Recipes for fresh summer veggies – Tricks and Tips

Recipes for fresh summer veggies

One of the best parts of late summer is the fresh produce coming from farmers markets, orchards and backyard gardens. The other day, a family friend dropped off some juicy tomatoes at my family’s door, while another gave us the largest zucchini I had ever seen! As grateful as we were, I must admit my family passed by the produce for a few days wondering, “What are we going to do with these?” I set out on a quest to find some simple summer recipes for those of us who aren’t super skilled in the kitchen, but definitely aren’t afraid to get creative!

If you were gifted a plethora of tomatoes, I’d recommend creating a salsa or bruschetta. Both last a while in the fridge if not immediately consumed, have easily adjustable recipes depending on serving size and tend to be crowd-pleasers. Think of this– you might get the chance to share with friends and family visiting in the near future, and these two options are always hits! For a bruschetta, you really only need three main ingredients and a mix of seasonings for flavor; for the best results, use tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper, atop your choice of artisan bread.

This recipe is quick and easy and can serve a family of four. Start by preheating the oven at 400 degrees. Slice the entire loaf of bread, and pop the slices in for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Dice three tomatoes, mince 6 to 8 leaves of basil, and mix together in a medium sized bowl. Feel free to drain excess liquid from the mix if you want to avoid getting the bread soggy. Next, add a dash of salt and pepper to taste. In a separate small bowl, mix together ¼ cup of olive oil and minced garlic to create a glaze. This prep period should last just about as long as the bread needs to stay in the oven! Once you pop the warm bread out, apply the garlic glaze to each slice. Then, carefully add small scoops of the tomato and basil mix generously to complete the basic bruschetta recipe! As a finishing touch, sprinkle some parmesan cheese over the entire plate, and enjoy! 

If you find yourself with an excess of eggplant, zucchini or squash, here is another simple recipe that can usually be created with just the vegetable and what you already have in your home! In my case, the aforementioned giant veggie-gift inspired my discovery of this crispy fried zucchini recipe.

For this savory treat, gather zucchini (or a similar vegetable), olive oil, breadcrumbs, milk, eggs, salt, and pepper. Thinly slice your vegetable of choice – you’ll want the medallions to be about a half inch thick. Then submerge them in salted water as you prep the rest of the recipe. To serve as an appetizer for a family of four, I recommend using two good size zucchinis. Next, whisk together three eggs, ¼ cup of milk and salt and pepper to create a batter. Before you dunk the medallions in the batter make sure you have a frying pan with oil ready on the stove over medium heat or around 300 degrees. Once the oil is simmering, dip each medallion in the egg mixture, immediately coat them in bread crumbs and place into the oil. Repeat these steps with each piece until your pan is comfortably packed. Once the pieces brown, remove them and place them on a plate covered with a paper towel. Some sauce options might enhance the appetizer, but they’re also excellent as they are.

As you explore different recipe possibilities, keep an open mind, be flexible, and don’t worry if it doesn’t come out perfectly. With fresh ingredients and a little patience, you can’t go wrong

Francesca Fontánez is a Meriden based journalist, educator, and creative. A graduate of both the University of New Haven and the University of Bridgeport, she is happy to be back in Meriden writing about the city she loves and surrounding areas. When she’s not teaching ELA at Washington Middle School she’s either exploring the Eastern seaboard for her lifestyle blog (@ eastsidevibes on Instagram) or working on music for her band, Cessa and The Zach. Email Francesca at [email protected] gmail.com with tips on what you want to read about next, or just to say hi!


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