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4 Late Summer Recipes from my family to yours
Make use of your Summer gardening haul! WSG 78
This post was supposed to have some treats for the premium readers after a paywall, but things went wonky on Substack for me. So! You all get to enjoy the recipes! but I’ll make it up to you, Squad. I will. For now, please enjoy some late summer musings and recipes!
Gazpacho, a love story.
Have you made gazpacho before? Did your mom way back? Mine did. I remember it well. There are a lot of different variations of this blended soup. I’m going to go with the “empty the fridge into a blender” version. Do you have a blender? You will need one. Gazpacho is made from raw veggies so a soup stick blender will not work.
Gazpacho is a late summer soup. And, guess what? We are there, late summer. We have had more rain than sun here in New England so people’s gardens aren’t producing the way they usually do by now. But! Have faith, now that the kids are back in school the sun will surely shine and we will have a hot, late summer full of herbs and veggies! Perfect time for gazpacho soup!
First, the blender to beat all blenders…Vitamix
I used to have this blender sitting on my kitchen counter. It’s a Vitamix and I bought it on a whim at the Whole Foods near us about ten years ago. We live in the city so I generally walk to the market and a blender on a whim was a weird thing to do. BUT. My kids weren’t loving breakfast so, like any mom open to guilt and dismay, I saw that I could hide healthy things in a smoothie that I could make with my brand new fire engine red Vitamix! Sold!
We had a big period of lower school smoothie making. Yogurt, bananas, frozen fruit, vanilla, nuts, kale, almond milk. And then, it stopped. The giant blender just sat there, along with it’s bespoke cookbook. For years. In late high school, it got fired up again. There would be peace and then there would be the deafening whir of the Vitamix’s mighty motor that made its way through the kitchen ceiling into my bedroom morning, noon and night. Then there was the sink full of the cutting board, yogurt slop, huge and dirty blender container with its top all full of blended goo waiting for someone to clean them. Every day, a couple of times a day. ‘It’s healthy’ I would say to myself, so it’s worth the mess. But eventually, after warnings of mom-insanity nearing the edge of no return if one more blender mess was discovered…the Vitamix was banished to a closet downstairs and there it sits to this day.
Be that as it may, I think it’s time to resurrect the ol’ red blender, with its duct taped container worse for ware, to make some gazpacho!
Here we go!
What is in your fridge? You have a pile of veggies you bought because you know they are good for your family, but no one ate them and you ordered out all week. So, now those healthy perky veggies are looking like dumpster fodder. Don’t worry! Help is on the way in the form of a blender! Open that vegetables drawer and dig around. In the recipe below, my own, I give you a range for the garlic and onion. Garlic raw has a big punch, so, maybe start off with less and add more to taste. Same for the onion. And salt. The onion gives it a zing, though.
You will need:
▢ Olive oil 1/4 cup
▢ Onion 1/2-1 sliced up into 1/4s
▢ garlic 1/2-1 clove chopped up to taste
▢ Veggies: whatdyagot green pepper?, red pepper? kale? cucumber? celery? Zucchini? mushrooms?
▢ 1 can 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, with liquid
▢ cup of water to get the veg to blend
▢ 1 tablespoon water
▢ ½ teaspoon kosher salt to taste
▢ ¼ teaspoon black pepper
The soup is blended, so it doesn’t really matter if you put random veggies in together. Chop up the veg and put in everything in the blender and start blending. You may need a cup of water to get it all going. Blend to the consistency you prefer: chunky? Smooth? Top with a little cilantro or basil or whatever is growing in your herb garden!
Bacon and Anything salad
I am not a huge meat eater. I used to crave it like a crazed quadruped. But, thanks to “the ‘pause” I no longer really want red meat much. Do you? I really liked my steak. That was my go-to order when we went out, no cheap date, me. But, now I am a seafood and chicken girl….unless you wave a little speck or bacon at me. And here is where this recipe comes in. Bacon and Anything, or broccoli for our purposes here.
▢ Broccoli florets: Figure out how many people you are cooking for and buy 2-4 heads or more. Cut into bite sized pieces. Leave raw, or blanch. Up to you.
