So GoodAug/Sept 2008 Issue

Celebrate Fresh Produce!

As summer winds down, the roadside stands and farmers' markets wind up, brimming with vine-ripened tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn and more. As more consumers appreciate the benefits of extra freshness, taste and nutrition, not to mention the energy savings of decreased transportation costs, the trend to buy produce locally strengthens.

Harvest abundance inspires delicious recipes. A plate of sliced tomatoes and fresh basil sprinkled with olive oil is a seasonal classic that’s hard to beat. But these garden-fresh recipes will have you expanding your list of summertime favorites. You’ll enjoy these new ways to eat your veggies.

Mediterranean Stuffed Zucchini

SERVES 4 TO 6

This dinner dish uses produce that's brimming with antioxidants. For added plate appeal, try round-shaped heirloom zucchini. Serve with gluten-free rolls and tossed garden greens.

4  medium zucchini
1  tablespoon coconut or olive oil
8  ounces ground lamb (may substitute
    ground beef or turkey)
1  medium onion, chopped
2  garlic cloves, minced
1  medium tomato, chopped
3  tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
3  tablespoons fresh mint, minced
1  tablespoon fresh oregano, minced or 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
½  teaspoon ground cinnamon
½  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a 9x13-inch baking dish.

2. Trim the ends off the zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out center flesh with a melon baller or small spoon, leaving at least a ¼-inch shell to make 8 “boats.” Chop zucchini flesh and set aside. Place zucchini boats in prepared baking dish.

3. Place oil in a large skillet and sauté lamb, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is cooked and onion softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add reserved chopped zucchini flesh and continue cooking for 2 minutes.

4. Remove skillet from heat and stir in chopped tomato, cilantro, mint, oregano, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Fill zucchini boats with equal amounts of stuffing.

5. Place zucchini in preheated oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until zucchini are tender-crisp. Serve hot.


Zucchini Pancakes

SERVES 4 TO 6

These easy pancakes make a nutritious side for brunch and a delicious accompaniment to grilled chicken for dinner.

2  medium zucchini
½  teaspoon salt
2  large eggs
2  tablespoons gluten-free flour*
1  tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
¼  teaspoon ground pepper
1  small onion, finely minced or grated
2  tablespoons coconut or olive oil, for sautéing

1. Grate zucchini into a bowl and toss with salt. Put salted zucchini onto a clean cotton dish towel and squeeze out extra liquid.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, flour, dill and pepper. Stir in zucchini and onion.

3. Place a small amount of oil in a large skillet or non-stick griddle over medium heat. If using an electric griddle, heat pan to 300-325 degrees. Drop zucchini mixture (3–4 tablespoons per pancake) onto the hot griddle. Flatten pancakes slightly with spatula. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden and cooked through. Add additional oil as needed between batches.

*TIP Use a gluten-free flour blend of choice or use a single flour, such as sorghum flour, sweet rice flour or tapioca starch. Pre-packaged gluten-free flour is available at many large supermarkets, at health food stores and online.


Tomato Mango Gazpacho

SERVES 8 TO 10

Pineapple juice, mango and avocado blend beautifully with tomatoes. For best results, make this soup a day ahead so flavors fully develop. Prepare it in batches in a blender. Have a 2-quart pitcher or container ready for the finished soup.

3  pounds very ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded (optional), rough-cut
1  cucumber, peeled, seeded (optional), rough-cut
1  red bell pepper, cored, seeded, rough-cut
1  jalapeno pepper, seeded, chopped
2  medium celery stalks, rough-cut
1  bunch green onions, sliced (include some green)
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
2  cups prepared tomato juice or fresh pureed tomatoes
1  cup pineapple juice
1  ripe mango, diced, reserved
1  ripe avocado, diced, reserved

1. Place chopped vegetables and herbs (first 8 ingredients) in a large bowl.

2. Combine tomato juice and pineapple juice in a quart pitcher or measuring cup.

3. Combine diced mango and avocado in a small bowl and set aside.

4. Place about 1 cup vegetables and about 1/2 cup juice in a blender and pulse. Gazpacho should be chunky, not pureed. Continue to work in batches until all vegetables and juice are blended. Taste soup and adjust seasoning.

5.  Stir diced mango and avocado into gazpacho.

6. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 to 3 hours. Serve cold.

TIP The acid in the tomatoes and pineapple juice prevents the avocado from browning.


Tomato-Mango-Bean Salad

SERVES 6

This dish makes a balanced meal that vegetarians will love.

1  (15-ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed
1  cup organic sweet corn, fresh or frozen
2  cups cooked rice, cooled

1. Follow recipe directions for Tomato Mango Gazpacho, reducing tomato juice to ½ cup. Mixture will be thick.

2. Stir in black beans and corn. Do not blend or puree beans or corn. Chill.

3. Serve cold over cooked, cooled rice.


Caribbean Shrimp Gazpacho

SERVES 6

This hearty soup makes a nutritious dinner.

1  (15-ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed
1½  pounds shrimp, peeled, de-veined

1. Follow recipe directions for Tomato Mango Gazpacho, reducing tomato juice to ½ cup. Mixture will be thick.

2. Stir in black beans. Do not blend or puree beans. Chill.

3. Top with steamed or grilled shrimp or use cooked frozen shrimp that’s been thawed. Serve cold.


Gluten-Free Cool Cucumber Gazpacho

SERVES 6 TO 8

Here's a unique, refreshing twist on gazpacho. Its summer-fresh flavor is always a hit. Prepare it in batches in a blender. Have a 2-quart pitcher or container ready for the finished soup.

2 cups gluten-free, casein-free vegetable or
    chicken broth,* divided
2 medium to large cucumbers, peeled,
    seeds removed, rough-cut
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, chopped
1 bunch green onions, sliced (include some green)
2-3 celery stalks, rough-cut
2 ripe avocadoes, diced, divided
3 tablespoons lime juice, fresh squeezed
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 cups seedless green grapes, diced, divided
- White pepper to taste

1. Combine ½ cup broth and cucumber in a blender and pulse until mixture has a slushy consistency. Pour into a 2-quart container.

2. Repeat process with another ½ cup broth, jalapeno and onions. Pulse and add to container.

3. Again, combine ½ cup broth and celery. Pulse and add to container.

4. Combine ¼ cup broth and one diced avocado, lime juice and fresh herbs. Pulse and add to container.

5. Combine final ¼ cup broth and 1½ cups diced green grapes. Pulse and add to container.

6. Stir remaining diced grapes and diced avocado into soup. Season with white pepper, to taste. If desired, thin soup with additional broth or water.

7. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 to 3 hours to chill. Serve cold.

TIP Commercial gazpachos often contain pureed bread to give them more body. If you order gazpacho when dining out, ask your server to make certain it’s gluten free.

*TIP Gluten-free, casein-free broth is available at www.imaginefoods.com, www.sheltons.com and www.pacificfoods.com.

Each serving contains 86 calories, 4g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 102mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g protein.

Recipes by Sueson Vess, the author of Simple, Delicious Solutions for Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cooking (Special Eats). Click here to purchase.

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