Chow Town

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Be creative to deal with summer’s overabundance of fresh vegetables

09/03/2013 9:18 AM

09/03/2013 9:18 AM

It’s the end of summer. Which means I’ve had my fill of the season’s overabundance of zucchini, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the summer season’s finest produce, but I find myself scouring cookbooks and asking farmers, friends, strangers at the farmers’ market what they do with eggplant, because I am at a loss for one more use of the eggplant staring back at me from the refrigerator.

Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes come in many colors and shapes, and often have very descriptive names. There’s Green Zebra with its green-and-yellow striped flesh. And Purple Cherokee with its deep burgundy color.

And the recently discovered, at least by me, Striped Cavern with its vibrant red skin and flesh with yellow stripes that look like Jackson Pollock stood over the tomato dripping streaks of gold down its sides.

A tomato, but with the characteristics and shape of a bell pepper, the Striped Cavern has grooves in its sides and is hollow in the middle save for some seeds and tomato flesh.

Ryan Stubby with Mulberry Hill Farm said they were good for stuffing. At home I cut the tops off, as you do a bell pepper, to remove the stem and scooped out some of the flesh to make room for the filling.

I cooked ground beef and added long-grain rice — important: cook the rice first, cheese and fresh herbs, and popped them in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Peppers

Similar to a Poblano pepper, Anaheim peppers are great for stuffing, too. I recently got a bag full of Anaheim peppers from the garden of Erika Massow, of H Ice Cream.

The first night I stuffed them with leftover short ribs and polenta. I diced the short ribs, mixed it with the polenta, added a creamy cheese and, after cutting the peppers in half and removing the stems, seeds and ribbing, stuffed the pepper halves.

I heated them in a 350 degree oven until warmed through, and after the first bite determined everyone should keep leftover polenta and short ribs in the fridge to have this every night.

The following night, I stuffed the Anaheim peppers with corn risotto and served them alongside chicken sausage. This dish is one of my favorites to make at home. The recipe comes from Deb Perelman’s

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook,

and I easily found an adaptation of it online.

So don’t give up on summer’s abundance. Get to your farmers’ market, buy a tried-and-true zucchini, and have fun discovering new ways to enjoy the highlights of the summer season. It will, after all, be over too soon.

Raised by generations of cooks, farmers and green thumbs, Andrea Shores is an enthusiastic eater and curious cook. She loves sharing her passion for local food by telling farmers’ and food purveyors’ stories.

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