Hello, my lovely friends!
I’m very new to this whole blogging thing, and am trying to have some kind of discipline about it. I’m trying to post on a regular basis—every Monday at the least—but for that I need a bit more focus than I currently have…just when I think things are beginning to take shape, I get sidetracked.
Honestly, I would probably get side-tracked even if things weren’t shaping up.
(Oh look! It’s a bright, shiny, thing! And there are just so, sooo, many bright, shiny, things out there!)
See? I told you.
Back to the blog. I had every intention of posting something tasty yesterday for “Meatless Monday”, but I went out on the bike for a while. Then the firewood delivery came. Next came the garden chores,
and I sort of forgot to go back into the house. In fact, I sort of forgot that I had anything to do inside at all. Wow, dinnertime came fast…
So, how about “Meatless Monday” on Tuesday? That’s what’s coming up—the end result of a day of distractions and some zucchini that were a tad too large to slice and sauté or steam, but not big enough to heave over the fence to the cows.
I found the original recipe yesterday in a blog (another bright, shiny, thing) that I just love called “Sweetie’s Home”, where as best I could tell—it’s written in Italian—she was encouraging people not to abandon their ovens just because it was summertime. I looked at her gorgeous pictures and was immediately sucked into the dare, 90 degrees outside and 77 in my kitchen or not!
Here is a loose adaptation of her wonderful Vegetable Gratin—or in Italian, which sounds ever-so-much-lovelier—Gratin di Verdure. Her photography is delectable too! I’m saying ‘loose adaptation’ because I made a few adjustments to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand. That, and I was basically cooking on the fly. I also don’t have amounts, as I made this ‘by feel’, and you can too! I don’t think you could go wrong with these ingredients, so adjust everything to your taste.
Adapted from a recipe for ‘Gratin di verdure’ in the blog, “Sweetie’s Home
2 largish zucchini, 10” or so
1 red bell pepper
grated pecorino cheese*
shaved parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
*The original recipe called for pecorino only, which I only had a small amount of on hand. I did, however, have a large chunk of the incredible Dry Jack from the Vella Cheese Company in Sonoma, and a bit of mozzarella which needed to be used up. I sliced them all on the mandoline and crumbled them over each layer. I also used very small amounts of cheese—probably no more than ¼ cup of each. I’m certain you could use whatever hard cheese you have on hand, in varying amounts, with equally delicious results!
Preheat your oven to 375 F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper oiled with a bit of olive oil.
- Slice the zucchini lengthwise into wide, thin strips—about 1/16”. A mandoline will do this easily.
- Slice the whole bell pepper into 1/16” strips.
- Place a single layer of the zucchini on the baking sheet, with the tiniest overlap between the strips.
- Add pieces of the bell pepper.
- Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the vegetables, a dash of red pepper flakes, then layer a small amount of parmesan and mozzarella cheese on the top.
- Repeat this with the remaining zucchini.
- When all the layers are assembled, drizzle some olive oil over the top, and sprinkle with the pecorino.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top turns golden.
Oh, and just so you know, the temperature in my kitchen only rose by 1 degree—so totally worth it!
Buon appetito, and thank you for coming to see me!
P.S. I’m headed off to Humboldt County and the beautiful California redwoods to visit family and friends in Arcata. Hopefully, there is a plate of pasta carbonara and a glass of Barbera with my name on it at Abruzzi on the Arcata Plaza!