▢ 1-2 Carrots, shredded,
▢ 1-1/2 Red Onion sliced thin
▢ Bacon, as much or as little
▢ Sunflower seeds or other nut for crunch to taste
▢ Raisins or other dried fruit for sweetness
Salad Dressing - to coat, not to drench…
▢ ½ cup Greek yogurt or plain (unsweetened, plain preferred)
▢ 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
▢ 2 tablespoons honey
▢ 1 tablespoon water
▢ 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
▢ ½ teaspoon kosher salt
▢ ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Whisk the dressing ingredients together. Then yum yum have some! Bacon and Anything Salad!
Blueberry Buckle…With a name like this, how can it not be fun?
My aunt Suety used to make this recipe. It was big with my family from Buffalo. And why not? It’s super good and not hard to make. Perfect with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
We aren’t a very big family, and a lot smaller all these years later, but when I was small my mom’s aunt and uncle had a home in the Adirondacks and we would spend a week or so with my extended family each summer.
My great uncle was originally from Connecticut and moved to Buffalo sometime after the War. He went to Dartmouth on a GI bill and graduated when he was about 25 years old. He met my great aunt Suety and things got serious fast, as they did back then (no “cow milking” for free). Eventually, Sam invited Sue up to his family’s summer place in upstate New York. Suety was about 26 at the time, which was edging towards ancient in the late 1940s for getting married. She undoubtedly wanted to make a good impression on these Connecticut people. From what I hear she was crazy about Sam, despite being engaged to someone else.
Sue was game to go to the mountains and packed her adorable dresses with matching heels and bags and hopped the train from Buffalo to Westport, NY. Sam picked her up alone and drove her back to Keene Valley. I can imagine the car bumping along up the dirt driveway, rounding the corner to see a porch full of men and women in rocking chairs wearing jeans and flannels yucking it up at Sam’s new fancy girl. They no doubt thought she was a total Prima Dona showing up to the woods in her lace and petticoats. Well, joke was on them because Sue married Sam and they lived each summer with their three kids for a month in the privacy-free, Adirondack house with no indoor plumbing and a lot of bats and mice. By the time I came around there were two toilets in the house and a tub. The shower remained outside in a shed.
There was a huge white enamel gas oven in the high ceilinged kitchen. It was the size of a Buick and that’s where the Blueberry Buckle was made. I don’t have her recipe handy but I’ll bet this one by King Arthur recipe is pretty good:
1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (60g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (57g) butter, at room temperature, at least 65°F
2 cups (240g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (149g) granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (57g) butter, softened
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon King Arthur Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup (113g) milk, at room temperature
2 cups (283g) blueberries, fresh or frozen
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8" square, 9" square, or 9" round cake pan. If you use an 8" square pan or round pan, make sure it's at least 2" deep.
To make the streusel topping: In a small bowl, mix the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Cut or rub in the butter with the side of a fork, two knives or your fingertips until it reaches a crumbly state. Set aside.
To make the cake: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla.
Zucchini Overload? Make Ratatouille!!
It’s true. August and September are huge months for zucchini and frankly, who needs it? Well. They do grow without a lot of effort so we all plant them and they make us feel good about our agronomic skills. Then we complain about having so many. Here is what to do with them!
As much as I would love for my ratatouille to look like the one in the movie (without the rats), I rarely have the time and patience or need to do so. But, by all means, have at it. This version is a LOT prettier to look at. So if you’re having a couple over it might be a nice thing to try. But, if you just have a shitload of zucchini sitting around, I’d stick to the version below.
I am linking to the NYTimes recipe but will give you my rendition as I find so many recipes include too much busywork.
4 garlic cloves
2 medium white onions
3 medium zucchini
2 medium eggplant
3 sweet red peppers, such as bell peppers, red cubanelle or any other sweet variety
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup olive oil, more as needed
2 large heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes (use whole peeled, canned 28 oz is fine)
2 small bay leaves, ripped in half
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt, more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
It’s a good idea to cut up the eggplant, zucchini and onion and roast them on baking sheets in the oven to get the water out of these water-heavy veggies. However, I also think you can throw them into a large pot and sauté them. that gets the water out and gives a nice browning, too. Basically, through all the veg in except the tomatoes and sautée in the olive oil. Then add the can of tomatoes and herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer until done to taste…half hour? Forty mins? Or, until you think it tastes good. Pull out the herb sprigs and enjoy!
Questions? lemme know or hit the comment button!
That’s all for now…
fyi, I am an Amazon Associate. I have to put that in…