Roasted Eggplant, Cherry Tomato, and Garlic Pizza with Olives and Savory

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I feel the same way every year, but this is really just the best time to eat. Perfect tomatoes, beautiful eggplant, vibrant lettuce and greens, sweet corn, tender berries, juicy melon, tart stone fruit and so many other bountiful vegetables are at their peak. My kitchen has been a very happy place this week as I try to cook as much as possible.

As it is apparent from this recipe, eggplant and tomatoes are my absolute favorites. I have a big list of recipes that I have to make for it to truly feel like summer, and eggplant pizza is always on there. I’ve made many iterations (two great versions are in that link), but I especially love this one with the sauce replaced with juicy, tangy, and sweet cherry tomatoes plus the briny contrast of olives.

My Potter Hill share this week was eggplant, beets, savory, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, onions, cucumbers, and coriander. I used one of the eggplant and some onions in a noodle dish with coconut broth from Dinner (my perennial favorite). There was no cilantro left at the grocery store when I went shopping, so I just subbed the coriander from the share in (it was going into a spice paste) and it worked great. I made lamb meatballs with the last onion and paired them with a yogurt dill sauce and a cucumber and tomato salad (from, you guessed it, Dinner). If you’ve craving cooler weather you could use the beets and any leftover carrots from last week in roasted root vegetable bowls. Lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers could all go into this Greek-inspired salad I made last summer.

Roasted Eggplant, Cherry Tomato, and Garlic Pizza with Olives and Savory

This is my go-to pizza dough recipe, and I usually sub half of the white flour for wheat. It is a very wet pizza dough which I spread it on a Silpat on a baking sheet and cook it on the lowest oven rack. If this is your first time making pizza dough, I suggest this recipe for a slightly easier to work with dough. I often use pizza making as a chance to use up any random cheese I have in the fridge, so feel free to try others than I listed here.

Serves 4

  • 1 pizza dough, storebought or homemade (see note)
  • 10 ounces eggplant (1 small), chopped
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic (do not remove the paper)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces kalamata olives, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons minced savory
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400F. Place the cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and bake for another 10 until the eggplant is soft and the cherry tomatoes have shriveled a bit. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Turn the oven up as high as it will go (mine goes to 550F).

While the tomatoes, etc. are roasting spread your dough on a baking sheet (I like to use a Silpat, or you could use parchment paper).

Peel the garlic cloves and chop. Build your pizza starting with the roasted cherry tomatoes, eggplant, and garlic, then the olives and savory, topped with the mozzarella and goat cheese.

Place your pizza in the oven on the bottom rack and cook for 10 minutes. The top should have nicely charred bits and the bottom should be crisp. Remove from the pan and place on a cutting board. (If you are using a Silpat you will need to peel it off before cutting. I just tuck one end under and pull it to the other side. It helps to have someone else hold the pizza put.) Cut and serve with red pepper flakes.

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Summer Salad with Ranch Dressing

IMG_6988 (2)The oppressive heat and humidity this week means it is time to embrace no-cook dinners. With the abundance of produce right now salads are the way to go. I love a giant salad made slightly indulgent with homemade ranch (but still a pile of vegetables! with beans! so much fiber!). This one is almost all CSA vegetables, but I couldn’t help but add fresh corn for sweetness, beans for protein, and some red onion for bite.

My full CSA share this week was a pint of cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, leeks, carrots, lettuce, eggplant, shishito peppers, microgreens, zucchini, summer squash, and dill. I did get some extra cherry tomatoes so I could use them in this salad as well as a pasta with fresh tomato sauce (from Dinner, but very similar to this recipe, just without the pancetta) that was so good, paired with baked zucchini and summer squash with breadcrumbs from Dining In. I used the eggplant, plus leftover broccoli leaves from last week in a quick stir fry with this sauce. I’ve been eating the shishitos charred in a pan dipped in a simple aioli (mayo, lemon juice, and salt) for a perfect summer appetizer.

This barbecue chicken salad is also extremely summery meal. Least year around this time I made a summery couscous salad that is an excellent picnic meal or barbecue side. If you have some extra prep time put some effort into making some pickled carrots that will improve your sandwiches and salads for many weeks to come.

