Ronnie Paul
Special to The Union

Good produce always in fashion

When I took my granddaughter, Rio, clothes shopping last week, I remembered the September ritual I enacted with my mother ages ago.

Apparently whatever the decade, the kid-versus-adult fashion fuss persists. I hold up a pair of yellow cargo pants, and Rio, aghast at my appalling taste, shoots me a nose wrinkle.

I’m astounded at the clingy leopard print skirt she proposes to wear in public. As for the silver sneakers with flashing heels, she almost had a meltdown when I nixed them.

My mother also questioned my fashion choices of the time. While she favored plaid shirtwaist dresses with white collars, I swooned over felt skirts appliquéd with poodles.

I begged shamelessly for a bucket bag purse, and pleaded for white bucks that came with a cloth powder bag. And the bright red sheath dress I wanted for social dance class — “Too tight and indecent,” she declared.

Rio and I always end our shopping spree with her favorite meal, sushi. There were few ethnic restaurants in my childhood East Coast community, so our post-shopping dinner at Tommy Chen’s was an exotic finale.

Chow mein, egg foo young, wonton soup: Our order never varied, nor did the chopsticks we clumsily used, which, by the way, are commonplace utensils in my house now.

Styles change, but fresh produce is a timeless pleasure. Celebrate the fall equinox with these new recipes.

Vegequiles

6-8 main-dish servings

Think Mexican-style lasagna when you make this recipe.

12 corn tortillas, cut in sixths

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red pepper, cut in thin strips

1 gold pepper cut in thin strips

1 onion thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 6-ounce can black olives, chopped

1 4-ounce can mild green chilies

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

Custard

Blend until smooth:

2 cups buttermilk

4 eggs

salt and pepper

Sauté the peppers, onion, cumin and cilantro in the olive oil.

When the veggies are tender, put them in a bowl and stir in the corn, olives, chilies and cheddar.

Grease a 9 X 13-inch glass pan. Spread half of the cut tortillas on the bottom, followed by half of the veggie-cheese mixture.

Repeat the tortilla and veggie layers. Finally, pour the custard over everything.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes at 375-degrees. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Coincidentally, the next recipe is a great accompaniment.

Peach Salsa

About 3 cups

Here’s a goodie from this year’s abundant peach harvest.

2 cups chopped fresh peaches

1/4 cup chopped red pepper

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped cucumbers

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 teaspoons minced candied ginger

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Mix everything together, and chill.

Green Bean-Feta Salad

Serves 6

My granddaughter loves to collect green beans from the teepee trellis. Here’s what became of her recent picking.

3/4 green beans, steamed until just tender

2 scallions, cut in Os

1/4 cup chopped red pepper

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

2 ounces cubed Feta cheese

Dressing

Whisk together:

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons apple juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon powdered mustard

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

Toss the dressing with the green beans, scallions, and red pepper, and chill. Just before serving, stir in the pine nuts, Feta, and salt and pepper.

Yogurt-Cheese Pie

Serves 6-8

Don’t expect leftovers when you serve this light dessert.

1 cup ginger snap crumbs

1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds

1/4 cup melted butter

24 ounces cream cheese

24 ounces firm Greek-style yogurt

1/2 cup honey

1 teaspoon almond extract

Fruit for garnish

Combine the ginger snap crumbs, almonds, and butter in a bowl, and mix with a fork.

Pat the mixture on the bottom and sides of a buttered 10-inch deep dish glass pie pan, and bake for 10 minutes at 325 degrees. Let the crust cool.

With a hand mixer, whip together the cream cheese, yogurt, honey and almond extract until smooth. Pour it into the crust.

Bake the pie for 35 minutes at 325 degrees. It may look wobbly, but will firm up when chilled for a few hours.

Right before serving, decorate the top of the pie with fresh fruit.

Simply Tomatoes

Serves 4-6

Cherry tomatoes that escape your garden munching make this easy side dish.

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (if petite, keep them whole)

1/4 cup chopped red onion

1 packed tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper

Dressing

Whisk together:

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon water

Mix the tomatoes, onion, and basil with the dressing and chill. Just before serving, stir in the salt and pepper.

Ronnie Paul is a freelance writer in Nevada City.


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The Union Updated Sep 24, 2013 11:02PM Published Sep 24, 2013 09:58PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.