OCTOBER

OCTOBER

August 24, 2011

Summer Dinners...A Bounty of Color!

There’s no finer time for eating than late
 August in Maine!



We love to visit this local nursery in Scarborough! They not only have the most beautiful plantings, they feature a bounty of fresh summer produce of local farmers, including their own, of  fruits and vegetables. They even have Amish butter which I cannot wait to try! The nursery commented that the gardens in Maine were some of the best they have had in many years thanks to severe spring rains and these hot sunny days of July and August. We picked up some glorious eggplants, zucchini, crooknecks, vidalia's, tomatoes, and peppers!



I pulled out some of Estelle's best veggie dinners which are on the menu for the weekend. Even your children are gonna love these! So get into the kitchen and prepare this quick gratin, add a salad, a bottle of cold Chardonnay, a big bowl of linguine and crusty french bread....voila', you are transported to.......Positano perhaps!! Yeah....that's the ticket!



Estelle's Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Gratin
3 small to medium eggplant
¼ cup olive oil
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons very thinly sliced fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Panko or breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each eggplant in foil and bake on the middle shelf for about 30 to 40 minutes (depending on the variety), or until just tender in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Cut the ends off the eggplant and cut into thin (about ½-inch) slices, and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each eggplant in foil and bake on the middle shelf for about 30 to 40 minutes (depending on the variety), or until just tender when you touch it (or gently squeeze it) in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Cut the ends off the eggplant and cut into thin (about ½-inch) slices, and set aside. Lightly oil a large gratin dish, broiler pan, or cookie sheet with a rim. The idea is to create layers along each edge, alternating a slice of eggplant next to a slice of zucchini next to a slice of tomato next to a slice of mozzarella, in any order that appeals to you. Repeat with all the eggplant, zucchini, tomato and mozzarella creating two to three rows of alternating vegetables, depending on the size of your pan. Sprinkle the garlic, scallions, basil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper evenly on top. Drizzle 3/4 cup of the Parmesan on top and drizzle with the remaining oil. You can cover and refrigerate the gratin for up to 6 hours at this point. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the gratin on the middle shelf for about 45 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the zucchini feels tender when tested with a small, sharp knife. Sprinkle the top of the dish with the Panko or breadcrumbs, the remaining Parmesan, and spoon some of the juices from the bottom of the pan on top of the breadcrumbs. Bake another 5 to 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, the cheese is bubbling and the dish is very hot. Remove from the oven and serve hot with linguine and french bread!



My Favorite Barefoot Contessa Cauliflower Gratin
1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs



Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan. Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.













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