Savoring Summer

Summer’s not over yet! The farmer’s markets are still stocked with fresh-from-the-vine produce, and backyard gardens are abundant with end-of-season goodness. Take advantage of summer’s last harvest with a vegetable plate your family will love. Simply set your table with your good silver and a chilled glass of chianti to make this classic summer meal instantly company worthy.

Buttery Lady Peas

1 pound lady peas, picked through and rinsed
4 tablespoons butter
½ cup onion, finely chopped
2 cans low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer about 30 to 40 minutes or until tender but not mushy.

These can be prepared in advance and simply warmed before serving. Serve with your favorite hot sauce, if desired. Serves 6

Learn from Leslie: This is also how I cook fresh butter beans when lady peas are not available.

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Cherry Tomato & Cucumber Salad

1 (10-ounce) carton cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved, and sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Dash of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces feta, cubed
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a medium-size bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. Serves 6

Learn from Leslie: This salad can be made up to 24 hours in advance. If doing so,
do not add the fresh basil or mint until closer to serving time.

Mimi’s Original Sweet Corn Pudding

6 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 1½-quart baking dish. Stir together corn kernels and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour into prepared dish. (Place baking dish inside a larger baking pan; fill pan halfway up with water. This “water bath” will keep the pudding moist.) Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Serves 6

Tip: Bake the corn pudding slightly in advance to allow it to set up. Remove from oven, and cover with foil. It will stay warm while you bake the cornbread.

Savory Green Beans with Bacon

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices good-quality thick bacon (such as applewood smoked), cut into ½-inch pieces
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds fresh green beans, ends removed, snapped into
1½-inch pieces
1½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Dash of red wine vinegar
Water to cover

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-size saucepan; add bacon, and cook until golden brown. Remove and drain onto a paper towel. Add onion and garlic to saucepan; cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add green beans, next 4 ingredients, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender and flavorful. Crumble bacon, and sprinkle on top of each serving of green beans. Serves 6

Simply Sautéed Squash

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 small yellow squash, sliced thinly
3 small zucchini, sliced thinly
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepperParmesan cheese

Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet; add squash, and sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper. Turn heat up to medium-high, and sauté until the squash are golden brown, turning once or as needed. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese just before serving. Serves 6

Leslie’s Tried-and-True Cornbread

3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups nonfat buttermilk
2 cups white self-rising cornmeal mix (Leslie prefers Martha White)
A pinch of baking soda
A pinch of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pour vegetable oil into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; place in hot oven for 4 minutes. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk in a small bowl. Combine cornmeal mix, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; add egg mixture to dry ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Carefully remove skillet from hot oven; pour all but 1 tablespoon hot oil into mixture. It should sizzle. Stir quickly, and pour contents into hot skillet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Serves 8

My new go-to wine:
A (slightly) chilled Chianti

Here are my three favorites under $25:
Borgo Scopeta $17.99, Monsanfo $19.99, and Caparzo $23.99

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