Just a few weeks away from Labor Day, school already under way and gardens are looking a bit worn down.
Flowers are getting leggy and tomato plants have raggedy brown leaves among the green. Zucchini are still plentiful, peppers are doing OK and peaches are still around.
Time to pause and consider how to get the most out of what’s left of summer’s bounty.
Here are a handful of recipes to try.
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MAPLE PEACH BARBECUE SAUCE
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Generous pinch allspice
2 peaches, peeled and diced
1/4 cup dark pure maple syrup
4 teaspoons cider vinegar
Swirl oil in bottom of a large saucepan. Add onion, cover and place over medium heat. Cook, removing lid and stirring occasionally until onion is softened and starting to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
Sprinkle salt, chipotle, cumin and allspice and cook, stirring until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add peaches, maple syrup and vinegar, and stir to coat.
Cover and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium low or to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the peaches are completely soft and breaking down, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Cool before using.
GRILLED CORN AND CHICKPEA SALAD
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 ears of corn, shucked
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
14-ounce can chickpeas, drained
3 scallions, sliced
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese, optional
1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush 1 teaspoon oil over the corn and grill until charred all over, about 7 to 9 minutes. Cool and then cut kernels off the cob.
2. Whisk the remaining oil, lemon juice salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in corn, chickpeas, scallions, tomatoes, basil and parsley. Stir in about half the feta, if using.
Transfer to a serving dish and top with the remaining feta. Makes four 1-cup servings.
Lemon Zucchini Muffins
2 large eggs, lightly whisked
1/2 cup yogurt, plain
1/2 cup maple syrup or raw honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large lemon, juice and zest
2 cups shredded zucchini, lightly squeezed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/3 cups whole-wheat or white whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled or quick oats (not instant)
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Zest from 1 large lemon
3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with liners or use silicone muffin tin.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add first nine ingredients (eggs through salt) and whisk well to combine, making sure baking powder and soda have dissolved.
Add flour and stir gently to mix. Do not over mix.
3. In a small bowl, add topping ingredients and mix with a spoon.
4. Using large ice cream scoop, fill 12 muffin holders with batter and spoon mixed topping on top.
Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let muffins cool in the tin for at least 60 minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack to cool off completely.
Storage: Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 3-4 days, in a fridge for up to a week or in a freezer for up to 3 months.
Monterey Chicken Pasta Bake
3 cups rigatoni pasta, uncooked
1/4 cup butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 can (14.5 ounces) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
6 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt.
Meanwhile, melt butter in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add onions; cook and stir 6 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Blend in flour; cook and stir 1 minute. Gradually stir in broth; cook 5 min. or until thickened, stirring constantly.
Add 1 cup shredded cheese; cook and stir 1 minute, or until melted.
Drain pasta. Add to ingredients in skillet along with the chicken and bacon; mix well. Transfer to baking dish; top with remaining shredded cheese. Cover. Bake 40 minutes, uncovering and topping with Parmesan for the last 10 minutes. Top with tomatoes and cilantro.
Makes 8 servings.
This excellent dip is based on aioli, the garlic-flavored mayonnaise of Provence. Adding roasted red peppers to the basic recipe makes a fabulous dip for raw vegetables. Or use it as you would regular mayonnaise. It comes from Chef Margaret Howard’s “The 250 Best 4-Ingredient Recipes.”
RED PEPPER AIOLI
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 jar (12 ounces) roasted red peppers, well drained
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1. In a food processor with motor running, drop garlic through chute and process until finely minced.
2. Add mayonnaise, red peppers and hot pepper flakes. Process until almost smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Store in a covered container in refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for longer storage.
Makes 1 cup, each tablespoon with 57 calories, 1 gram sugar, 2 grams carbohydrates, 3 mg cholesterol, 6 grams fat.
This recipe also comes via Cookstr.com. It is from “The Cornbread Gospels” by Crescent Dragonwagon.
BLUEBERRY-CREAM CHEESE-HONEY BUTTER
About 1 cup frozen blueberries (more or less is fine), thawed, or 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
8 ounces Neufchatel or low-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons crème de cassis, Chambord or Grand Marnier (optional)
Combine all ingredients, including any blueberry juice, in a food processor. Buzz until smooth, and transfer to a serving dish. Pop in the freezer for a few minutes so the butter will firm up just a bit. Serve with any warm bread, muffins, pancakes, waffles.
Makes 1 1/2 cups, each tablespoon with 72 calories, 32 mg sodium, 4 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fat, 17 mg cholesterol, 4 grams sugar, 1 gram protein.