Zucchini and eggplant carpaccio
3 green zucchini
3 yellow zucchini
2 small Italian eggplants
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
2 shallots, minced
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 habanero chili pepper, seeded and minced
1 cup grated pecorino cheese, about 4 ounces
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
If grilling vegetables, preheat grill or barbecue to medium.
Slice zucchini and eggplants lengthwise into wafer-thin slices. Place in a bowl if serving raw, or grill until softened and grill-marked, about 1 minute a side.
In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and shallots. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add vegetables and toss gently to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Carefully arrange vegetables on plates and sprinkle with chili pepper, cheese and parsley.
Makes 6 servings.
From Earth to Table by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann
Roasted peppers and tomatoes baked with herbs and capers
4 big bell peppers, red, orange, and yellow
1 large beefsteak-type tomato or 11/4 pounds other ripe tomatoes
2 smaller yellow tomatoes
6 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 tablespoon marjoram or 12 large basil leaves
1 plump garlic clove
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
12 Niçoise olives, pitted
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the dish
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Roast peppers until charred (see directions at right). Drop them into a bowl, cover, and set them aside while you prepare everything else. Then wipe off the blackened skin, pull out the seeds, and core and cut them into wide strips. Trim off any ragged ends and set those aside for another use. Score the ends of the tomatoes, then drop them into boiling water for 10 seconds. Remove the skins, halve them crosswise, and gently squeeze out the seeds. Cut the walls into wide pieces. Reserve the cores for a soup or sauce.
Pluck the leaves off the parsley stems. You should have about 1/2 cup of leaves. Chop them finely with marjoram and garlic, then put in a bowl with capers, olives and olive oil. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a small gratin dish. Add tomatoes, peppers and sauce, and gently toss with your hands. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake 20 minutes. Let cool before serving.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Roasting and peeling peppers
Cut off the tops of the peppers, then slice them in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and veins, and press down on each half to flatten. Brush skins with oil, then set them skin side up on a sheet pan. Bake at 400 degrees or broil 5 to 6 inches under the heating element until the skins are wrinkled but not charred, 10 to 20 minutes. Remove and stack the peppers on top of one another to steam for 15 minutes. (Use any of the juice that collects from the steaming peppers in the finished dish, or use it in vinaigrette.)
Next, slip off the skins with your hand or a paper towel. Don't worry about getting every little fleck of skin.
From Local Flavors by Deborah Madison
Blackberry-peach coffee cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2⁄3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups sliced and peeled fresh firm, ripe peaches (about 2 large peaches)
1 cup fresh blackberries
Fresh blackberries and sliced peaches for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare streusel topping: Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add granulated sugar and brown sugar, beating well. Add flour, cinnamon and nutmeg; beat just until blended.
Prepare cake batter: Beat butter at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan; top with sliced peaches and blackberries. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of streusel topping and drop it over fruit.
Bake at 350 degrees for 70 to 80 minutes or until center of cake is set (A wooden pick inserted in center will not come out clean.) Let cool completely on wire rack (about 11/2 hours). Dust with powdered sugar. Garnish if desired.
From Classic Southern Desserts from the editors of Southern Living