July marks the second month cooking with the Cottage Cooking Club created through Andrea at The Kitchen Lioness, Notes from a very small German Kitchen. Members of the group include a diverse group of food bloggers from around the world. Dedicated to the cookbook “River Cottage veg everyday!” written by British author Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, this months designated recipe choices reflect fresh ingredients abundantly flourishing throughout the summer.
A couple of weeks vacation along with a family reunion had me a bit behind on my selections set for the month but managed to prepare a couple of lovely dishes, Panzanella
and Marinated Courgettes with Mozzarella. Well, I actually prepared a couple of other dishes remaining without photographs.
Purchasing superior veg was the easy part of the task on the ride home from the Jersey shore, giant ripe tomatoes, perfectly green unblemished zucchini, and of course corn on the cob (not included in the Cottage Cooking Club repertoire) fitting it all in the car was a whole other story. Packed to the gills with beach gear and chairs and clothing and all the household food ingredients remaining that my sister Carolyn, and brother in-law Roger could not take back to Vegas filled every crevice to the point where the traditional Jersey summer farm market road stand stop required the case of packed vegetables flat onto my lap in the front seat and green husks of cobs poking me upon any slight move. Not to say that I could move anyway between assorted cloth bags filled with personal items and camera bag completely packing the carpeted front floor beneath.
Still, it’s not the packed ride home that causes one to become undone after tranquil days walking for miles upon the shoreline of foaming roaring waves on sparkling soft white sand and lazy afternoons lounging with cocktails on the beach, for there is nothing like massive mounds of laundry following leisurely days to bring one smack back to reality. Days upon days of swoosh and tumble, one might wish it were the sounds of the beach but its the washer and dryer running at constant speed diminishing piled heights the size of dunes off the whitewashed boardwalk. Swish, swish, beep beep, klunk.
This months July Cottage Cooking Club selection provided vegetable courses, just as last months, worthy of posting on the Plat du Jour board announcing what company gets to experience. But, between the wash pile, not to mention the dish load catching up on the prep and photography for posts, well lets just say my house was not comfortably guest ready and I sigh relief on others vacationing with no surprise stoppers by. But these are on my list for sharing come summers grand finale.
So onto the Panzanella, and squishing the juicy red tomato through the colander before discarding skin and seeds then mixing together with cider vinegar to twice the amount of olive oil dressing and pouring over chunk bite pieces of a day old ciabatta loaf. Immediately combined with the other ingredients, red onions, peeled and seeded cucumber half moons, pitted kalamata olives, halved cherry tomatoes, and not to forget the tiny capers that complete the dish. Though, much as I am a caper fan, I’m not certain their addition imparted distinct flavor in this salad, particularly stacked up against the bold kalamatas so next time around, and there shall be a next time around, I may opt to omit them.
The marinated courgettes (zucchini) were ever so simple to prepare and yet the finished flavor, in my opinion, knocked it out of the ball park, really, really good. Thin strips of zucchini brushed with a bit of olive oil are seared until softened and golden around two minutes each side. Once finished, the pan is removed from the heat and cooled down just a bit before adding in with some extra virgin olive oil, slivers of garlic, and lemon zest. The mixture is then poured over the courgettes before seasoning a bit with salt and pepper, assembling onto a platter and sprinkling with some bits of torn mint, basil, and fresh mozzarella.
Despite having a shortened time in my kitchen over the month I’m thoroughly enjoying cooking through recipes in this book as part of the Cottage Cooking Club whose “project is aimed at incorporating more vegetable dishes in our everyday cooking. And learning new ways to prepare tasty and healthy dishes, and sharing them with family and friends.” With vacation over, what a better way for celebrating in the final weeks of the season just ahead.