Cooking Cove: More easy summer dishes, this time with veggies

Cooking Cove: More easy summer dishes, this time with veggies

Pixabay photo

By Barbara Beltrami

If you read my column last week, you know that I wrote about easy summer dinners with fish. This week I’m focusing on veggies and using all that bounty from farm stands, supermarkets and best of all, your own garden. Or maybe you don’t have a garden but your neighbor does and generously shares her harvests with you. Whatever the source, whatever the veggies, (and they’re  likely to include tomatoes!) it’s a perfect set up for you to take it easy in the kitchen. 

Farro Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumber, Peppers and Corn

YIELD: Makes 8 servings


2 cups semi-pearled farro

Salt to taste

1 English cucumber, peeled and diced

4 tomatoes, diced

1 small red onion, peeled and diced

2 ears of corn, kernels removed, separated

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 medium lemon

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 basil sprig for garnish


In a large heavy pot or skillet toast farro over medium heat for about 4 minutes; remove pot from heat and pour in cold water and salt to cover farro by one inch. Over medium-high heat bring water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, give it a good stir and, skimming foam occasionally, cook until al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain farro, transfer to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Add cucumber, tomatoes, onion, corn, lemon juice, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper; toss to thoroughly combine. Just before serving garnish with basil. Serve with crusty bread and extra virgin olive oil.

Tomato Eggplant and Goat Cheese Tart

YIELD: Makes one 10 to 12” tart


10 to 12” pastry crust

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/4 pounds eggplant, peeled and diced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

4 medium plum tomatoes, sliced

4 to 6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1 sprig basil, leaves torn

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves


Place a rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 400 F. Roll out pastry to a circle one to two inches larger than pan using. Press into pan and leave overhang; fold overhang back and press against inside of pan sides to make them thicker than bottom. 

In medium-large skillet over medium-high heat warm 3 tablespoons of the oil; add garlic, eggplant, and salt and pepper; stir to coat evenly with oil and saute until eggplant is golden brown and tender, about 15 minutes; remove and let cool to room temperature. 

Brush bottom crust of pastry with remaining tablespoon of oil, distribute tomato slices evenly on crust, season with salt and pepper, then spoon eggplant over tomatoes. Place goat cheese and herbs on top and bake until crust and goat cheese are golden, about one hour; remove from oven and let sit about 10 minutes on wire rack.  Serve with a garden lettuce salad dressed with a simple vinaigrette.

Coconut Curried Veggie Soup

YIELD:  Makes 4 servings


6 ounces rice noodles, cooked

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 cup chopped carrots or yellow summer squash

One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

One 14-ounce can coconut milk

1 cup fresh or frozen peas, chopped green beans, bok choy or green pepper

1 lime

4 sprigs fresh cilantro for garnish


In a medium pot over medium heat, warm the oil; add the carrots or squash, ginger, garlic onion, curry paste, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to brown and stick to bottom of pan; stir in coconut milk, peas, beans, bok choy or green pepper, season again and cook about 6 minutes, until first cup of veggies is tender and second cup turns bright green. Squeeze juice from half the lime over mixture and stir. Place noodles in 4 bowls, spoon veggie mixture over them, add juice from other lime half, if desired, and garnish with cilantro. Serve with ice cold beer.