Sunday, September 02, 2007

La Festa al Fresco

This time last year Lis and Ivonne hosted their first La Festa Al Fresco and thankfully they are doing it again this year. The idea is to prepare any sort of dish - be it appetizer, dessert, drink - with seasonal ingredients and bring it to the party. Last year I chose to use tomatos from my favorite vendor at the farmers market. This year we've put in a garden so I couldn't wait for round 2 of La Festa al Fresco so I could cook a dish with something from our garden.

It looked like we were going to have a bumper crop of zucchini, so I came up with 2 ideas for the party. But our zuke plants haven't done well at all, or rather the plants themselves are huge, but the zucchinis have all died. Most people have zucchini growing out of control but I can't even grow one! My thumb may not be as green as I had hoped.

I really wanted to try out my ideas so I picked up some zucchini from the market. Here's my first dish for the party - Zucchini and Goat Cheese.

I sliced the zucchini in very thin rounds. I covered a baking sheet with parchment paper and made circles of overlapping zucchini slices. I mixed some finely chopped garlic, salt and olive oil together and brushed the zucchini with the oil. The broiler was preheated and the zucchini cooked until they were just starting to brown. I crumbled some goat cheese into the left over garlic oil and when the zucchini came out of the oven the cheese was dotted over top and the pan returned to the oven until the cheese was hot and the zucchini is turning golden. Remove from the oven and very carefully move the rounds to a plate and sprinkle with basil.

Next up is Zucchini and Prosciutto.

Wedges of zucchini tossed with lemon juice and olive oil, then wrapped with prosciutto and cooked on the grill until the zucchini is tender and the prosciutto is crisp. Squirt with lemon before eating.

I was very happy with both dishes - they were delicious - but a bit sad that I hadn't made anything with ingredients from the garden. Then the other day while writing this post I realized that it had been a while since I had made corn soup. And what 2 ingredients for corn soup are growing in my garden?

Potatos and onions!

My recipe is based on this recipe but I've altered it for what I had on hand this morning.

Corn Soup the Second

85 g bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced (from the garden!)
1 yellow or red pepper, seeded and diced
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped (from the garden!)
1 tsp cumin
1 lb potatos diced (from the garden!)
3 ears of corn, kernels removed
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup light cream
salt and pepper

In a large pot over medium heat cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towel. Leave the bacon fat in the pot. Add the diced onions and peppers and cook 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are soft and starting to color. Add the rosemary, cumin, potatos, corn kernels and chicken broth. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cream and bacon. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.


Lis said...

YOU, my love, ROCK! Three?? Bless your cotton socks!

And lemme tell ya.. I'm reading this and all I can think of is.. she needs to make this for me. And this. Oh and this. So uhmm.. can you get on that, please? We're home all day tomorrow - so come on over! :D

Thank you so much - all 3 look heavenly.. but dear God I keep going back to look at those zucchini sticks wrapped in Prosciuto.. holy hell.. must. have. SOON.

Love you!

Peabody said...

Oh my. Pour me a bowl of that soup.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

We're right behind you on growing courgettes (zuchini). At some point I'll post a picture of the tiny one we found when we returned from holiday. Someone told me they're supposed to grow like weeds. Well, not in our garden they don't. Great recipes!

Ivonne said...

Oh, Sara! Look at you! Not only do you bring your lovely self to the party but you bring three incredible dishes.

Isn't a garden of your own so lovely!

Thank you for using it as inspiration for our party!

Sara said...

Lis - thanks for your lovely words AND for doing the party again this year. Can't wait to see what everyone else brings.

Peabody - but I'm running out of time with the garden and markets! Gotta make hay while the sun shines, or some crap like that.

Amanda - thank you!

Ivonne - We are having so much fun with the garden. If only a few things would grow just a bit better...

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Those two zucchini dishes look totally so good to eat and equally easy to do!
Certainly three's charm here Sara. Excellent corn soup; many times I do mine with buttermilk.

peasantwench said...

My zucchini plants keep flowering - big yellow flowers. Very pretty. I simply don't know why they keep doing that instead of say, making zucchinis.

Anonymous said...

Ohh all the dishes look tasty.


Sara said...

Tanna - mmmm, buttermilk. I don't think I've ever had buttermilk in soup.

PW - exactly! Must be the calgary weather.

Ani -thank you!

Sarah said...

Dont feel bad, almost all my zukes kicked the bucket too. Either that or they're TINY!! Excellent recipes though!

Andrea said...

Zucchini with goat cheese just sounds perfect and looks delicious!