The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 24, 2004


Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash ready for the dinner table

Beverly Burak has a few more days, or hopefully weeks, to tend her farm stand on Brook Street before the first fall frost. (Photo by Mike Quayle)
I don't know about you, but for most of us local gardeners, these are the days we cherish. As produce comes tumbling out of the garden, we check the weather channel and keep an eye on the outdoor thermometer when we rise in the morning. How much longer will we have before the first frost of the season arrives? The overnight low early Monday morning registered a cool 45 degrees. However, on the radio the forecast for the week predicted temperatures would be rising. With that information in mind, I gave a sigh of relief. There was still time to enjoy eating that fresh produce coming directly from the backyard garden.

I started off the week with my favorite lunchtime meal — a tasty bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, something I would die for in the middle of a cold frosty winter day. Then, with several hours to spare before dinner one evening, I gathered up enough basil leaves to make several batches of pesto to store in small quantities in the back of my freezer.

I was still enjoying the leftover cucumber soup that I had made for guests who had come for the weekend. Green peppers will be big enough to stuff for dinner this coming weekend. There are still healthy leaves of Swiss Chard out back and the cucumbers are large and drooping off the garden fence. If I'm lucky there will be a few more days of fresh tomato salad, zucchini squash, and the makings for green pesto sauce to smother spaghetti in.

Featured here are recipes from the Mosquito staff, suggesting ways to savor the last days of summer with delicious vegetables from the garden.

Cucumber Soup (hot or cold)

1. Peel, halve, seed and thinly slice cucumbers.
2. Simmer onion, garlic, cucumbers and potato in butter for 10 minutes.
3. Add chicken broth and vinegar, cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Add seasonings and 1/4 cup dill.
4. Puree in food processor or blender.*
5. Serve hot or cold, topped with a thin slice of cucumber, sprinkling of dill and dollop of sour cream or yogurt.
* Add extra bit of chicken broth or water if soup is too thick. Correct seasonings.
Grilled Zucchini

Sautéed Apples

Carrots and Cranberries


Chicken with Tomato Marengo à la Napolean

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix the flour, salt and tarragon and coat chicken with the seasoned flour. Reserve remaining flour mixture.

3. In a large frying pan heat the oil and butter, add the chicken and brown on all sides.

4. Remove the chicken to a heavy casserole. Add the reserved flour to the fat remaining in the frying pan and, using a wire whisk, gradually stir in the wine. When the sauce is thickened and smooth, pour over chicken in casserole.

5. Add tomatoes, garlic and mushrooms. Using heavy casserole lid, cover and bake about 45 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with rice.

Curried Butternut Soup

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Arrange squash in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray and bake for 45 minutes or until tender.

3. Heat a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add apple, onion, celery, and bay leaf; sauté 10 minutes. Stir in curry powder and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in squash, broth, and salt.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Partially mash mixture with a potato masher until thick and chunky and stir well (or process in food processor in batches until smooth, if desired). Ladle into bowls and top each serving with 1-2 tablespoons of the cheese.

Hot Spiced Punch

1. Place first 3 ingredients in a double layer of cheesecloth and tie securely.

2. Combine cheesecloth bag, cider, and all ingredients but the rum in a large stockpot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

3. Discard the cheesecloth bag. (Punch may be placed in a crock pot at this point to keep warm.) Serve with rum, if desired.

Baked Cucumbers

1. Peel the cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and cut the halves lengthwise into strips, about 1/2 inch wide and 2 inches long. Toss the cucumber strips in a bowl with the vinegar, salt and sugar. Allow to stand at least 30 minutes or several hours. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Toss the cucumbers in a baking dish with the butter, herbs, onions and pepper. Set uncovered in a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for about one hour, tossing two or three times. Cucumbers should be tender but still retain some crispness.
3. Sprinkle with minced parsley and serve hot.
Caponata: a Cold Eggplant Appetizer

1. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and allow to stand for 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

2. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a 12- to 14-inch skillet. Add celery and cook 10 minutes. Stir in onions and cook another eight to ten minutes or until soft. Transfer to a bowl.

3. Pour 1/4 cup oil into the skillet and sauté the eggplant over high heat for eight minutes. Return celery and onions to the skillet. Stir in vinegar, sugar, drained tomatoes, tomato paste, green olives, capers, anchovies. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered, with stirring, for 15 minutes.

4. Stir in pine nuts. Correct seasoning by adding salt, pepper and vinegar to taste. When cooled slightly, transfer to plastic containers and refrigerate or freeze.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito