Pickled Peppers

These addictive peppers are wonderful incorporated into a grilled cheese sandwich to serve alongside this week’s soup.

Ingredients:
4 cups assorted peppers (such as orange Italian, red Carmen and sweet Bull’s Horn grilling peppers)
1½ cups distilled white vinegar
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons coriander seeds

Method:
1. Stem peppers and, leaving seeds, cut into ¼-inch rings, then pack in a clean 1 quart jar.

2. Bring vinegar, all remaining ingredients, and 1½ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour hot brine over peppers; seal jar. Let cool, then refrigerate. Serve within 1 month.

Roasted Ratatouille Toasts

A delightful spin on the classic stew, this time slathered on toasted bread as a starter!

Ingredients:
1 heirloom tomato, roughly chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, some sliced in half, others left whole
1 Japanese eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 zucchini or summer squash, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 sweet pepper, such as Bull’s Horn, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
⅓ cup olive oil
2½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 loaf rustic bread, sliced into ½-inch-thick slices
8 ounces crème fraîche
½ cup basil, thinly sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper


Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a large roasting pan, toss the tomatoes, eggplant, squash or zucchini, pepper, onion and garlic with red pepper flakes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a healthy pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and lightly browned and the tomatoes have released their juices. Stir the vegetables halfway through cooking.

2. Remove the vegetables from the oven and increase the temperatures to a broil. Lightly brush each slice of bread with olive oil. Place them on the upper rack of the oven and toast until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes.

3. Divide the crème fraîche among the toasts and top with a generous portion of the ratatouille. Garnish with the basil and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Melon with Fresh Mint & Lime Syrup

Try this sweet-tart syrup with your favorite summer melon.

Ingredients:
1 Canary melon
½ cup sugar
¼ cup thinly sliced mint leaves
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime

Method:
1. Stir the sugar, 2 tablespoons of water, lime zest, and 1½ tablespoons of the lime juice in a small heavy saucepan over high heat until the sugar dissolves and the syrup comes to a boil. Let the syrup cool completely, and then refrigerate it until cold.

2. Strain the chilled syrup into a small bowl and stir in the mint. Allow the mint to infuse into the syrup for at least 5 minutes.

3. Set the melon on a work surface and with a sharp knife trim away the rind and cut the melon into 2-inch chunks. Transfer melon to a large serving platter and pour the cold syrup over the melon, and serve.

Radish & Arugula Salad

Top this crisp combination with a garlic-lemon dressing and freshly-grated Romano cheese.

Ingredients:
1 bunch radishes, trimmed
2 cups packed arugula
5 tablespoons grated Romano-style cheese

For vinaigrette:
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Slice the radishes into thin rounds. (You should have about 1 cup.)

2. To prepare the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, garlic and lemon juice until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. In a serving bowl, combine the radishes, arugula, grated Romano and about two thirds of the dressing. Toss well, taste, and add more dressing to taste. Finish with fresh ground pepper.

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