Summer Salad with Ranch Dressing

Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup full fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 cup full fat mayo
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 a lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons minced dill
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 head lettuce, chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1.5 cups beans (1 15.5 ounce can), such as chickpeas, cannellini beans, or black eyed peas
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion (from 1/2 small onion)
  • 1/2 cup sprouts or microgreens

Combine the yogurt, mayo, lemon juice, dill, parsley, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine. Let sit while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.

Prepare the salad by layering all the lettuce, cucumber, beans, cherry tomatoes, onions, and sprouts in a large bowl or plate. Serve with dressing.

Athena Bowls

IMG_6979 (3)When I came home with my CSA share I laid the mountain of vegetables out on my kitchen table and started pulling out cookbooks. I was paralyzed with dinner indecision, but after much perusing I saw a recipe in Plenty  for “mixed grill” with parsley oil, that was essentially grilled eggplant and zucchini with a parsley sauce. I loved the idea but knew that I didn’t have quite enough vegetables for dinner and lunch leftovers. That recipe reminded me of my favorite root vegetable bowls with parsley sauce, which combine starchy vegetables and chickpeas to make a bright meal. Plus there was feta in those bowls, which paired with eggplant screams “Greek!”

This all led to the happy invention of what could be called Greek burrito bowls, but that sounded weird, and since there was no exact Greek dish I was turning into a bowl, it needed a whole new name. And thus we have Athena Bowls! Greek inspired, summery, filling, and vegetarian (easily vegan). Perfect for August, when the humidity breaks enough that turning on the oven is a thinkable act.

My full Potter Hill share this week was eggplant, cherry tomatoes, tomatoes, shishitos, broccoli leaves, fresh onions, cucumbers, lettuce, thai basil and scallions. I’ve been eating the tomatoes and cucumbers in the morning over yogurt with Alison Roman’s savory granola from Dining In and it is heaven. The scallions went into a slaw for fish tacos, and the lettuce is went into BLTs tonight (first of the summer!!) with some charred shishitos and aioli alongside. If you need basil ideas I posted a bunch last week.

Athena Bowls

Inspired by The Mediterrenean Dish

Roasted Vegetables

  • ¾ lb eggplant, chopped into 3/4″ pieces
  • ½ lb cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 oz onion (1 small onion), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Lemon Rice

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 oz onion (1 small onion), diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups of water, plus water for soaking
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Parsley Sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¾ cup parsley leaves and soft stems
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For serving

  • 6 ounces full fat feta, crumbled
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas (from one 15.5 ounce can, rinsed and drained)

Preheat the oven to 425F. Toss the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and onion on a baking sheet with the olive oil and salt. Roast for 20 minutes, then toss. Roast for another 15-20 minutes, until the eggplant is completely soft with some charred bits.

While the oven is preheating cover the rice in water and let soak for at least 15 minutes, then drain. In a small saucepan heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes (the onion should star to become translucent). Add in the rice and stir to coat. Add the 1 1/2 cups of water, cover, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, then remove from the heat and let sit for 10.

Turn on a food processor with an S blade and drop in the garlic cloves. Let them process until you can no longer hear them bouncing around, then turn it off and scrape down the sides. Add the parsley and salt and process until minced. Turn on the food processor and stream in the olive oil and lemon juice until it is a uniform sauce. Alternatively, mince the garlic and parsley, then stir in olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.

To serve prepare bowls with rice, chickpeas, roasted vegetables, feta, and parsley sauce.

 

 

Two Herbal Citrus Summer Refreshers

IMG_6963 (3)When I picked up my share this week Paul (friend and farmer at Potter Hill) handed me two bunches each of lemon basil and holy basil and said “Here is your challenge for the week!” Apparently a lot of his customers aren’t sure what to do with these wonderfully fragrant herbs, so challenge accepted! My go-to preparation takes advantage of each of their unique flavors to make quick, but impressive summer refreshers: lemonade and limeade. These aren’t sugar packed, pucker-inducing ades, but truly refreshing summer beverages. They are easily adapted with different herbs, like mint and lemon verbena, or even heartier herbs like thyme and rosemary (for those I would scale back to ¼ cup). For a drink more like a soda use seltzer in place of the water, or turn them into cocktails by adding some gin or vodka. 

