Ronnie Paul: Please bear with me
I always try to stretch out the summer season, but this year mine ended too soon. I was sad when we packed up our bed on the sleeping deck in early September and once I admitted that even while wearing a fleece, I was cold eating dinner outside on the patio.
And of course the season’s end always means I lament my didn’t-get-around-to-it list. This year mine included reading three Jane Austen novels, learning to play Pickleball, and baking fruit desserts with ingredients from our orchard.
I own up to pushing Jane Austen aside so I could putter more in the garden and although I canned a lot of pickles, I never got around to swinging a racket on a court. I plead innocent, however, to the dessert omission.
This year, instead of my family feasting on plum tarts and peach cobblers, bears celebrated our harvest. I imagine they exchange recipe ideas before scaling our fence each night and hold potlucks at undisclosed locations, each furry guest donating a fruity offering collected from a neighboring property.
Actually, I‘m thankful to live in our forested county and honored to share it with creatures who’ve lived here longer than I have. I fantasize that when we built our house decades ago, one bear said to another, “Well, there goes the neighborhood.”
As summer ends, so does bear season. Here are a few recipes with ingredients that I hope eluded them.
Here’s an end-of-summer toast to tomatoes and basil.
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Greek (thick) plain yogurt
1 tablespoon flour
½ cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Sauté the mushrooms in the oil until soft.
Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, Parmesan and salt and pepper until smooth. Stir in the mushrooms.
Pour the mixture into four well-greased ramekins. Place the ramekins in a baking pan and pour one inch of water on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees until the mixture is set and pulls slightly away from the sides of the ramekin.
Stir together the tomatoes and basil, and spoon on top of each flan.
Eggplant with Chermoula Sauce
Give your next meal a North African touch.
4 smallish Japanese eggplant (about 12 ounces), sliced lengthwise
Place the eggplant face down on a slightly greased baking tray and roast for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until soft.
Pierce the flesh of the eggplant with a fork and spoon on the following sauce.
Purée until smooth:
¼ cup parsley
¼ cup cilantro
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Lemon Zest Broccoli
If you’re wondering how to combine easy, fast, and elegant, try this dish.
8 ounces of broccoli crowns, boiled until tender yet still a bit crisp.
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon sliced blanched almonds
Toss the broccoli with the remaining ingredients and spread in a small greased baking dish. Broil until the top is until lightly browned.
Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.
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