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Savor the end of summer while using up your seasonal veggies

(Please don’t let it) end of summer pasta. (Kathy Gunst/Here & Now)
(Please don’t let it) end of summer pasta. (Kathy Gunst/Here & Now)

When I catch a glimpse of the first mums and pumpkins at local farm stands I get a knot of anxiety in my gut. Despite the fact that I haven’t been in school for decades, an old feeling rises: Please don’t let summer end. I’m not ready to go back to school yet.

These days, the sentiment focuses more on the summer growing season. I’m not ready to stop gardening and eating locally-grown foods. Around this time of year, I eat corn nearly every day, sometimes for breakfast (think fritters) and dinner (grilled, steamed, buttered, made into chowder and so much more). And tomatoes. Well, I try to eat them three times a day. Breakfast eggs with sauteed tomato slices dipped in flour and cornmeal. Tomato and basil sandwiches for lunch. And tomato in my dinner salad, galettes, pasta, etc. You get the idea. Even zucchini, the much-taken-for-granted and maligned squash that appears in abundance this time of year, is a welcome sight. When you know something is not going to be around forever, you tend to appreciate it so much more.

(Please don’t let it) end of summer pasta. (Kathy Gunst/Here & Now)

With that thought in mind here are three new recipes that celebrate the (almost) end of summer.

(Please don’t let it) end of summer pasta

The title is long, but the sentiment is to the point. I hate saying goodbye to summer. To my garden and all the gorgeous vegetables, herbs and flowers. To swimming and green grass. Truth is, there’s still plenty left to enjoy. But when the calendar moves close to Labor Day, I feel bereft.

This simple pasta dish celebrates the best of almost end-of-the-season herbs and vegetables. Zucchini is cubed and sauteed with garlic and olive oil. Freshly shucked corn kernels and fresh basil are added for just a minute and then a knob of butter is added to create a creamy sauce. The zucchini, corn and basil are tossed with linguine and topped with chopped August tomatoes. A sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and a flutter of thinly sliced basil tops it all off. Serve with a garden salad and dinner is ready.

Serves 2 to 3.

Ingredients

  • 2½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced or chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into small cubes
  • 2 ears corn, shucked
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced fresh basil, plus 1 or 2 whole basil leaves for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ pound linguine
  • 2 to 3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, cored and cubed, or 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • About ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese


Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil over high heat for the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat 1½ tablespoon of the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the zucchini and cook, without stirring more than once or twice, for about 8 minutes or until the cubes are golden brown and softened.
  3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and stir. Cook for 11 minutes, until al dente.
  4. Meanwhile, place the shucked corn cob in a medium bowl and, using a large sharp knife, cut the kernels off the cob working your way down the cob.
  5. Add the corn kernels, half the sliced basil, salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add ¼ cup of the water from the pot the pasta is cooking in. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the remaining sliced basil and 1 or 2 tablespoons of the butter, depending on how creamy you want the sauce to be. Taste for seasoning adding more salt and pepper if needed.
  6. Drain the pasta and place in a serving bowl or on a platter. Top with the zucchini/corn mixture and arrange the tomatoes around the edges. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of oil on top of the pasta. Place the whole basil leaves in the center. Serve the grated cheese on the side.

Katherine’s zucchini and tomato galette

Katherine’s zucchini and tomato galette. (Kathy Gunst/Here & Now)

This galette, or “free-form” pie or tart, comes from my friend Katherine Alford, author and food writer for the Provincetown Independent.

Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1½ cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water


For the filling:

  • 1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley and/or torn fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan, pecorino or a combination
  • 1 large tomato, cored, chopped, or 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Olive oil for drizzling


Instructions

  1. Make the crust: In a food processor, pulse the flour, and salt. Add the butter and pulse about 15 times, until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add only enough water until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and almost comes together. (Alternatively make by hand: In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add butter and, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse cornmeal. Add enough water so the dough comes together when stirred with a wooden spoon.) Place the dough on a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap, form into a round disc, and chill for at least one hour or overnight.
  2. Grate the zucchini on a box grater into a colander and season with 1½ teaspoons kosher salt. Set aside in the sink or a bowl to drain for at least 15 minutes. Squeeze out the excess liquid.
  3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for about 10 minutes. Put a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat on a large cookie or baking sheet.
  4. Working on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 14-inch circle. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
  5. In a bowl, gently mix the zucchini with flour, parsley and basil, if using, and half the cheese. Place the mixture into the center of the pastry, about 3 inches from the outside edge. Scatter the tomatoes on top and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil and top with the remaining cheese. Fold the edges of the dough in towards the center, leaving the center of vegetables exposed, pleating the dough as you work around the galette. Refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F.
  7. Bake the galette on the middle rack for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350°F and bake until the pastry is golden brown and the tomatoes are bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes more. Let the galette cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a serving plate.

Sauteed corn with miso butter and scallions

Sauteed corn with miso butter and scallions. (Kathy Gunst/Here & Now)

Four main ingredients. Ten minutes. Sweet, earthy, full of umami. This is the ideal recipe for those nights when you just don’t have the energy or the time. Serve with grilled fish or chicken, or alongside a late summer salad.

Serves 2.

Ingredients

  • 1½ tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon white (light) miso
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 scallions, very finely chopped, white and green sections
  • 2 ears corn, shucked with kernels cut off into a bowl*
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt


*Shuck the corn. Place the corn in a large mixing bowl and, using a large, sharp knife, cut down the sides of the cob to release the kernels. (Keep the cobs for making corn stock!)

Instructions

  1. Make the miso butter: in a small bowl mix the butter and miso together.
  2. In a large skillet, heat half the miso butter and the oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add the corn and pepper and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Miso can be quite salty, so tread lightly with the salt. Place in a serving bowl and top with the remaining miso butter.


More zucchini recipes:

  • Click here for recipes for cold zucchini and yogurt soup with mint, summer zucchini and tomato tart, and zucchini, cheddar and herb muffins


More tomato recipes:

  • Click here for recipes for late-season tomato and plum salad with blue cheese, tomato salad with burrata, and tomato and corn tart.
  • Click here for recipes for watermelon and tomato salad, roasted bluefish with tomatoes, onions and basil with a lemon-panko topping, and white beans with tomatoes, peppers and summer herbs.


Additional tomato ideas can be found in Martha Holmberg’s gorgeous new cookbook, “Simply Tomato: 100 Recipes for Enjoying Your Favorite Ingredient All Year Long.” 

More corn recipes

  • Click here for recipes for Mexican-style corn soup, double corn, scallion and herb muffins, and corn, chicken and ginger stir fry.
  • Click here for recipes for corn and potato curry, corn, tomato and basil tart, and grilled corn and chicken tacos on corn tortillas.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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