Welcome to the August edition of The Cottage Cooking Club where we monthly meet to share our preparations from the cookbook River Cottage veg everyday!, written by British cookbook author and food television personality, Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall. River Cottage veg everyday, inspires incorporating more vegetables into our daily meals while being creative in the process.
Our talented and lovely group leader out of Bonn, Germany is Andrea Mohr of The Kitchen Lioness, notes from a very small German Kitchen. Early each month Andrea provides a selection of seasonal recipes from among the cookbooks categories, then each of the members pick their choices for preparation from the list, until the 28th of every month when we come together again sharing our culinary experiences, ingredient variations, perhaps those who we shared our dishes with and the occasion, all wrapped up in varied story lines from among our collection of unique food and travel bloggers.
To begin, my favorite recipe of the month was Cheat’s Cauliflower Cheese shown above. An al dente cook of bite sized cauliflower in salted boiling water, the florets were then drained before tossing with a good knob of butter, some salt, pepper, and a bit of half and half. Spread into greased ramekins, the cauliflower was topped with a mixture of shredded cheddar cheese and bread crumbs. I used panko bread crumbs with quite exceptional results following ten minutes of heating in the oven before broiling to a golden crusted top. Easy enough for a weekday dinner, I additionally thought the combination lovely enough for a dinner party, thus concluding this dish as one of my favorites within the cookbook.
My second preparation for the month was Stuffed peppers with new potatoes, feta and pesto. The base of lovely red peppers were picked at an area PYO while making an early assessment on the ripeness of the peaches, which I concluded were really still a week away from beginning their peak.
So while we still managed a nice bag of peaches and nectarines on the day’s adventure, we shortly moved along to picking some of the needed ingredients for this months River Cottage veg preparations available just a short hop off the tractor ride along the fields, including some smallish sweet red peppers perfect sized for recipe two, Stuffed peppers with new potatoes, feta and pesto. Having plenty of basil and parsley for clipping off my deck planters, the fresh herbs were combined with common suspects, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice and olive oil forming a proper pesto mixture easily prepared while boiling up some new potatoes earlier purchased at the local Maple Acres farm a couple miles away. Though I would have made a special trip on purchasing the recipes’ called for feta cheese, I had so many other varieties of cheese stocked in my refrigerator that I instead opted to use goat cheese which blended beautifully tossed between the cooked potatoes and pesto then stuffed into the curved cavities of the red pepper halves before baking somewhere a bit longer than a half hour. Once prepared, I sent along a nice batch to a neighbor just returned from the Jersey shore having arrived home to an empty pantry so shared between two households they were a hit all around.
Further down opposite the gravel road just past the pepper varieties stood a small field area whose brush green vines were ripe with medium sized eggplant. Deeply colored and a perfect firmness served nicely for my third dish of the month from River Cottage veg, Aubergine and green bean curry.
A blended curry made of garlic, onions, ginger, lemongrass, green chilies, and dry spices; cumin, coriander and turmeric, served as the base once cooked in a bit of oil before combining the aubergine (eggplant) and green beans. Unclear as to weather the cooler than normal temperatures this August have slightly affected some of the seasonal vegetable production but one thing is certain, green beans, outside of those perfect found at Gene’s Roadside Market near the Jersey shore early in the summer, have been rather dry and tough, and not so abundant as usual. This would include the vine in my back garden where I sort of just threw my hands in the air and gave up on them rather early on. For this dish, I gathered the best I could find and gave them a bit of a cook in salted boiling water before adding them to the curry mixture with the already simmered eggplant cubes.
The finishing sauces of this Indian style dish included some homemade roasted tomato sauce using tomatoes picked from my garden, balanced with creamy coconut milk. The finish was quite lovely topped with some fresh cilantro picked from a planter I snagged cheaply at the orchard, given they were wrapping up their herb sales for the season. A hit with both family and friends.
Speaking of wrap-ups, things have been plain hectic, and I was a bit under the weather in the midst of things and am feeling better now, so I was not able to prepare all that I hoped, even last minute. I’m happy to be timely on my posting today! See you all soon and Thanks Andrea as always for all of your exceptional efforts and leadership. Hugs all.
To see what members of the Cottage Cooking Club have posted from this month’s selection click here.