What’s in the Bag: Summer Stuff
EVENT: Cooking from Sara’s Shopping Bag
VENUE: Cara’s Apartment, Park Slope
PARTY SIZE: 3
TYPE: Weekday Fare
MENU: Edamame Succotash, Sweet Tomato Grilled Cheese
Last week, in honor of our new banner, we asked you to list four items from your current shopping bag, real or hypothetical. Not surprisingly, in this late-summer abundance, many readers listed some combination of seasonal fruits and vegetables: zucchini, corn, tomatoes, eggplant, figs, peaches, and beets. Though we’re honoring one particular reader’s bag, as per the rules, we hope that all of you with fresh summer produce can find something to cook in the recipes that follow, below, tomorrow, and the day after that.
As for the process: we selected three shopping bags. I cooked from one, Phoebe from another, and then we both did our renditions of a third. We added some basic ingredients, most from our list of everyday items (oil, vinegar, onions, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper), but we kept your suggestions as the featured elements in every dish. Today we’ve featured Sara’s bag, and in the next few days we’ll post about the rest.
WHAT’S IN SARA’S BAG: Zucchini, Corn, Tomatoes, Peaches
WHAT I ADDED: Edamame, Baguette, Cheese
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 zucchini, cut into a fine dice
3 ears of corn, kernels removed
3/4 cup frozen shelled edamame
Saute the shallot and garlic in olive oil over low heat. You want the onion to be translucent and not quite browned. Raise the heat to medium and add the diced zucchini. Stir fry for about 2 minutes, then add the corn kernels. Cook for five minutes, until they are soft and sweet, and then add edamame. Cook until hot through, adding 1/4 cup of water if the mixture starts sticking to the pan. Sprinkle in fresh basil, taste for salt, and serve hot or room temperature, or cold, as a salad.
Sweet Tomato Grilled Cheeses
I don’t know about you, but I quite enjoy my grilled cheese sandwiches dipped in ketchup. In this gourmet sandwich, a ketchup-like condiment—Sweet Tomato Jam, made out of peaches and tomatoes—is actually built into the sandwich, giving you the same taste sensation with so much added convenience.
4 ounces smoked cheese, like mozzarella or gouda, or whatever you like
For the sweet tomato jam:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow tomato, diced
1 peach, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
salt to taste
Heat the olive oil in a small pan. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add the peaches, tomatoes, and torn basil, and raise the heat to medium high. Stir in the two kinds of sugar and the vinegar and bring to a boil. Once you see a few bubbles, give the mixture a stir, then let it simmer until thickened and jammy, about an hour. Remove from the heat and let cool. (These ingredients make about a scant cup of jam–enough for the four sandwiches. You can double or even triple the ingredients if you want to keep some in the fridge for garnishing other dishes.)
Cut the baguette in half, lengthwise, then cut it into four pieces. Slice the cheese and layer it on each piece. Spread one side of each baguette with tomato jam. Using a lightly oiled panini maker or frying pan, cook the sandwiches on both sides until the cheese is melted and the crust is crispy. Serve immediately.