Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer Vegetable Gratin

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For the past few weeks, my CSA (community shared agriculture) has been giving out lots of juicy red tomatoes. Funny thing is, I love cooked tomato of any kind..tomato sauce, roasted tomato...etc. But I am not a fan of raw tomato, I can tolerate a couple slices appear in my sandwich. How do people eat a tomato like eating an apple?

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Luckily, the endless supply of summer squash and other summer veggie from CSA gave me this great idea to use up some tomatoes.

Anyone getting tired of zucchini and squash yet?

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I love the vibrant colors of the veggies.

This is my first year getting vegetables from CSA, and I love it.
I don't know what I will be getting until the day of, then it's like on Iron Chef when I make dishes based on what ingredients I have. Not only does CSA "makes" me eat lots of veggies, but also try new vegetables. No more boiled broccoli and sautee green beans. The initial cost of going into CSA might seem high, but if it's shared with others the cost is reasonable for the number of weeks with fresh produce. 

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Summer Vegetable Gratin

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped red onion
2 medium squash, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1.5 cups chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup cooked brown rice (or other grains will do)
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme 
1/2 cup milk
3 ounces (3/4 cup) Parmesan cheese, shredded
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2-3 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1.5 ounces breadcrumbs*
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add oil, swirl to coat. Add onion, cook until transparent, about 3 minutes. Add bell pepper, cook for 2 minutes. Add squash and garlic, cook for 5 minutes. Stir in brown rice, 1/4 cup basil, thyme, salt, and black pepper.
3. Combine salt, milk, cheese, and eggs in a medium bowl, mix well. Add milk mixture to vegetables, stirring until combined. Spoon mixture into an 11x7 baking dish.
4. Arrange tomato slices over vegetable mixture, top evenly with breadcrumbs. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until topping is browned. Served with remaining basil.

Any other summer vegetable can be substitute

*To make breadcrumb, here's my fool-proof recipe: Toast a slice of bread for 4 minutes (careful not to burn). Tear toast into 1-inch pieces and place in a food processor. Process until coarse crumbs form. Ta-Da!

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