by Nancy Sweet, director, LLCC culinary programs and operations
Like my colleague Sean last week in Epicuriosity 101, I too loathe summer ending. Everyone around me can’t wait to wear hoodies while drinking pumpkin spice lattes and I’m all, where’s the pool and summer BLTs?
So I’m still squeezing in my last few weeks of summer produce. Not that I don’t love the fall harvest of apples, butternut squash and cabbages, but I’m still getting a lot of tomatoes off my plants in my little garden and love having them these last couple weeks of summer.
Below are few quick and easy end-of-summer product recipes to throw together before we find ourselves surrounded by fall leaves and caramel apples.
Corn and Zucchini Salad with Ricotta Salata
Adapted from the Food Network
Ricotta Salata is a salted sheep’s milk cheese that is pressed and aged about 90 days. It is perfect for grating or crumbling into salads to give it a little salty finish.
4 ears of corn, shucked
1/2 cup red onion, thinly sliced (1 small onion)
1 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup grated ricotta salata cheese
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for about 3 – 4 minutes until just cooked through. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.
Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, zucchini, rounds, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil and ricotta salata. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.
Tomato and Farro Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette
Adapted from the Food Network
Farro is an ancient whole grain with a chewy texture and nutty flavor. It is high in fiber and has no cholesterol. It is great in salads and soups.
1 large tomato, grated
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup semi-pearled farro
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, sliced thin into rounds
8 ounces small tomatoes, preferably heirloom, cut into ½-inch wedges
8 ounces cherry and/or pear tomatoes, halved
2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup tarragon leaves, rough chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook farro in a medium pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20–25 minutes. Drain; transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
While farro is cooking, make vinaigrette. Slice a small round off the end of the tomato. Grate the tomato flesh side on the large holes of the box grater, catching everything in a bowl. Continue doing this until you have grated all the insides of the tomato. Discard remaining tomato skin.
Add the vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard, and a big pinch of salt to the tomato pulp. Whisk together well. Slowly whisk in oil. Add a small pinch of pepper. Taste and adjust for seasoning as needed.
In a large bowl, combine the farro with the shallot, tomatoes, cucumbers, and olive oil. Mix in vinaigrette until just combine and then add in remaining herbs and feta cheese. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
Want to know more?
Lincoln Land Community College offers associate degree programs in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management and academic credit certificates in Culinary Arts and Baking/Pastry. For more information call 217-786-4613 or visit www.llcc.edu/hospitality-culinary-arts.