielo meets Sancho. Cervantes notwithstanding. Perfecto.