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Harvest Recipes That Are Easy To Make

Harvest Recipes That Are Easy To Make
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BY STEVE NUBIE

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Everyone loves harvest time but what do you do when the tomatoes take over the kitchen and the sweet corn is so sweet?

It’s harvest time and many of us find ourselves swamped with tomatoes and other vegetables, or tempted by farm stands at every mile. And that’s all good news.  I’m a certified chef and have instructed culinary classes at the Culinary School at the College of DuPage and want to share some of the recipes I’ve developed and make every Autumn.

These ingredients are some of the freshest we’ll see all year and in many parts of the country are locally grown and at their peak of ripeness. It’s that time when the tomatoes are ruby-red, the corn is at its sweetest, onions bulge from the soil, eggplants glisten like purple jewels, zucchinis grow to the size of torpedoes and something as simple as wild grape leaves give us permission to make a flavorful side dish called Dolmas or Dolmades.

The number of servings will vary depending on how many people you want to feed. You can always double a recipe or cut it in half.  At harvest time we don’t worry too much about exact servings and the more the merrier.

We’re going to cover some basics from these wonderful fruits and vegetables from appetizers to sides, entrees and a zucchini bread. Here’s a sneak peek:

  • Ruby-red tomato salsa
  • Wild grape leaf Dolmades
  • Harvest vegetable medley roasted in corn husks
  • Bacon and potato and meatloaf cupcakes on a bed of corn
  • Zucchini bread

The thing I like about these recipes is that they appeal to the whole family from grandkids to grand-parents and they’re easy to make. They also make the best use of those freshly harvested vegetables and any extra is great to share with neighbors, family and friends.  So let’s get started.

Ruby-red Salsa recipe

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INGREDIENTS:  

3 Cups of tomatoes peeled and chopped (Peeling tomatoes is easy if you drop them into boiling water and then drop them into an ice bath of ice and water.  The skins will peel off easily with a pinch of your fingers.)

½ cup of diced onions

1 cup of corn

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of chili powder

½ teaspoon of cumin

¼ cup of diced cilantro

½ cup of diced bell peppers

3 cups of tomatoes peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon of garlic powder

Splash of your favorite hot sauce to taste

Whole cilantro leaves for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Peel the tomatoes and chop them into a fine dice and put into a large bowl.  Top with the diced onion and sprinkle with the salt and toss. The salt will release some of the juice from the tomatoes and temper the onions or make them a bit milder.  Add all of the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.  Serve with tortilla chips.  Should keep for a week under refrigeration but mine is usually gone in minutes.

Wild Grape Leaf Dolmades or Dolmas 

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INGREDIENTS:

30 to 40 large grape leaves

2 cups of ground beef browned

2 cups of white rice cooked

1 teaspoon chopped fresh or dried mint

1 teaspoon oregano fresh or dried

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh or dried parsley

1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 cup of chicken or beef broth

AVGALEMONO SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

Juice from 3 lemons

1 teaspoon of corn starch

Warm broth from baking pan (not hot)

3 eggs 

DIRECTIONS: 

Pick the grape leaves and rinse and then immerse in boiling water to blanch. Shock them in ice water with some vinegar and let soak for an hour.  Drain the leaves and add the meat/rice mixture to a leaf and roll into a small cigar shape.  Place in a baking dish snuggled next to other dolmas.  Pour a cup of broth into the dish, cover with foil and bake at 325 for 30 minutes.  Top with the avgelemono sauce and serve.

For the sauce combine eggs and lemon juice and corn starch and whisk together. Whisk in broth a little at a time until thick and pour over dolmades.

Harvest vegetable medley in corn husks 

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INGREDIENTS:

6 ears of corn

3 to 4 tomatoes diced

1 medium onion diced

2 cups of zucchini or eggplant diced

1 cucumber peeled, seeded and diced

1 cup shredded cheese (your favorite type)

1 teaspoon of salt

DIRECTIONS:

Peel the husks back from the corn and break off the ear while reserving the husks. Boil the corn for 10 minutes and let cool enough to cut the corn kernels from the cob.  Combine with other diced ingredients and sprinkle with salt and cheese and toss.  Stuff into whole corn husks and gather leaves around to capture ingredients.  Secure whole husks with strips of corn leaves and grill over open coals for 10 to 15 minutes turning often.  Platter and cut corn strips and tear open and serve.  Season to taste.

Bacon and Potato and Meatloaf cupcakes on a bed of corn

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INGREDIENTS:

½ pound of bacon

4 large potatoes

4 ears of corn

1 pound of ground beef

¼ cup of bread crumbs

½ cup of diced onions

4 cups of cooked corn

1 teaspoon of salt

1 egg

Ketchup

DIRECTIONS:

Boil the potatoes and mash. Boil the corn until cooked.  Cut the corn from the cob and set aside.  Cook the bacon until crisp and chop into bits.  Brown the onions and add the ground beef and salt and brown.  Let cool and combine with bread crumbs and egg and place into a cupcake pan and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Plate with cooked corn on the plate first, top with the meatball cupcake, top with ketchup, mashed potatoes and sprinkle crumbled bacon on top.  Serve

Zucchini bread 

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INGREDIENTS:

3 eggs

1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of vegetable oil

2 ¼ cups of white sugar

3 teaspoons of vanilla extract

3 cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

2 cups of grated zucchini

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all of the ingredients and either stir until blended or put into a mixer and blend. Grease a baking pan with butter or oil and pour into the pan.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and bake for 40 to 60 minutes.  Penetrate the center of the loaf with a wooden skewer or toothpick and if it comes out clean and dry, you’re done.  Let rest for 10 minutes and slice and serve.

This is the tip of the iceberg 

There’s so much we can do with our harvest-time bounty from tomato sauces to pickling but hopefully you have a chance to try one of these ideas. They’re a bit different from the usual and everyone in the family can join in to make them happy.  Hope you have a happy harvest and enjoy some of the best and freshest fruits and vegetables we’ll see all year.

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Steve Nubie
Steve Nubie has been writing professionally for 38 years. He is a published author with 10 books to his credit, has written for CBS Entertainment for the Twilight Zone series, and has written hundreds of articles for magazines and the Internet. He has served as Chief Creative officer in the marketing and advertising industry, was an Executive career-coach, is a chef and has traveled extensively living in Asia for two years, and London for two years.