Roasted Sweet Peppers

When I see a bouquet of peppers like those in this week’s box, I’m so excited. You can eat them fresh, sliced into salads or stuffed with rice and cheese or grilled alongside a few links of Riverview brats. But that’s not my plan for those peppers.
I’m going to roast them. It’s a matter of a few minutes to turn those peppers into an ingredient that will flavor our meals for many weeks to come.

Santa Fe Summer Pot

Or how about this idea for a dish that will use up some tomatoes and require no cooking (if you buy precooked shrimp)? It’s from “The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper: Recipes, Stories and Opinions from Public Radio’s Award-Winning Food Show” by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift (Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2008). The shrimp could be switched out for tofu, tempeh, chicken, meats or other fish.

Serves 4

Fusilli Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and “Hidden” Squash

And all those gorgeous tomatoes! So here’s my favorite tomato sandwich. You might want to try this if you’re over your fixation with white bread and mayo. You’ll need a crusty loaf of bread like a ciabatta. Split the bread in half and layer on sliced tomatoes, olive oil, sliced fresh garlic, capers, anchovy (optional as always) and basil. Throw on a splash of red wine vinegar. Close up the loaf and let the ingredients sit for at least an hour. Eat it outside.

Your basil, like mine, probably looked pretty wilted. Do not throw it out! It’s still perfectly wonderful for a sandwich like the one above, or you can do what I did last week with mine – make ice cream. There’s a wonderful new book out, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. She makes a vanilla ice cream base and then suggests adding a bunch of basil to the ice cream mixture as it cools. Strain out the ice cream before freezing. Amazing. Then, to make it even more wonderful, she suggests caramelizing some pine nuts in honey with just a bit of butter, salting the mixture, and then stirring it into the finished ice cream for storage. Salty-sweet-buttery nuts, basil ice cream. Fabulous. I saved a little money and used half pine nuts/half pumpkin seeds. Perfect.

Don’t want to make ice cream? Try the minestrone recipe below, with its bonus recipe for a basil pistou made with almonds and tomato. Or throw the basil in the freezer (yes, well wrapped please) and pull it out when you want to make a big pot of pasta fagioli this fall. Tie the basil into a bunch and then you can just fish it out of the finished soup. Or chop it up and throw it into your next batch of spaghetti sauce. Wilted, slightly browned, none of that will matter.

And if you need another idea for tomatoes and squash, how about this pasta?

Our box held a mix of tomatoes today. Use the smaller, meatier ones for this recipe, which means leaving the big juicier specimens for your favorite sandwich. Serves 4.