Summer Supper: Crisper Cleanout!

Posted: August 23, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

My favorite thing about the summer is when it gets hot and sultry out, and tomatoes burst forth with all their colorful, vibrant glory. I mean, look at this:
Composed Salad - Tomatoes

This is a salad (ok, in my world, it’s a salad) involving items that we got in our CSA share this week – 2 big beautiful heirloom tomatoes sliced, and a handful of beautiful little yellow baby tomatoes cut in half. Some parsley, also from the CSA. Salt and pepper. That’s literally all it is, and it’s the most beautiful thing ever. This salad is what I love best about summer. The funky old tomatoes, green and brownish and yellow, orange, pink, red, multicolored and mottled, they’re all finally coming ripe, and being their amazing selves. I love tomato season.
Fun fact: when Jesse and I started dating, he told me that he didn’t like tomatoes. I told him, honestly, that what he disliked was crappy tomatoes. A good tomato is a joy, and judging by the happy look on his face when I gave him his plate tonight, he has learned that lesson well.

The other amazing thing about this particular summertime is our CSA share. Where before, on a night like Sunday night, I would have needed to go to the store to get something to make for dinner, I could just open the crisper and see what veggies we had, or had left from previous weeks. I haven’t had this ready access to fresh, excellent vegetables since I was a kid and my parents and grandparents had gardens. And while just a week or two ago I was bemoaning the fucking omnipresence of zucchini (seriously, there was none this week in the share. I did a happy dace), Sunday night it was a lifesaver to have those squashes in the crisper.

Because it meant that I could make squash cakes to go with our tomato salad, thereby giving us a full on vegetarian meal, complete with the inclusion of fruity beer and cheese!
Summer Dinner

Squash Cakes
adapted from Epicurious

I pretty much stick to the recipe when I make these cakes, which I have made a couple times now. I hope to use the same recipe to make sweet potato cakes in the future, because sweet potatoes with some curry spices and cheese…. just the thought makes me happy!! In fact, it makes me wonder if I could do this with butternut squash and white cheddar, or acorn squash and goat cheese. The possibilities seem endless!!

Squash cakes.

I grated up 1 small zucchini, 1 yellow goose-neck squash, and 1 pattypan squash, put them in the colander, and sprinkled them with salt. Then, I squished the shredded squash with my hands, squeezing out the water after the half-hour was up, and rolling it up in a dishtowel to squeeze out some more water. When making the batter, I used 1/3 of a cup of Bluepoint Blueberry Ale, because I’m convinced that the quarter-cup I added the first time wasn’t enough. I also added 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne, because I’m a punk.
From there, the only real change I made this time was using shredded mozzarella instead of goat cheese, because it was what I had in the fridge. I really like the way the mozzarella melts, and gets kind of crispy, so it’s a little like you’re eating pizza or the best grilled cheese. It’s also a little like you’re eating a latke, only a latke jacked up about 10 degrees. In fact, I bet this would be really good with straight up potatoes too, if you could squeeze out enough water, so if anyone’s interested in the attempt, let me know.

This was an awesome Sunday night supper, and used up a lot of the veggies that I was wondering what to do with, and how I could use them before they became a waste. Hopefully it can help you get rid of some of your excess zucchini, or help you appreciate your summer tomatoes a little better. Or maybe both.

Any summer favorites from you guys out there?

Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.