It's a great time of the year! Gardens are growing and the farmer's markets all over all open for business. If you have never had to opportunity to take in your local farmer's markets, I say now is your chance!
You can find wonderful produce for a fraction of the cost as in the supermarkets, not to mention how much better all the produce tastes. Here in the Show-Me state there are local markets all across the state. Get out to yours!
I'm planning on going tonight to the local market in Jeff City with my husband. I am not having very good luck with my green beans this year. I've only blanched three freezer bags of beans thus far and now the bugs have attacked my beans, I don't think they are going to produce much this year.
So, I'm going to buy some fresh beans from some of the local growers. Farmer's market produce is truly the next best thing to your own homegrown produce.
I'm also going to pick up some eggplant and sweet corn. I grew corn this year in the garden, but not the edible kind. I grew what is called Indian Corn. I wrote an article for Ozark Farm & Neighbor Newspaper, a great little farm publication that covers southwest Missouri about the Meyer Family, who runs the Meyer Tree & Berry Farm. They raise berries and put together fun corn mazes and pumpkin patches where children can go in and pick their own pumpkins. Mr. Meyer gave me some of his wonderful Indian corn to grow and it has done very well this summer.
Here is a great recipe to use up more of the squash and zucchini you probably have laying around. And if you don't have any go to a local farmer's market and pick some up and support your area producers. I guarantee you won't be sorry.
Italian Squash Gratin
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 medium onions (14 oz. total), thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/4 lb. ripe red tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 lb. (about 2 small) zucchini or other green summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3/4 lb. (about 2 small) yellow summer squash or golden zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
3 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. coarse salt
1-1/4 cups frParmesanated parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cooking the onions:
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, until limp and golden brown, about 20 min. Add the garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, 1 to 2 min. Spread the onions and garlic evenly in the bottom of an oiled 2-qt. shallow gratin dish (preferably oval). Let cool.
Assemble the gratin:
Heat the oven to 375°F.
In a bowl, toss the zucchini and squash slices with 1-1/2 Tbs. of the olive oil, 2 Tbs. of the thyme, and 1/2 tsp. of the salt.
Reserve half of the cheese for the top of the gratin. Sprinkle 1 Tbs. of the thyme over the onions in the gratin. Starting at one end of the baking dish, lay a row of slightly overlapping tomato slices across the width of the dish and sprinkle with a little of the cheese. Next, lay a row of zucchini, overlapping the tomatoes, and sprinkle with cheese. Repeat with a row of squash, and then repeat rows, sprinkling each with cheese, until the gratin is full.
Season lightly with pepper and the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Drizzle the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil over all. Combine the reserved cheese with the remaining 1 Tbs. thyme and sprinkle this over the whole gratin. Cook until well-browned all over and the juices have bubbled for a while and reduced considerably, 65 to 70 min. Let cool for at least 15 min. before serving.