Green Heron Tools Blog

The perfect late-summer pizza

It would be hard to overstate the size of our harvest this year (!). Just back from the Independent Garden Center show in Chicago last week, we’re hustling to cook, can, freeze, share, EAT all the delicious tomatoes and other produce that were busy . . . uh . . . producing while we were gone. Here’s another of our favorite late-summer recipes. Sauce and topping amounts are enough for two pizzas, so we always enjoy one and freeze the other for later. Enjoy!

Pizza Santa Fe Style, courtesy of Renee Shepherd & Fran Raboff’s book More Recipes from a Kitchen Garden

One 12-inch commercial pizza crust, ready to bakepizza santa fe cropped

Sauce:

1 1/2 c. lightly packed cilantro leaves

1/2 c. lightly packed parsley leaves

2 cloves garlic

1 jalapeno chile, halved, seeded

1 scallion, cut in pieces (we used onion instead)

1 T lemon juice

1/2 c. olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Toppings:

2 anaheim or other mild green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch strips (we used poblanos, for a bit hotter taste)

5 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, sliced (or substitute green tomatoes, as we did this year)

4 small plum tomatoes, sliced and drained on paper towels

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

salt & freshly ground pepper

1 T chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 t. dried

2 c. grated jack cheese

Combine all sauce ingredients except salt & pepper in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place pizza crust on a large baking sheet. Brush the shell with the sauce. Arrange strips of chiles, radiating out from the center. Arrange slices of tomatillos, tomatoes and red onions in between. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and oregano. Top with grated cheese and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until edges are crisp, and serve hot.

2 stellar recipes for a stellar eggplant year

It’s been a strange summer here in eastern Pennsylvania — flooding rains, super-hot temperatures followed almost immediately by an unseasonable  return to “autumn” . . . in other words, a banner year for some crops and a challenging one for others.

Rosa bianca egglplant

Rosa bianca egglplant

Square in the “challenging” category are our 15 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, whose flavor’s been good (though at times not as sweet as it could be, due, we think, to too much rain) but whose shoulders have cracked and scabbed due, we know, to too much rain. But it’s been the best year ever for sweet peppers and eggplants (!). Here are two of our favorite recipes for making good use of the latter, with a little help from the former . . .

Indian Roasted Eggplant Soupfrom Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special, by The Moosewood Collective

1/4 cup olive oil, more or less as desired

2 medium eggplants (about 2 lb.)

2 red bell peppers (about 3/4 lb.)

3 tomatoes (about 1 lb.)

sprinkling of salt and ground black pepper

1 3/4  c. reduced-fat coconut milk (1 14-oz. can) (we use high-test :-)

1 t. salt

1 1/2 to 3 cups water (we use veggie or chicken stock)

Spice mixture

2 t. olive oil

1/2 t. black mustard seeds

1 t. cumin seeds

1 t. ground coriander

1/4 t. ground cinnamon

1/8 t. ground cardamom

1/4 t. cayenne or red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly brush two baking sheets with some of the olive oil. Halve the eggplants and bell peppers lengthwise. Stem the tomatoes and halve them crosswise. Place all of the vegetables cut side up on the baking sheets. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes, until dark brown and soft or, for a smoky flavor, even slightly charred. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

2 gorgeous peppersMeanwhile, in a small skillet on medium heat, warm 2 t. of olive oil. Add the black mustard and cumin seeds and simmer until they begin to pop. Reduce heat to low and add the coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, and cayenne or red pepper flakes. Stirring constantly, heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant, taking care not to burn the spices. Remove from heat and set aside.

When the roasted veggies are cool enough to handle, remove their skins. In batches in a blender, puree the vegetables with the coconut milk, salt, and enough water or stock to make the soup the thickness you like. Place the puree in a nonreactive soup pot and gently heat. Stir in half the reserved spice mixture and then add more to taste. (We usually add it all!)

Eggplant Parmesan, from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison

This is an easy, healthier version of traditional eggplant parmesan — no breading or frying but great taste!

2 medium eggplants, about 1 1/2 lb.

salt and freshly milled pepper

1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh tomato sauce (we use our regular marinara)

8 large basil leaves, torn into pieces

4 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced if fresh, grated otherwise

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 2-quart gratin dish. Slice the eggplant into rounds about 1/3 inch thick. (We peel the eggplant too, to avoid any chance or hint of bitterness). Unless eggplant is garden fresh, sprinkle it with salt and let stand for 30 mins. to an hour, then blot dry.

Preheat the broiler. Brush both sides of each round with olive oil and broil 5 to 6 inches from the heat until browned. Broil the second side until browned, then remove and season lightly with salt and pepper. Don’t worry if the eggplant has a dry appearance.

Warm the tomato sauce with half the basil. Spread about a third of the sauce over the bottom of the dish, then make an overlapping layer of eggplant. Lay the mozzarella over the top, add the rest of the basil, and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Add the rest of the eggplant and cover it with the remaining sauce. Bake in the middle of the oven until bubbling and hot throughout, about 30 minutes.