Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook
Now is the time to make the most of late summer produce, although waning-while the next harvest is coming around. Below are two very unique recipes for the seasonal offerings. Also included are 2 charts which show produce naturally available during the seasons. The one chart is from Virginia which has, for the most part, similar growing seasons to Maryland.
Ratatouille Terrine with Olive Crust
Yummy! This layered bake of early fall vegetables is loaded with nutrition and can be eaten hot or cold. The eggplant and onion are grilled first as it softens them. The crookneck squash and tomato can be added raw. When stored overnight in the refrigerator, the terrine has a chance to firm up so cutting is easier.
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh bread crumbs (I used whole grain w/ seeds)
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated firm cheese
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients.
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch thick round slices
- 1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4 -inch thick rounds
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 medium crookneck squash, cut lengthwise 1/4 -inch thick slices
- 2 large tomatoes, into 1/4 -inch thick rounds
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
Grease a sheet of heavy aluminum foil. Place the eggplant and onion rounds on the foil. Coat each side of vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place vegetables on foil over direct heat of the grill. Grill until each side is golden brown, flipping midway. Remove and place on a flat work surface.
Grease each terrine pan and sprinkle the bottom of each with 1/4 of the olive bread crumbs. Layer each with a single slices of eggplant, onion, squash and tomato. Drizzle with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Repeat layering and press down gently with the palm of your hand to compress.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Cover each terrine with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, add the remaining crumbs and bake uncovered to brown for another 20 minutes. The top crumbs should be crispy. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
Slice and put on individual plates.
Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
Makes 3 cups
This is a traditional recipe of Jerusalem was highlighted in Food and Wine Magazine this month and incorporates a spice blend called za’atar. Since it is difficult to find, my version uses oregano and toasted cumin seed which are readily available. The dip or spread is colorful, delicious and healthy.
- 6 medium beets (1 1/2 pounds), trimmed
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small spicy red chile, seeded and minced
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground freshly toasted cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fresh finely chopped oregano
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup roasted walnuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Cucumber slices and bread, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Put the beets in a small roasting pan and add 1/4 cup of water. Cover with foil and bake for about 1 hour, until tender. Let cool slightly.
Peel the beets, dice and transfer to a food processor. Add the garlic, chile and yogurt and pulse until blended. Add the olive oil, cumin, oregano and puree. Season with salt. Scrape into a wide, shallow bowl. Scatter the walnuts, goat cheese and scallions on top and serve with bread.
Seasonal Produce Charts
Eating locally grown or produced food can provide many economic, social and health benefits. Eating local foods picked at the peak of ripeness can also taste better too. With autumn approaching, the opportunity to enjoy some of Virginia’s most delicious foods emerges. Here are a few charts and graphs that can help you plan your fall menus and gardens: