Candied Squash Seeds

Great for snacking, scattering over salad or serving atop soup!

Ingredients:
1½ cups winter squash seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1½ tablespoons packed light brown sugar
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Method:
1. Line a 9-by-13-inch rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Scoop the seeds out of the squash and into a large colander. Rinse seeds thoroughly under cold running water. Use your hands to separate any lingering squash flesh from the seeds. Shake off as much water as you can, then pat dry with paper towel. (If you have time, allow the seeds to sit out on the counter for a couple of hours to really get dry.)

3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Stir together the olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium mixing bowl, until completely combined. Add the seeds and toss to coat. Evenly spread the seeds in a single layer on the prepared pan.

4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the seeds are golden and crispy and begin to make popping sounds.

Variation: Once you master the method of preparing the seeds, feel free to play around the seasonings here. We love subbing out the cinnamon in favor of a rosemary-kissed Tuscan herb salt for a more savory flavor!

Pickled Peppers

These addictive peppers are wonderful for snacking, or served with burgers, tacos and sandwiches.

Ingredients:
4 cups assorted peppers (such as this week’s Basque and Bell peppers, plus other favorite varieties!)
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 Grapes with Thyme

These juicy grapes boast an intense flavor, and are wonderful served with a sharp cheese and toasted bread.

Ingredients:
1 pound Reliance grapes, rinsed and stemmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. In a large sheet pan, mix grapes, olive oil, fresh thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Bake, shaking pan occasionally, until grapes are beginning to blister, 15-18 minutes. Use immediately or let stand until ready to use, up to 4 hours.

Eggplant Caponata

This traditional Tuscan relish is lovely on toasted bread.

Ingredients:
1 sweet onion or 2 Tropea onions, peeled and minced
1 eggplant, chopped into ½-inch chunks
1 sweet Italian pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, or 1 summer tomato, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, thinly-sliced
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon capers
Sea salt and pepper
Fresh basil leaves, torn

Method:
1. Add chopped onion to a skillet with the olive oil, and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add chopped celery stalk, peppers and eggplant and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes until vegetables are tender.

2. Add golden raisins, chopped oregano and about ½ cup water. Bring mixture to a simmer, and allow water to evaporate, cooking about 8-10 minutes

3. Add cherry tomatoes and cider vinegar and capers; cook for about 5 minutes, until mixture is uniform and tomatoes are beginning to burst. Season with salt and pepper and top with torn basil.

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