Gardening is an exercise in faith. Summer is still a distant hope when you plant those tiny little seeds. Then, you spend weeks watering and weeding, just believing that all the work will be worth it. By the time our air conditioners are running full-blast, it can seem like it has all been for nought.
Then, boom. The kitchen counters are suddenly covered in an avalanche of cucumbers, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. It can be a challenge to eat them all—it can even be a challenge to give them away. So here’s a collection of flavorful recipes to make full use of summer’s bounty.
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup diced sweet onions
⅓ cup diced bell peppers (half green and half red)
1 cup fresh spinach
4 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small chunks
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the work surface
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup cold unsalted butter
3 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes
¾ cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onions and bell peppers and cook over medium-high heat 3–4 minutes until onions are translucent and peppers are soft. Add spinach and cook until wilted, another 3–4 minutes. Set skillet aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
4. Using a box grater, grate in cold butter and work into flour mixture with your fingers until coarse pea-sized crumbs form. Work in cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and cooked vegetables the same way. The spinach will require a little extra attention—separate the cooked leaves so spinach is evenly distributed throughout the dough.
5. Pour in ½ cup of milk and work into flour mixture. Add remaining ¼ cup milk as needed. The dough should not be wet, but you should be able to knead it easily. Knead about 3 times, careful not to over-work the dough, then form into a big ball.
6. Scatter flour lightly across a clean work surface and place dough on the flour. Pat and press into a disc that’s about ¾-inch thick. Cut disc into 8 wedges.
7. Brush the top of each scone with lightly beaten egg and place scones on the prepared baking sheet, at least an inch apart.
8. Bake for about 20 minutes.
9. Serve warm or at room temperature. Scones can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
yield: 8 scones
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
3 large eggs, beaten
1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size florets
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon sriracha
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
¼ cup sliced scallions
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet
2. In a large bowl, combine flour and cauliflower and toss until fully coated. Set up a dredging station: In one bowl, add panko breadcrumbs. In another, whisk eggs and add 2 tablespoons water. Dip cauliflower in beaten eggs, then panko until fully coated. Transfer to baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden and crispy, 20 to 25 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Set aside. Combine soy sauce, honey, garlic, lime juice, and sriracha in a small saucepan over medium heat. When mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Bring to simmer again and cook until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes.
4. Toss cooked cauliflower in sauce until evenly coated. Return cauliflower to baking sheet and broil for 2 minutes.
5. Garnish with scallions.
yield: 4 servings
Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Onion-Dijon Sauce
Medium-sized head of cabbage
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh onions
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1. Preheat oven to 450°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cut cabbage in half, then cut each half into four equal wedges. Leave core intact so leaves stay together while roasting.
3. Arrange on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Bake 10–20 minutes, flip wedges, and roast until browned and tender.
5. For the sauce, add butter, onion, mustard, and garlic to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until butter is melted.
6. Let sauce cool slightly. Pour into a lidded container—a glass jar works well—and shake well before pouring over cabbage wedges.
7. Garnish with chives or parsley, if desired.
yield: 8 servings
Summer Roasted Vegetables with Orzo
1 eggplant, peeled and seeded
1–2 zucchini, chopped
1–2 yellow squash, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 bell peppers—one red, one yellow
1 box orzo pasta
1 cup of olive oil
1–2 lemons, depending on preference
¼ cup fresh chopped basil
Feta cheese to taste
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Chop all vegetables and coat liberally with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Place on baking sheet.
2. Roast for 45 minutes, tossing vegetables at the halfway mark.
3. While vegetables are roasting, boil pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and let cool. Allow roasted vegetables to cool to room temperature.
4. Whisk together one cup of olive oil, juice from lemons, salt and pepper, and fresh chopped basil.
5. In a large bowl, combine vegetables, pasta, feta cheese, and olive oil mixture. Toss to coat. May be served cold or at room temperature.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1¼ cups pure cane sugar
¾ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup beet puree
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup dark chocolate chunks
1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease an 8×8-inch metal cake pan or line with parchment paper.
2. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir frequently as it continues to bubble. Remove from heat when small brown specks appear and it smells like nutty caramel.
3. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and salt to combine.
4. In separate bowl, beat eggs. Once butter mixture has cooled in pot 4-5 minutes, slowly pour eggs into saucepan, stirring constantly until well combined.
5. Add vanilla and beet puree; stir to combine.
6. Add flour and baking powder; stir to combine.
7. Add chocolate chunks; stir to combine.
8. Bake 25–35 minutes in preheated oven or until top no longer looks wet.