There was a tinge of coolness in the air on Monday. I wore jeans comfortably, I didn't sweat or feel as I were baking. Although I much prefer warm weather to cold, I admit to finding Monday's fall-like clime lovely and invigorating. It was, plain and simple, perfect- the very reason people love fall so much.
And yet, as the seasons change, so too does the produce they offer. I'm not over my crush on tomatoes, delicate summer squash, juicy fruit and the bright beauty of it all, and so, for the next few weeks, plan to eat and put up as much of it all as I can.
My dear friend of the annual tomato haul brought a second load to me on Monday. Yesterday, I used the last of the original forty pounds to make tomato-saffron sauce which I froze, and today will embark on canning a big batch from the new tonnage. In the meantime, it's tomatoes every which way including a lunch of cold tomato soup (ingredients + blender + 3 minutes) and a dinner of Yotam's socca, aka chickpea crepes with caramelized onions, gently roasted tomatoes and dollops of crème fraîche.
You cannot go wrong with either of these recipes though the latter takes a great deal more time than the former. Both are posted in Recipes and are tremendous ways to enjoy summer tomatoes beyond the common but always tasty caprese and tomato sandwich.
I also finished up the last of the peaches yesterday by making a lightly spiced peach butter. Fruit butters, which contain no actual butter AND are a terrific way to use up seriously ripe fruit, are nothing more than heavily reduced fruit + sugar. The cooking process is similar to making jam but slower and over more moderate heat. Sugar draws liquid from the fruit, that poaches the fruit pulp that remains, and then the whole mess cooks down into a thick, spreadable "butter." I love fruit butters, and this peach one by Kevin West, spiced with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and a generous pour of Bourbon, is no exception.
Last night, to go alongside the socca, I made a marinated zucchini dish from Food52. I first had this marvelous preparation at 2 Amy's, one of my favorite DC restaurants, a Neapolitan pizza place that serves much more than pie. A few weeks back, Food52 published a version of it in their Genius Recipe column, and my mouth has been watering since.
Zucchini can be so bland, but what that means is that you also have ample opportunity to zing it up. Zucchini-feta fritters are one terrific way to do that, as is this red wine vinegar-garlic coated method. This is good hot, room temperature or cold and can be made in advance. Three cheers! Food52's recipe calls for basil but I used mint. Both are traditional, so use what you have or prefer.
Another great way to use zucchini is to mandoline (slice paper thin) it and serve it ceviche-style -drenched in olive oil, salt, vinegar and such- or atop pizza where it kind of melts into the cheese and crust and is luscious.
Back to it with the toms, y'all.