Cooking with Indiana vegetables

The fresh fruit in the summer is awesome up here in Michigan but nothing is better than Indiana vegetables!  Luckily for me, my dad grows a large garden full of produce every year and so every time I see them in the summer I get to make garden requests.  This year, we have had cucumbers (pickle size), lettuce, spinach, zucchini, yellow cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, large red tomatoes, sweet corn, and eggplant.  I have made a lot of recipes so far with this selection but this last week has been really fun with zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes in season!  Earlier in the week, I made gazpacho with Indiana tomatoes, cucumber and zucchini.  Tonight, I made a casserole with Indiana tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant.  I have posted the recipes below in case you are interested.

This first picture is the Pioneer Woman’s Gazpacho but this is what this recipe will look like unless you peel all of the vegetables.  The one below it is a gazpacho I made 3 years ago…I love to garnish!

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Gazpacho (special thanks to my favorite blog, Pioneer Woman)                                  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/gazpacho-recipe.html

Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive: 1 hr (or overnight)
Cook: 15 min
Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients
2 cloves garlic
1/2 red onion
5 Roma tomatoes
1 red, orange or yellow pepper
2 stalks celery (I didn’t have any to use this time)
1 large cucumber
1 zucchini
1 jalapeno
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoons sugar
Dash salt
Dash black pepper
4 cups good-quality tomato juice
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Avocado slices, for serving
Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
Greek Yogurt, Plain Yogurt or Sour Cream, for serving
Crusty bread, for serving (I used ciabatta bread – Yummy!)
Directions
Mince up the garlic, cut the onion into slices, and dice up the tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber, zucchini and jalapeno.

Throw all the garlic, onion, and jalapeno into a food processor (or blender) and then add half of the remaining diced vegetables and all of the oil.

Splash in the vinegar and add the sugar, salt and pepper. Finally pour in 2 cups of the tomato juice and blend well. You’ll basically have a tomato base with a beautiful confetti of vegetables.

Pour the blended mixture into a large bowl and add in the other half of the diced vegetables. Stir it together. Then stir in the remaining 2 cups tomato juice. Give it a taste and make sure the seasoning is right. Adjust as needed. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight, if possible.

Use precooked shrimp or grill or saute the shrimp until opaque. Set aside.

Ladle the soup into bowls, add the shrimp and garnish with avocado slices, yogurt and cilantro leaves. Serve with crusty bread on the side.

Roasted Zucchini, Eggplant and Tomatoes                                                                        IMG_5058[1]
(I used a recipe from eatingrichly.com with my own twist)                                           Serves 6-8

Ingredients                                                                                                                               1 medium zucchini                                                                                                                   1 medium to large eggplant                                                                                                     1 yellow onion                                                                                                                           3 T olive oil                                                                                                                            sea salt (about 1 tsp)                                                                                                              1 pound ground beef or ground chuck                                                                                     3-4 cloves of garlic                                                                                                                  3 plum sized tomatoes (or 6-7 Roma tomatoes)                                                                 12 oz tomato sauce (I used about 1 pint of leftover pizza sauce but you can use any tomato sauce you like)                                                                                                             1 tsp thyme                                                                                                                      1/4-1/2 cup mozzarella

Instructions                                                                                                                    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roughly chop all your vegetables into 1/2 inch chuncks and mince the garlic nice and small.  Place the zucchini, eggplant and half of the chopped onion into a large casserole dish.  Drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and mix to coat the vegetables.  Place in the oven.

In a large frying pan, crumble and brown the ground beef.  Once it’s browned, add the garlic and the rest of the onion and mix well.  Let cook a couple minutes until the onion is softening.  Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce, and thyme.  Mix well.

Remove the casserole dish from the oven, and pour the tomato hamburger mixture over the vegetables.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and return to the oven.  Cook for 25 minutes.  Remove from the over and let sit 3-5 minutes before serving.

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