Last week we were paddling in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness in northern Minnesota. It's backcountry camping, but that doesn't stop us from eating veggie-filled foods. To prepare them for the journey, we cook meals at home that we know we like and dehydrate them overnight. This year's menu included chili, Senegalese peanut stew, white bean and butternut squash soup, and black bean and rice burritos with pico de gallo.
Before we headed north for the BWCA, I took a few quick measures to make sure that we made the best use we could out of our share. A friend was staying at our apartment for a few days, so I blanched the green beans and broccoli to hold them over for her. For the cucumbers, I pickled them in an improvised brine and tucked them in the fridge. Since we were car camping on the way up, we took along the squash, corn, and melons. For dinner on Thursday we made BLTs with friends.
When we returned on Sunday it was time to reckon with the vegetable explosion in our refrigerator. We started with a brimming vegetable lasagna. For the sauce, I roasted all of last week's tomatoes with garlic and olive oil before blending them with some sauteed mirepoix. In the meantime, we sliced and roasted all the summer squash and the eggplants. For a little more savory heft, I browned some mushrooms in a pan before assembling the pasta, cheeses, tomato sauce, and veggies in some rather disorganized layers. The result was delicious and plentiful--we're still eating leftovers for lunch!
On Monday night we made stuffed peppers with the green peppers. (Confession: they were packed in the fridge so tightly with everything else that the froze a bit. Solution: cook them in a recipe that results in soft peppers anyway.) As a side, we tried out this brilliant Cook's Illustrated method for boiled corn. The corn was tender-crisp, sweet, and juicy as it should be.
Last night, we ate beans and garden tomatoes (gotta catch up with those guys, too!) alongside some lake trout. For the beans, we tried out a recipe from Mexico, a giant cookbook I've barely begun to cook from. I blanched the beans, then placed them in a baking dish, topped them with 1 cup of sour cream, 2 tbsp butter, 1/3 cup feta, and 2 tsp of oregano, and baked them for 10 minutes at 350 F. The result was creamy and satisfying and would easily serve 6+ people (I've been eating leftovers for a snack for several days!)
Seriously, try this recipe for foolproof boiled corn. I was so pleased by how simple the process was and how perfect the corn turned out. Once you have cooked corn, if you're not interested in eating it off the cobb, maybe this corn, avocado, and cucumber salad is more your speed. I'm also keeping this recipe for fresh corn soup in mind.
This summery tomato pudding seems to blend the best qualities of the season's fresh tomatoes and good classic comfort food. For something lighter but equally soul soothing, this vegan golden chana masala looks delicious as well. And, just in case you're still scratching your head over the corn from this week, this black bean and roasted corn salad makes use of both corn and tomatoes!
We've used our eggplant in veggie lasagna most recently, but for an easier meal, I have my eye on this unfussy, unabashedly simple eggplant sandwich. It promises simplicity right in the name!
My absolute favorite thing to do with spaghetti squash borrows a technique from The First Mess: perfume the squash with garlic. First, cut the squash in half lengthwise, then coat the the cut sides with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Then, arrange two whole cloves of garlic on a baking sheet and place the squash cut-side-down over top of them. Stick it in the oven for 40 minutes or so at 350F. It's done when the flesh is lightly browned and comes away into spaghetti-like strings.
If you still have your gift of goat cheese in the fridge, I'd grab a baguette, slice up those radishes, and call that lunch (or dinner). If not, the corn, avocado, and cucumber salad I mentioned above has an option for adding radishes, which I highly recommend trying out. A little peppery bite would go a long way in waking up this salad a little more.