Recipes

GAZPACHO

1 cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled 
2 bell peppers, cored and seeded 
4 tomatoes 
1 red or yellow onion 
3 garlic cloves, minced 
3 cups tomato juice 
1/4 cup white wine vinegar 
1/4 cup good olive oil 
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt 
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not overprocess! After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

RATATOUILLE

2 1 lb. eggplants, cut into cubes
1 ¾ teaspoons plus ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
2 ½ lbs. tomatoes, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup loosely packed, chopped fresh basil
¾ cup loosely packed, chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 ½ lbs. onions, thinly sliced
3 bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
2 lbs. zucchini, cut lengthwise and then into ½-inch slices
1/3 cup dry white wine

Place a single layer of paper towels on 2 large plates. Place the cubed eggplant onto the plates and sprinkle with 1 ¾ teaspoon salt. Allow the eggplant to sit for 20 minutes. In a large saucepan, cook the tomatoes, garlic, black pepper, basil, and parsley, uncovered, over medium heat. In a large skillet, sauté the onions and bell peppers in a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the browned vegetables to the tomato mixture. Pat the eggplant dry with a fresh paper towel and add it, along with the zucchini to the tomato mixture. Cover the pot and cook the stew over low-medium heat for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the white wine and ¾ teaspoon salt and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

ZUCCHINI and CILANTRO SOUP WITH MINT

3 zucchini
1 bunch cilantro
1 onion
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. chopped parsley
2 tbsp. chopped mint
sea salt 
5 cups water or broth
juice of 1 lime
sour cream

Chop the zucchini into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash cilantro leaves and stems. Finely slice the stems and chop the leaves. Slice the onion thinly. Heat oil in a soup pot and add onion, zucchini, cilantro stems, parsley and mint. Cook until onion and zucchini is fairly soft- about 10 minutes. Add 2 tsp. salt and the water or stock and bring to a boil. Simmer until zucchini is completely soft, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining cilantro and let cool. Puree until smooth and season with salt & lime juice to taste. Serve room temperature or gently heated with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of cilantro in each bowl.

FETTUCCINE with ZUCCHINI, ARUGULA, BASIL and LEMON

3/4 tsp salt
3/4 lb whole-wheat fettuccine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 medium zucchini, julienned
1 medium yellow squash, julienned
4 or 5 sprigs basil, leaves shredded
1 bunch arugula, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes 
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Bring 4 quarts water to a full boil. Add 1/4 tsp salt and stir in pasta. Cook 5 to 8 minutes or until noodles are tender but firm. While pasta cooks, warm oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic, swirl for a moment and reduce heat to low. Do not let garlic brown. Add zucchini and yellow squash and sauté gently until zucchini softens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season mixture with 1/4 tsp salt and remove pan from heat. When pasta is finished cooking, drain noodles. Using tongs or 2 kitchen spoons, combine noodles thoroughly with zucchini mixture over low heat. Add basil, arugula, and tomatoes and season with remaining salt.

Gayle Pirie and John Clark, executive chefs and co-owners of Foreign Cinema, San Francisco

ORZO WITH SUMMER SQUASH AND TOASTED HAZELNUTS

1 1/2 cups orzo (10 oz)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped shallot (6 1/2 oz) 
2 medium zucchini (1 1/2 lb total), cut into 1/3-inch dice
2 medium yellow squash (1 lb total), cut into 1/3-inch dice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup hazelnuts (4 oz), toasted, loose skins rubbed off in a kitchen towel, and nuts coarsely chopped 
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest

Cook orzo in a 4- to 5-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain orzo in a colander. While orzo is cooking, heat butter and oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté shallot, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add zucchini, yellow squash, salt, and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in nuts, parsley, basil, and zest. Add cooked orzo to skillet and stir gently. If mixture seems dry, moisten with some reserved pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

CUCUMBER "NOODLE" GINGER SALAD

This is a delicious & refreshing summer side dish. 

2 cucumbers 
2 tablespoons rice vinegar 
2 teaspoons sesame oil 
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
1/2 teaspoon sugar 
1 teaspoon soy sauce 
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger 
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, to garnish 

Peel cucumber and discard skin. Continue using peeler, making long, lengthwise cuts to make ‘noodles’. Peel, rotating cucumber until you reach the core of seeds. Discard seeds. Drain noodles in a colander while preparing dressing. Whisk all other ingredients together. Squeeze noodles to get rid of excess moisture. Toss with dressing and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

TZATZIKI

Truly a wonderful Greek accompaniment to many meals, especially meats, or as a dip for veggies and pita bread. Strained yogurt may be found at Greek groceries and specialty shops, or use the method below. Adjust the amount of garlic to taste.

32 ounces plain yogurt
1 large cucumber, peeled and shredded
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste 

Place a cheese cloth over a medium bowl and strain the yogurt 6 hours in the refrigerator, or over night. Drain as much excess liquid from the cucumber and garlic as possible. In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, cucumber, garlic, vinegar, olive oil and salt. Stir until a thick mixture has formed.