My entire share this week was the basils, lettuce mix, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, bok choy, fresh onions, and a bunch of carrots. The cherry tomatoes and bok choy went into a tofu curry from Melissa Clark’s Dinner (a very similar recipe is here). I used the zucchini and peppers in this wonderful, summery pasta with fried lemons (lemon basil would be great here too). The remaining peppers and onions were sauteed and served atop cheddar grits with some Short Creek poblano and cheddar sausage. The carrots are about to go into an Indian stir fry with coconut from Vegetarian India to be paired with dal.

Still looking for basil ideas? Summer rolls are one of my favorite hot weather meals, especially when paired with peanut sauce. Holy basil is an essential ingredient in classic Thai chicken stir fry Pad Kra Pao. Or give your pesto a twist by using lemon basil. And don’t forget to serve a refresher alongside!

Lemon Basil Lemonade

Serves 4

Adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison.

  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup lemon basil (regular basil can be substituted)
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups water

In the bottom of a pitcher muddle the lemon zest, sugar, and lemon basil until the basil is very fragrant, but the leaves are still intact. Add the lemon juice and water and stir to combine (make sure all the sugar isn’t sitting on the bottom). Chill for at least 30 minutes, and strain to serve.

Holy Basil Ginger Limeade

Serves 4

Adapted from Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison.

  • zest from 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup holy basil (regular basil or Thai basil can be substituted)
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger (peel before grating)
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 4 cups water

In the bottom of a pitcher muddle the lime zest, sugar, holy basil, and grated ginger until the basil is very fragrant, but the leaves are still intact. Add the lime juice and water and stir to combine (make sure all the sugar isn’t sitting on the bottom). Chill for at least 30 minutes, and strain to serve.

Charred Onion Dip

IMG_6957 (4)Discovering that onion dip is something you can easily make yourself is life changing. Alton Brown was the first to show me this possibility, and while his recipe is good, it is not fast. When my mom discovered this recipe in Bon Appetit, everything changed. We started requesting it at every family dinner, and she even made enough for 85 people to serve at our wedding. It has all the creamy richness you want to slather on a chip, but tastes fresher than your usual onion dip because the onions are cooked hot and fast instead of low and slow, so they retain some of their bite. I would tell you to double this recipe, but know that people will eat as much of this dip as you put in front of them.

My share this week was leeks, cauliflower, lettuce, basil, cilantro, fresh onions, zucchini, and eggplant. The lettuce went into a giant salad I served with these buffalo veggie burgers and bleu cheese dressing. Eggplant and leftover bok choy from last week went into noodles with sesame sauce and chili oil. If you have any cucumbers, this smashed cucumber salad is both fun to make and delicious. The basil and zucchini went into this easy pesto bean dish.

Charred Onion Dip

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 4-6

I adapted this recipe to take advantage of the fresh onions with their greens attached in my CSA share. If you don’t have fresh onions, you could use a shallot and scallions as the original recipe calls for. I don’t have a grill so I haven’t tried this yet, but I imagine you could halve the leek and onion bulb, and grill them along with the onions greens, then slice everything, instead of the slice first then broil method outlined below.

  • 1 fresh bulb onion, quartered and thinly sliced (3 ounces/¾ cup)
  • 1 ounce (1 cup) thinly sliced fresh onions greens (reserve a few for garnish)
  • 2 small leeks, dark greens removed, halved and thinly sliced (2.5 ounces/1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • ½ cup full-fat mayonnaise
  • ½ cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (this was ½ a small lemon for me)
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Potato chips for serving

Heat your broiler to high. On a baking sheet toss the onion, onion greens, and leeks with the olive oil and season with a hefty pinch of salt. Broil for 5-10 minutes total, checking after 5 minutes and monitoring closely. You want significant char on the onions, but not to turn the whole pan completely black. When the onions are done, remove from the oven and let cool.

While the onions are charring combine the garlic, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, buttermilk, and pepper in a bowl. Add the cooled onions and stir to combine. Garnish with the reserved onion greens and serve with potato chips (Cape Cod Kettle Chips are my favorite).