As summer draws to a close, it’s time to think about how best to use the remains of your summer gardening efforts. What better way to celebrate a successful summer season than with a garden party full of delectable summer fruit and vegetable delights? It’s a great way to share locally grown produce and your gardening skills. Treat your guests to this perfect garden party menu of easy and delicious recipes below:
Pan-Cooked Summer Squash With Tomatoes and Basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds medium or small zucchini or other summer squash, thinly sliced or diced (depending on what shape squash you use)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, grated on the large holes of a box grater, or peeled, seeded and diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped or slivered fresh basil (to taste)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy skillet. Add the zucchini. Cook, stirring or shaking the pan, until the zucchini is lightly seared and beginning to soften, three to five minutes. Remove from the pan, and set aside.
Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, then the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until fragrant — less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have begun to cook down, about five minutes. Return the zucchini to the pan, add salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until the zucchini is tender and translucent and the tomatoes have cooked down to a fragrant sauce. Stir in the basil, and taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from the heat and serve hot, or allow to cool and serve at room temperature.
Serves four to six.
Corn and Zucchini Salad with Chives
2 small zucchini, diced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ears sweet corn, kernels shaved off
1 cup minced chives
1/2 cup chopped mint, plus sprigs to garnish
Place the diced zucchini in a colander or small bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Set aside. Heat a deep skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil and the butter. When the butter foams up, add the corn kernels and cook, stirring frequently, until they are tender — about 5 minutes.
Drain any excess water off the zucchini and add to the skillet, along with the chives and mint. Sauté just until the zucchini is barely tender — about 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately while hot, or at room temperature.
Fresh Vegetable BBQ Pizza
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
1 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
½ cup chopped red onions
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Pizza Dough or Pizza Crust
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spread BBQ sauce evenly on top of Pizza dough. Layer with Black beans, corn, tomatoes and red onions. Sprinkle with cheese until covered. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Let cool five minutes then slice. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top before serving.
Zucchini Bread Cookie Whoopie Pie
For Bread Cookies:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (4oz) unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup finely grated zucchini (squeezed of excess moisture then measured)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup flour
1-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the icing:
2 Tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
4oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Combine butter, applesauce, and sugars in a large mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes (mixture won’t be light and fluffy – it’s ok.) Add egg then beat to combine. Add vanilla then beat to combine.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients in two batches, mixing well between each batch. Add zucchini and mix to combine then add oatmeal and mix to combine. Cover bowl then place in the refrigerator for one hour, or until dough holds it’s shape when scooped.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drop 1 Tablespoon dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheets then bake for 10 minutes, or until set on top. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
For the icing: While the cookies are cooling, combine butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scoop into a piping or ziplock bag, snip off the corner, then pipe onto half the cooled cookies and top with the other half. Store whoopie pies in an airtight container in the fridge.