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Garden Goodies

Vegetable season is upon us. Soon we’ll pick tender summer squash, and beautiful tomatoes that are full of flavor and packed with vitamins. Colorful platters of assorted crudités served with your favorite dips make great appetizers and tasty light lunches.
I’ve included several of my favorite ways to cook up summer’s bounty. The charred Roasted Peppers have a wonderful flavor and make a great addition to an outdoor meal. Eggplant is delicious any way you fix it, but I’m partial to the Baked Eggplant featured this month. Enjoy May and bring out all those great vegetable recipes.

ROASTED PEPPERS 

8 to 10 medium, plump, wrinkle-free, smooth- skinned peppers (yellow,
red, and green)

4 Tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, chopped

Salt to taste

3 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1-1/2 Tablespoons dry breadcrumbs

Roast peppers until skins are blackened or charred by placing over the flame of a gas stove or roast in very hot oven. Remove from heat source, and allow to cool until they can be handled. Peel and remove stems and seeds. (You can also place them in a brown paper bag for 10 minutes for easier removal of skins.) Slice peppers into 1/2-inch wide strips.

Heat oil and garlic in large skillet. Sauté until garlic is golden brown. Add pepper strips and cook over medium heat about 15 minutes, stirring gently several times. Add salt to taste, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Stir well and serve immediately. Serves 6.

SHAKER STYLE PICKLED CARROTS

1 quart raw carrots, sliced

2 medium onions, sliced

2 cups wine vinegar

1 Tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Cook carrots and onions together in wine vinegar, about 8 to 10 minutes, until firm yet done. Be careful not to overcook. Remove vegetables from liquid and set aside. Place remaining ingredients into the liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmering and return vegetables to liquid. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Cool and then chill thoroughly before serving. Serve using slotted spoon. Serves 6-8.

BROWNED TURNIPS

8 turnips

2 cups chicken stock

3 to 4 Tablespoons butter

3 or 4 Tablespoons brown sugar (according to taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cube turnips. In medium pan, place turnips in chicken stock and boil until slightly tender. Don’t overcook. Heat butter in skillet. Add partially cooked cubes of turnips and sprinkle with brown sugar. Turn and brown the turnips. Add salt and pepper to taste. To keep warm, add a couple tablespoons of water and cover until serving time. Serves 4.

BAKED EGGPLANT

1 large eggplant

1/2 medium onion

2 Tablespoons butter 

3 Tablespoons chopped parsley

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Butter-flavored crackers (not saltine)

Butter for topping

Remove eggplant top, cut eggplant in half lengthwise, and scrape out insides, leaving 1/4 inch around the sides and bottom of shell. Boil the removed eggplant pulp in salted water until it is tender. Drain thoroughly and chop. Sauté the onion in butter and add chopped parsley. Mix with the cooked eggplant pulp, add soup, Worcestershire sauce, and enough crackers to make good stuffing consistency. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, remembering to go easy on the salt since you’ll be topping with butter crackers. Pile filling into eggplant shells, sprinkle more cracker crumbs on top, and dot with butter. Bake at 375° for 30 to 35 minutes. Serves 4-6.

POTATOES O’BRIEN

2 cups thinly sliced raw potatoes

1 quart boiling water

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped green pepper

1/3 cup chopped pimento

3 Tablespoons melted butter

1/3 cup flour

2 cups warm milk

5 ounces (a cupful) grated American cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Drop the thinly sliced raw potatoes into the quart of boiling water. Allow the water to return to boiling point. Add chopped onion and green pepper, and let the water come to boiling point again. Remove from heat and drain thoroughly. Add the chopped pimento and mix gently.

In the top of a double boiler or heavy saucepan, blend the melted butter and flour. Add the warm milk, and cook and stir until the sauce is smooth. Add grated cheese, stirring until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Fold this sauce into the potato mixture.

Pour all this into a 2-quart casserole. Place casserole in pan of hot water. Bake in a 350° oven for 1-1/2 hours, or until the potatoes are tender. Do not cover. Potatoes can also be cooked in individual casseroles. Serves 6 to 8.

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