If there is one thing I think about when I think about August, it’s boating! But this blog isn’t about boating. It’s about food, and if there is one food-related thing I think of, it’s garden bounty.
August is when gardens all over America are producing massive amounts of veggies to harvest, and it’s often more than most people can make use of (this is the month when your neighbor is likely to bring over a big basket of zucchinis or ask hopefully if you could use any tomatoes). In honor of that rich annual harvest, here are a few recipes that might help you use up what’s in the garden—those extra zucchinis, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and if you are so lucky, watermelons, peaches, and berries!
If you don’t garden, you can also pick up all these things at bargain prices at farmers’ markets and farm stands right now, so take advantage of nutrient-rich produce at its absolute peak of freshness, and revel in that summer harvest. That’s what I’m doing this month! (While boating.)
Summer Harvest Caponata Over Grilled Zucchini
This savory, jammy Italian vegetable mélange is delicious warm, as in this recipe, but it’s also good cold. Store any remaining caponata in the refrigerator, covered. It will keep for up to 3 days. Try spreading it on nut crackers or using it as a sandwich filling (or just eat it with a spoon!).
1 eggplant, diced
2 teaspoon sea salt
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
4 sprigs lemon thyme (you can also use regular thyme)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and heat a charcoal or gas grill on high.
- Place the eggplant in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the sea salt. Let the eggplant sit for about 5 to 10 minutes, then blot off the liquid that seeps out with paper towels. Toss the eggplant with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the black pepper. Spread the eggplant in a glass baking dish greased with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Combine the bell peppers, onion, Kalamata olives, and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add to the glass baking pan and mix with the eggplant.
- Put the pan in the oven and roast the vegetables for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until everything is very soft.
- While the vegetables are cooking, brush the zucchini halves with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and place them cut-side-down on the grill. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, then remove to a plate and set aside.
- Remove the pan from the oven and stir the vegetables to fully combine into a spreadable chunky paste. Slather the caponata over the grilled zucchini and top with thyme sprigs. Serve warm.
Grilled Summer Peaches with Lemony Field Green Salad and Balsamic Glaze
If you haven’t tried grilled fruit yet, maybe this is the summer to go bold! Grilling brings out the sugary sweetness of fruit, caramelizing it in a beautiful and delicious way. These grilled peaches are the perfect foil for peppery arugula with lemon.
4 semi-ripe peaches, cut in half
2 tablespoons avocado oil
A few dashes each of sea salt and black pepper
4 cups spring mix
2 cups arugula
8 basil leaves—mince 4 of the leaves and leave the other 4 whole
Juice of half a lemon
Balsamic vinegar, to taste
- Heat a gas or charcoal grill on high.
- In a medium mixing bowl, toss the peaches with one tablespoon of the avocado oil, a dash of sea salt, and a dash of pepper.
- In a large mixing or salad bowl, combine the spring mix, arugula, and the minced basil leaves. Drizzle with the lemon juice and the remaining tablespoon of avocado oil, along with a few more dashes of sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
- Place peaches on the grill and grill for 2 to 3 minutes, or until there are beautiful grill marks.
- Remove the peaches from the grill and arrange them on top of the salad. Drizzle everything with the Balsamic vinegar and garnish with 4 whole basil leaves. Serve immediately.
Technically, ceviche is “cooked” by the lime juice, but just to be 100% safe, I like to cook the seafood (shrimp in this case) first, or buy it already cooked, then add the citrusy and herbal flavors.
1 pound cooked medium-sized shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into large chunks
2 tomatoes, diced
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 avocado, diced
½ English cucumber, diced
½ red or white onion, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons orange juice
Juice of four limes
1 whole cucumber, sliced into rounds for “chips”
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the shrimp, all the tomatoes, avocado, English cucumber, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and garlic.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the orange and lime juice, then drizzle over the ceviche. Mix well.
- Serve immediately with cucumber “chips” for dipping, or chill for up to 2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.
Berry Bounty Breakfast
Sparkling with vibrant, luscious summer fruit, this easy breakfast (or impressive dessert) will fill you with health-enhancing antioxidants that taste like a very special treat.
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup diced watermelon
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
2 papayas, cut lengthwise and deseeded to serve as “bowls”
4 sprigs of mint for garnish
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, and orange juice. Stir carefully to avoid muddling the berries. They should be lightly combined and coated in orange juice.
- Place the mixture of berries into the emptied center of the papaya “bowls” and garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve immediately.