This week’s recipes are from Cooking from the Garden: Best Recipes from the Kitchen Gardener, a book with “an inviting retro look . . . and recipes that cover the gastronomic gamut from breakfast to dinner and from starters and snacks to salads, sides and sweets” according to cookbook columnist Sybil Pratt. Serve the summer vegetables atop the creamy corn polenta, or use them for separate dishes: it’s up to you! And let us know if you give them a try.
Chardonnay-Lover’s Creamy Corn Polenta
4 side or 2 main-course servings | 220 calories, 8g fat, 260mg sodium; per side serving
This dish combines four of my favorite foods: fresh corn, polenta, rich and tangy Parmigiano-Reggiano, and thyme. Pair it with a full-bodied, oak-aged Chardonnay, and you’ve got a match made in heaven. When using subtler, less oaky wines, substitute fresh goat cheese for some of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. A note about the corn: cut and scrape it from the cobs at the last minute—while the stock is heating—for the best, sweetest flavor.
Fresh from the garden: CORN, THYME
1⁄2 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or smoked mozzarella
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1⁄2 cup coarse cornmeal
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 4 medium ears)
1 tablespoon butter
11⁄2 teaspoons fresh or 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme, optional
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
Blend the ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano in a small bowl and set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Using a wire whisk, slowly add the cornmeal in a thin stream, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Reduce heat to low and cook for a couple of minutes, whisking often, until the polenta reaches the consistency of thick mush. Stir in the corn kernels, and continue cooking and stirring until the corn is tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the ricotta mixture, butter, and thyme, if desired. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed. Serve immediately.
— Recipe by Andrea Immer
Summer Vegetables Stewed in Their Own Juices
4 generous servings | 290 calories, 12g fat, 570mg sodium
There’s no rule that a vegetable stew must be eaten piping hot. This one, in particular, is delicious warm or at room temperature. Leftovers make a good sandwich filling or addition to a salad plate.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 onions, coarsely chopped or sliced
6 plump cloves garlic, peeled and halved, plus 1 clove for garnish
6 fresh thyme sprigs
6 fresh sage leaves
12 small carrots
3⁄4 pound small new potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1⁄2 pound yellow wax beans, or a mixture of varieties, ends trimmed
5 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
1 pound summer squash, cut into large pieces
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
In a wide soup pot or casserole, warm the oil with the bay leaves over low heat until fragrant. Add the onions, 6 cloves garlic, thyme, and sage; cover and cook while you prepare the vegetables. Cut fat carrots in half lengthwise; leave small ones whole. If the potatoes are small, like large marbles, leave them whole; quarter larger ones or cut fingerlings in half lengthwise. Lay the carrots and potatoes on top of the onions and season with a little salt and pepper. Cut the beans into 3-inch pieces. Add them with the rest of the vegetables to the pot. Season each layer with a little salt and pepper, then cover and cook until tender, about 40 minutes. If tightly covered, the vegetables themselves will produce plenty of flavorful juices. If the pot seems dry, though, add a few tablespoons water.
For the garnish, chop the parsley with the last clove garlic and the lemon zest until all are in fine pieces. Serve the stew in bowls topped with the parsley mixture.
— Recipe by Deborah Madison