Monday, June 24, 2013

Zucchini Vegetable Medley

Summer means vegetables fresh from the market or the garden. However, this recipe, although best with freshly picked produce, is fine with supermarket fare as well. Zucchini, corn, tomatoes and fresh basil are sauteed, topped with a little cheese and baked until bubbly. Easy to prepare ahead and bake at the last minute, this dish is wonderful with grilled meats, and really highlights the flavours of summer.

Zucchini Vegetable Medley

2 medium zucchini, cut into bite sized chunks (zucchini varies greatly in size - use about 4 cups)
1 medium onion, diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter
3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of corn kernels - fresh is best, frozen is perfectly fine
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 Tablespoons of fresh basil, sliced thinly
1/2 - 1 cup of freshly grated cheese, either Parmesan or mozzarella

In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter until melted over medium high heat. Add the onion and sauteed until tender crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, stir and saute until the zucchini is beginning to soften. Add the tomatoes and garlic, continue stirring and sauteeing until the tomatoes have lost some of their liquid. Add the corn and cook for about 1 minute.

Remove from the heat, season to taste and stir in the basil leaves. Turn into a shallow baking dish and top with the cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until bubbly and hot. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

It's summer. Strawberries are the first fruits to ripen. Fragrant, juicy and oh, so sweet. I freeze bags of them for use in the winter - for smoothies, desserts, and sauces. Thinking about how I use them, I realized that I often make a sauce for pancakes or for cheesecake and other desserts. How much more convenient it would be to have a sauce ready to go from a jar! 

I had a hard time finding a recipe I wanted. Finally, I concocted one of my own. I'm happy with it, and you might be, too. Sweet strawberries combine with tart rhubarb for a sauce that has deep flavour and isn't overly sweet. 

4 cups sliced rhubarb
4 cups sliced strawberries (depending on the size, I either halve the berries or slice them)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup water
dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large saucepan, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, salt and water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring well. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly. The consistency should be sauce-like. Remove from heat and add the vanilla.

Place into clean jars (about 5 half-pint or 250 ml), cover with sterilized lids and screw on the caps finger tight. Place into a hot water bath and process for 15 minutes. Cool on the counter and ensure that the lids are sealed before storing in a cool dry place.