As the summer is in full swing (at least for farmers), I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes for the veggies growing on the farm. Summer is a vegetable season, unlike spring which is totally a fruit season. I am growing a bunch of different veggies, partially so I have a variety to eat and partially to appeal to a wider customer base. With so many different veggies over the past summers, I have learned how to cook each one in at least one meal I like. Some I have several recipes that I like. Here are three of my favorite but no-standard recipes. Once fall comes around I will do a post about all the amazing ways to eat winter squash.
I am going to start with eggplant. Eggplant has a bad rap, and I was one of those people who believed that eggplant would always be mushy and gross. However, I had a coworker from my previous job, and he swore up and down that he could make eggplant that everyone could eat. So I bought him a couple eggplants, and he brought an amazing dish to lunch the next day. I begged him to teach me the recipe, but when he tried, it went something like “take an eggplant, slice it thin, but not too thin, heat the pan (it took a long time to figure out he meant a cast iron pan), add just enough olive oil to the pan, and add onions, garlic, spices, ‘until it smells warm.’ and fry it all up.”
As you can see, this isn’t really a recipe that can be followed. I have, instead, found a recipe online that I can follow and comes out very similar to what he brought that day.
Secondly, this summer is the first summer I have grown banana peppers. I had only ever had them pickled, and when I finally ate unpickled regular banana peppers, I found it to be sweet but rather bland. I much prefer mixed color sweet peppers. This year I went ahead and grew a flat of banana peppers plants (about 20). I figured worse comes to worst I could try my hand at pickling them.* Turns out, I should have planted more. Banana peppers are also known Romanian peppers and Hungarian peppers. Unknown to me, they are staples of both countries. I found this out when I sold 10 pounds of banana peppers to a wonderful lady from Romania.** She and her mom come every weekend and buy a minimum of 20 peppers. After a month or so of this, I finally asked what they make with them. I got another un-followable recipe on the best use for banana peppers. Luckily, instead of trying to find a recipe online that sounds like what they told me, which would have been very difficult as I didn’t understand half the recipe, they sent me two links that they said were the real thing. http://www.cookingglory.com/recipes/meat-lovers/pork/stuffed-peppers-romanian-style/
The second recipe uses bell peppers, but she clearly talks about banana peppers being the preferred pepper, although she doesn’t call them that, she just describes them.
Third on my summer veggie recipe list is tomatillos. I don’t know how many people are familiar with tomatillos, they are also sometimes called “ground cherries”. However, there are several other foods called “ground cherries”, so I always call them tomatillos. Those of you who are familiar with tomatillos are probably most aware of them in sauces, particularly salsa verde. There is so much more that can be done with tomatillos than simple, if very good, salsa. I am going to introduce you to a yummy, spicy version of chicken soup. This is not your normal chicken soup, which is good because I do not like standard chicken soup, especially the noodles.*** There are no noodles or rice or potatoes in this recipe. It is just a lovely, green spicy soup. I hope some of you come to love it as much as I do.
Until next time,
*Ha! Who am I kidding I don’t have time to figure out pickling. As much as I wish I did I am already swamped everyday.
**When she saw that I had what I call banana peppers she called her mom and said lots of excited sounding things in Romanian before she bought 10 pounds. ***They are slimy and very very gross.