Italian recipe · no-dough

Vegetable Post

So, vegetables. Summer vegetables. Especially if they’re from your garden, grown by the loving hands of your loving Granny. What to do with the affluent harvest? Here are my suggestions for the vegetable part of the summer meals we’ve been having recently. The fruit part is here.

Let’s hop on our journey through VEGETABLES.

First stop:

Apparently Italian and definitely very tasty, Eggplant-Ricotta Bake adapted from prouditaliancook.blogspot.com will make a large dish full of tasty summer ingredients!

And again, as it was with two courgette bakes, I happened to make a successful substitution for the original ingredients, using the French combo cheese (actually, this time it was Danish, but I hope you understand what I mean – the soft creamy white cheese product, as it’s called here in Russia, with the addition of vegetable oil which is not permitted in the CHEESE) + about 200g of Adygea cheese + a dollop of 20% sour cream. As for the eggplants (=aubergines), I had only three baby ones, so I decided to add 1 large zucchini (=courgette) as well. I did not use grated cheese in between the layers of aubergines, only on top (and it was of course no Italian cheese, but a Belorussian one, we get lots of their dairy produce here). Instead of basil I chopped up some fresh coriander. As for the Marinara Sauce required for the recipe, I made my own tomato sauce in the newly acquired wok (I used up the three dying tomatoes, baby carrots pictured above, garlic, onions, dried thyme and also a small carton of crushed tomatoes). As for the seasoning, the combo cheese was quite salty already, but nonetheless I ventured to add some more salt & pepper + a tzatziki seasoning we all forgot about in my family.

The zucchini got roasted just all right together with the aubergines (I placed them on our wire rack with a tray underneath to catch the drippings).

You can see some green parts hidden in there – they are the slices of the courgettes. This is a very successful dish, believe me, the result is amazing. And also even my Father liked it, him who can barely stand a tiny piece of cauliflower in his soup! (this is why we usually whiz the whole vegetables in the blender, at least we can thus disguise some healthy stuff=)

The dish I used for baking was quite big while I did not have enough aubergines, so there were only three layers of them, but there was a thick salty cheese top layer to make up for it! mmmmmmm =)

Second stop:

A wonderful Felicity’s Perfect Pea Soup from www.guardian.co.uk which we ate cold. The history behind this soup is this: my parents went to the nearby field on bikes and found some peas… =) Please, don’t let anyone know!

Here’s what I added to the soup that was different from the perfect recipe=) :

instead of spring onions I used an onion + quite enough cloves of garlic + some baby carrots from the garden. I didn’t use whole pods as there appeared to be some nasty little worms in some of them;) I omitted bacon and made a vegetable stock instead. I didn’t add extra sugar nor lemon juice.

The result: A very unusual taste for our Russian palates as when it comes to a pea soup, it’s usually warm and everybody hates it right from the kindergarten years! =)

This is the pea purée before adding it back to the stock (I definitely used much more water):

We decided to eat the soup cold as it WAS hot (yesterday it was pouring with rain!) and the soup was very soon over!

Should these pods be fresh from your garden, especially at the early stage, you can always eat the milky peas raw, mmm!

Speaking about cold summer soups, I also made this Beetroot and Pear (!!) Soup from souvlakiforthesoul.com. I used some leeks instead of celery stalk and much more vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. The pears are hardly ‘visible’ with that much of beets but the overall effect is very nice especially with bits of that combo cheese! (although unfortunately nothing came out of our summer garden for this recipe…)

Third stop on our vegetable journey:

My own way of making Baked Baby Potatoes freshly dug out at our dacha =) was the following:

Wash and scrape all the dirt off the potatoes (any amount you want, choose the smaller ones, they are easier to bake) leaving the skins on (they have the vitamins they say!), see how lovely they are already!

Now rub the skins with olive oil mixed with some coarse salt and pepper, place the potatoes on a greased dish, put some herb sprigs and onion rings and perhaps minced garlic (which will burn anyway) and bake for at least 30 mins I guess – depending on the size. Make sure to give them a shake from time to time for even roasting and consider the following:

I switched on the converter option of my oven for some time as I realised the potatoes were not going to be ready for the lunch, which started the onion burning. So as a solution was to add some hot water which helped bake the potatoes and also caramelized the onion! The potatoes were not crunchy as I wanted them to be as a result, but they were cooked through and very tasty, with sour cream and some salad on the side =)

Wish you lovely summer baking!

G.

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