that time of year when Cortona vegetable gardens are producing such an
abundance that it can be baffling to figure out ways to utilize it all. Between
hot summer days, guests, and a desire to keep things simple, it’s a challenge.
Hopefully these recipes will inspire, and jumpstart your thinking of all the
Zucchini for breakfast? When it tastes
better than donuts, fritters, or regular pancakes, why not?
Serves 2, can be easily doubled
3 small zucchinis (@ 1 1/2 cups-375ml), grated
1 teaspoon (15ml) salt, divided
¾ cup (185ml) all purpose (“1”) flour
¼ cup (60ml) cornmeal flour
1 tablespoon (15ml) sugar
1 tablespoon (15ml) cornstarch
1 teaspoon (5ml) baking powder
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) baking soda
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon (15ml) yogurt
1 cup (250ml) milk
1 large egg
1 tablespoon (15ml) butter
Corn, vegetable, or canola oil for
Put grated zucchini in a colander. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) salt and
let drain for at least 10 minutes.
Put all dry ingredients, including remaining salt, in a small bowl and whisk
Whisk yogurt in a medium bowl before whisking in the milk and egg.
Use your hands to squeeze small clumps of the grated zucchini over the sink
until no moisture is left. You will have about half the amount of zucchini you
started with. Add to milk mixture.
Melt butter in a frying skillet large enough to hold 4 pancakes. When butter is
melted, pour it into the milk. Whisk, then add dry ingredients and whisk until
Pour enough oil in the skillet that it about 1/3rd inch (.85cm) deep
and heat over medium high until oil shimmers. (Note: rather than semi-deep frying,
you can rub a small amount of oil in the pan and prepare the cakes like normal
pancakes, however frying them is so much more delicious.)
Make 4 pancakes by pouring about 1/3 cup (80ml) batter for each pancake in the
pan. Work quickly. Adjust heat to keep from burning while frying for about 2
minutes on each side until crispy and brown. Plate. Add more oil if needed and
repeat, using up the batter. Serve with butter and maple syrup.
Nothing cools off the summer heat more than
a cucumber. By combining cucumbers with cantaloupe melon, you have a meaty
salad that is both satisfying and slightly unusual. Pair it with grilled meats,
fish, or the Zucchini Frittata.
Dressing: Prepare up to 3 days in advance
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (15ml) white balsamic or
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon (.63ml) each: salt, pepper,
2 cups (500ml) peeled and cubed English
2 cups (500ml) peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped and toasted
Combine all dressing ingredients in a small jar and
Put cucumber, melon, and mint in a bowl. Toss with dressing. Taste. Adjust
vinegar, salt or chili powder if you want a more pronounced flavor. Sprinkle
with pistachios and serve.
Grilled Vegetables: Adapted from my cookbook,
Just Cook with Sally
Grilled vegetables are succulent whether
charred over an open flame, charcoal, or a gas grill. Flavor is further
enhanced with dry rubs or marinades. Vegetables with higher moisture content
benefit from dry rubs while drier vegetables are more flavorful marinated. If
you marinate the vegetable, use some marinade for basting before and after
cooking. Serve a single vegetable, such as eggplant, or make combinations such
as eggplants, zucchini, onions, peppers. Great hot, warm or room temperature.
Grilled vegetables are terrific combined with pasta, either hot or as a pasta
salad. Use your imagination!
the vegetables (count on 1 cup of vegetables per person) and either:
• rub them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
• dry rub them with dry rub of your choice
• marinate them with olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and fresh herbs for
between 10 minutes and 2 hours. Use a marinade or dry rub that complements your
meal’s flavor profile.
a fairly hot grill to ensure a delicious char. Grill vegetable, resisting the
urge to turn them until they are slightly charred. Regulate the position of the
vegetables to keep from burning. If you have marinade, brush the vegetables
with the marinade. Cook until al dente, remembering that each vegetable requires
a different cooking time.
to a platter and brush with either olive oil or the marinade, sprinkle with
fresh herbs or freshly squeezed citrus juice, or drizzle with a finishing
sauce. Dipping sauces are also good. Serve straight off the grill for
accompaniments to main courses. Cool to room temperature for including on a
absolutely need this in your refrigerator. It’s your secret ingredient for
jazzing up meals. Serve it with crusty bread or as a bruschetta and watch
people gobble it up; add it as a topping to make hummus or white bean dip more
interesting; warm it and toss in with pasta, basil, toasted pine nuts and
parmesan for a main course; let it perk up grilled vegetables; the tomato
infused olive oil is dynamite in dressings. It will keep refrigerated in a
closed container for days.
9 cups (2,250ml) cherry tomatoes—red,
yellow, or mixed
1 tablespoon (15ml) coarse salt
1 teaspoon (5ml) dried oregano
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) red chili flakes
4 cloves minced fresh garlic
1 cup (250ml) olive oil
Preheat oven to 300*F (149C). Place all ingredients in a large
ceramic/porcelain baking pan and toss. Put in oven.
Cook over low temperature for 4 hours, tossing the mixture with a flat wooden
spoon from time to time. Remove from oven, and use as wanted, refrigerating in
a container with a lid. Reheat or serve at room temperature.
Serves 4 as a Starter, 2 as a Main
For an easy lunch or a hearty breakfast,
consider making a frittata. The zucchini in this pairs perfectly with feta. I
used fennel fronds as the fresh herb, but fresh dill, oregano, marjoram, or a
combination of parsley and chives are also good options. Serve this plain or
topped with a salsa or dab of sour cream.
3 small zucchinis, halved and sliced
6 medium mushrooms, cleaned, halved, and
¼ red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (15ml) butter
¼ cup (60ml) milk
1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh herb of
choice—fennel fronds or dill are excellent
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons (30ml) Parmesan cheese,
8 ounces (226gr) feta cheese
Preheat oven to 375*F (190*C). Prepare the vegetables. Melt butter in an 8”-10”
(20-23cm) cast iron or oven-proof, non-stick skillet. Add vegetables and a
pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté over medium-to-medium high heat until soft,
about 6-8 minutes. Regulate heat so all liquid evaporates but vegetable do not
get too brown.
Beat eggs, milk, 1 tablespoon (15ml) of Parmesan and ½ teaspoon (2.5ml) each of
salt and pepper in a bowl.
When vegetables are soft, toss them with a wooden spoon making certain nothing
is sticking, adjust heat to medium, then quickly crumble feta on top, keeping
pieces about the size of the vegetables. Immediately pour the eggs over evenly
without stirring. Sprinkle the top with the remaining tablespoon of Parmesan.
Cook undisturbed until bottom is set, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer pan to oven
and bake until set, about 4-5 minutes. Top should be slightly brown and have a
spring to it when you poke it with a finger. Remove from oven and either serve
in wedges from pan or carefully invert on a plate after running a spatula under