Category: peaches


In those menus where “vegetable plate” is included in the title, it’s pretty much just that–a plate of vegetables. But it is anything but haphazard in design. I strive to achieve an interesting balance of tastes and textures on the plate that appeals from a gustatory as well as visual perspective. And I like to try new and interesting combinations.

The highlight of tonight’s menu is a bean and tomato dish that I created simply because I thought the flavors would be nice together. And they were! A few thin slices of onion and a peeled and chopped yellow tomato went into a skillet with a bit of olive oil and stewed together over low heat until the tomatoes were saucy but still chunky. Meanwhile, sliced Romano beans were blanched briefly in boiling water until just crisp tender. At that point the beans are drained and added to the skillet with the tomato mixture and everything is heated together for just a minute or two before serving. A bit of sea salt and a grinding of fresh pepper was all that was needed to finish the dish. Superb if I do say so myself!

July 24th Vegetable Plate

Oven-roasted new potatoes split and topped with a dollop of sour cream
Romano beans and tomatoes Chez Edouard
Fried okra breaded with Southwestern-spiced cornmeal
Yeast rolls

Peach and blueberry cobbler with whipped cream

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Vegetable Gumbo

Fresh okra was available at the farmers’ market this weekend and I bought a sizable amount to enjoy. In the south this vegetable is often enjoyed breaded or battered and deep-fried. And I do like it served that way which provides textural interest to a summer mixed vegetable plate. But another well-loved dish that comes to mind is the Louisiana favorite–gumbo. Most gumbo recipes include some sort of meat protein and certainly do not need to include okra. What does seem consistent however, is that those that include okra usually omit the traditional flour paste roux. Okra has a thickening property that produces a similar result to that of the roux. My vegetarian version celebrates the bounty of midsummer.

For dessert, a peach pie that’s a bit different. The bottom crust is made of traditional pie dough, but the top is covered with crisp topping including ground pecans, brown sugar, flour, and butter.

Vegetable gumbo of onions, spicy peppers, celery, tomatoes, corn, summer squash, okra, and black-eyed peas with Cajun seasonings served over rice
Hushpuppies
Garden lettuce salad

Peach pie with crisp topping served with whipped cream

Bread and Butter Pickles Chez Edouard

Bread and Butter Pickles Chez Edouard

So what does this photo have to do with tonight’s menu? Nothing really. But yesterday I made these jars of bread and butter pickles and this morning I felt inclined to take a photo. Next fall and winter, I’ll be enjoying these as well as the dill pickles that I have been preserving along the course of the summer thus far. I’m anxious to make relish next weekend.

But on to tonight’s menu. On a hot summer day, a soup is probably the last thing most folks would think of cooking for dinner, but the abundance of fresh produce makes this a particularly wonderful time to combine the vegetables on hand with some fresh water, simmer until the flavors marry, and serve with a cornmeal muffin and a side salad. Simple, direct, and of the moment.

Summer vegetable soup of tomatoes, squash, onions, garlic, corn, new potatoes, and green beans garnished with finely diced banana peppers
Cornbread muffins
Garden salad with creamy dill dressing

A perfect peach

Tonight I entertained friends with a dinner predominantly based on vegetables from the farmers’ market and herbs from my deck garden. Yesterday the market was brimming with a wide selection of fresh offerings which provided inspiration for the meal.

The parfaits I made for the family 4th celebration earlier in the week were such a hit, I decided to experiment further with the idea. Tonight’s rendition involved gelled pureed peaches along with the vanilla panna cotta. Again, another well-received dessert offering. Technically speaking, the plain gelatin I used was derived from animal sources, so that keeps the meal from being 100% vegetarian. The vegetarian alternative (agar agar flakes), is not available in my area but if you can find it you will achieve similar results.

Appetizer:
Roasted mushrooms stuffed with Mississippi caviar

Main Course:
Roasted red bell pepper halves stuffed with orzo, chopped tomato, artichoke hearts, and basil and garlic infused ricotta topped with fresh mozzarella
Roasted baby summer squash
Romano beans with extra virgin olive oil
Yeast dill rolls Chez Edouard

Dessert:
Peaches-and-cream parfait garnished with fresh blueberries and served with pecan sandies

Yesterday, the local farmers’ market was brimming with the first harvest of early summer vegetables. Among them: cucumbers, summer squash, tender green beans, new potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and sugar snap peas. Tonight I used several of those offerings for this week’s vegetable plate.

The green bean and potato dish is quite different from that of my southern upbringing (in which the beans were cooked until mushy and the potatoes were added during the last 20 minutes of cooking). Instead, I reverse the order by cooking the tiny new potatoes first until almost fork tender and then the tender young green beans are added for the last few minutes of cooking with a knob of butter to season the dish. The beans retain their crisp, succulent nature and provide a wonderful, crunchy foil to the soft texture of the potatoes.

Roly-Poly summer squash benefit from a quick dunk in buttermilk before being breaded in seasoned cornmeal and oven-fried while the bread bakes. The cucumbers were transformed into bread-and-butter pickles yesterday and although they will improve with more aging, they were more than acceptable tonight. The addition of freshly-made coleslaw completed the main course.

A deviled egg
Green beans and new potatoes with a butter glaze
Oven-fried Roly-Poly squash
Coleslaw and bread-and-butter pickles
Spoonbread

Baked peach crisp with a drizzle of heavy cream

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