Roasted Ratatouille Toasts

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

Method:
1 heirloom tomato, roughly chopped
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, some sliced in half, others left whole
½ eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 zucchini or summer squash, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 sweet pepper, 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 or focaccia, sliced into ½-inch-thick slices
½ cup crumbled sheep’s milk feta or fresh ricotta
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, and then toss again once they have been removed from the oven.

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

3. Top each toast with a generous portion of the ratatouille mixture, and then add a little crumbled feta or dollop of ricotta on each. Garnish with the basil and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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!

Autumn Splendor Recipes

As we officially greet the start of fall here this week, the color-rich produce coming in from the gardens is as bright and beautiful as those first turning leaves. Featuring such favorites as Italian eggplant, broccolini, fennel and Little Gem lettuce, as well as lingering summer highlights like yellow peaches, blueberries and heirloom tomatoes, this fall-fresh lineup is also accented by pillowy focaccia bread, farm-fresh eggs, peppery edible flowers and cheery mini bouquets. Enjoy!

Here are a few recipe ideas for the week:

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

Beet, Carrot & Pomegranate Salad
This colorful salad is perfect for fall and beyond.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Roasted Sweet Onions
Roasted sweet onion adds a wonderful depth of flavor to this refreshing salad.

Grilled Fennel
A wonderful side for roasted chicken or steak.

Smoky Summer Pepper & Eggplant Salsa
This smoky salsa is a wonderful boost for burgers, sausages and more.

Baked Feta with Honey

A kick of honey lends a sweet touch to the salty cheese; serve with grilled bread crostini!

Ingredients:
1 8-ounce block sheep’s milk feta, blotted dry with a paper towel
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Fresh ground pepper
Grilled bread crostini

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Place the feta in a small baking dish and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Bake until the cheese is soft to the touch, but not melted, about 8 minutes.

2. Remove the feta from the oven and preheat the broiler. Drizzle the honey over the cheese, and then return to the oven and broil until the cheese is golden brown and bubble, about 2-3 minutes.

3. Remove from the oven and season generously with pepper. Serve immediately with the grilled bread crostini.

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