SAVORY STUFFED SWEET DUMPLINGS

2 sweet dumpling squashes or 1 sunshine squash 
1/2 cup long-grain brown rice 
1 1/4 cup water 
2 cups tomatoes, chopped 
1 cup onion, chopped 
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped 
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper 
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves 
1/2 tsp dried marjoram 
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 cup raw pine nuts, toasted 
salt to taste

Cut squashes in half lengthwise (from stem to blossom end). Scoop out seeds, and place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil, shiny side down. Bake at 400ºF for 40 minutes. While squashes are baking, combine rice, water, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down to low and steam 35 to 45 minutes until tender. Combine tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, black pepper, herbs, and olive oil in a large skillet. Sauté over high heat until onions are softened and transparent, about 5 to 7 minutes. When rice is cooked, add to ingredients in skillet along with pine nuts and mix well. Season to taste. Stuff squash cavities. Spread the remainder of the stuffing onto the bottom of a lightly oiled 7" x 9" baking pan. Lay squashes on top of stuffing. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil, shiny side down. Bake at 350ºF for 25 to 30 minutes.

BAKED CHERRY TOMATOES WITH PARMESAN TOPPING

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 12-ounce baskets cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

Pour oil into 13x9x2-inch broilerproof ceramic baking dish. Add tomatoes; turn to coat with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with parsley and cheese. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake tomatoes just until plump and shiny but not split, about 10 minutes. Preheat broiler. Broil until tomatoes begin to split and cheese begins to color, about 2 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

SICILIAN EGGPLANT STUFFED w/GARLIC & CHEESE

This is one of our family's favorite recipes of all time. Make it for your family, make if for your friends. Just be sure to serve it with lots of warm, crusty bread and a nice bottle of Sicilian wine, like a Regaleali Rosso. Every time we taste it we look at each other and think....Can life get any better than this? 

1 large eggplant or 2 medium to small eggplants
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
1 lb. tomatoes
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
sugar salt & pepper to taste
5 oz. aged provolone cheese
4 cloves garlic
bunches of fresh mint, basil and parsley

Cut off the stem of the eggplant and roll on the counter to soften. Let sit in a bowl w/ salt water for 1 hour. Make slits lengthwise, spaced 1" apart, 1/2" deep, staying away from the ends. Be sure not to cut the eggplant in pieces. It should remain whole- you're just creating spaces to fill with the cheese and garlic.  Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a casserole dish. Add 1 onion finely chopped, 4 cloves of garlic sliced, and 3 tbsp. of water. Cover tightly and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft.  Then, add 1 lb. tomatoes, chopped. 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, a pinch of sugar and salt & pepper to taste. Cook an additional 5 minutes.  Stuff the eggplants with 5 oz. aged provolone cheese (sliced) and 4 cloves of sliced garlic. Nestle back into the sauce in the casserole dish.  Sprinkle fresh mint, basil and parsley over the eggplants and cover. Cook over low heat, turning every 30 minutes for about 1.5 hours. Add water if it begins to stick. Sprinkle with more herbs just before serving.

CUCUMBER AND AVOCADO SOUP WITH TOMATO AND BASIL SALAD

1 large cucumber, peeled, diced (about 2 1/2 cups) 
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 avocado, quartered, pitted, peeled
4 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup seeded chopped tomato
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt

Combine cucumber and buttermilk in blender. Chop 1/4 of avocado; set aside for salad. Cut remaining avocado into chunks. Add avocado to blender; then add 2 tablespoons red onion and 1 tablespoon basil. Blend until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Cover; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Mix reserved avocado, remaining 2 tablespoons onion and 1 tablespoon basil, tomato and lime juice in small bowl. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover soup and tomato salad separately and refrigerate.) Ladle cucumber soup into 4 bowls. Dollop each with 1 tablespoon yogurt; top with tomato salad and serve.

ZUCCHINI, SUN-DRIED TOMATO, AND MOZARELLA TART

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed 
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 small zucchini, cut into thin rounds
2 large eggs
1 cup half and half 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Roll out pastry on floured surface to 1/8-inch-thick square. Trim pastry edges to form 13-inch round. Transfer to 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Fold in overhang to form double-thick sides. Pierce with fork. Cover; chill 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line pastry with foil; fill with beans or pie weights. Bake pastry until sides are set, about 20 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Bake crust until bottom is golden brown, pressing with back of fork if bubbles form, about 8 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400°F. Sprinkle mozzarella over bottom of crust. Top with 6 tablespoons Parmesan, tomatoes, basil, green onions, and oregano. Arrange zucchini rounds in concentric circles to cover top of tart. Whisk eggs, half and half, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Pour mixture into tart. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan. Bake tart until custard is set and crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

ZUCCHINI WITH GARLIC AND DRIED CRUSHED RED PEPPER

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds zucchini (and/or summer squash), halved crosswise, each half cut lengthwise into 4 flat slices
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Sea salt (preferably fleur de sel) 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini; sauté until slices are light golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper; stir 1 minute. Season to taste with sea salt. Transfer zucchini to serving platter, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

PICKLED CUCUMBERS

1 large cucumber
1/2 cup white-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut cucumber crosswise into very thin slices (preferably using a manual slicer). In a bowl whisk together remaining ingredients until sugar is dissolved and add cucumber, tossing to coat. Marinate cucumbers, covered and chilled, stirring occasionally, 4 hours.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH SHALLOTS AND SAGE

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (3/4 cup)
1 (1 3/4-lb) butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
1/2 cup chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper 

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook shallots and squash, stirring, until shallots are softened, about 5 minutes. Add broth, brown sugar, sage, and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, pepper, and salt to taste.