~such a favorite recipe, republished in 2010~
May 2005 Original: "Pretty good! It's like a vegetable soup without meat or broth, just big chunks of vegetables. It's good hot and cold and at room temperature -- and on a pizza! It would be a great contribution for a potluck where vegetables are a rarity."
August 2007 Update: Delicious! Lesson: It pays to make something called 'Summer Vegetable Stew' in summer (duh!) when the farmers market is overflowing with fresh vegetables. I also streamlined the recipe, which put it on the table in 40 minutes although I've also learned that the stew really melds overnight so now I make it one day to serve the next. It's a sort of 'soupy stew' delicious topped with nothing more than a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan. This is a great "master recipe" for a summery vegetable stew, one that moves and adjusts based on what's available or tastes good, lima beans, fresh okra and tiny new potatoes would be great additions. The only thing that's really essential is the tomato, which provides the cooking liquid.
2010 Update: Turns out, this is one of my most-made recipes from more than 1000 recipes on A Veggie Venture, it's a really special stew and is such a great way to take advantage of the cornucopia of vegetables from gardens and farmers markets at the height of summer.
RECIPE for SUMMER VEGETABLE STEW
Time to table: 40 minutes
Makes a bunch, 9 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil (or a splash of water but do stir more often)
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
2 bell peppers, green, red or yellow or a mixture, diced in large chunks
1 pound eggplant, skin on, trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
1 yellow squash, trimmed & diced (zucchini would work too, yellow provides color variation)
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed & snapped in bite-size lengths
3 medium perfectly ripe tomatoes (blanched to remove skins of you like), cut in pieces or 30 ounces canned diced tomato
2 ears corn, kernels removed and "milked" (see TIPS) or frozen corn
1 teaspoon dried oregano, ground between fingers before adding (see TIPS)
Salt (you'll use quite a lot) & pepper
1 tablespoon good vinegar (don't skip)
Tabasco - few drops
Heat Dutch oven or large kettle over MEDIUM HIGH. Add olive oil and warm until shimmery. Add onion, stir to coat with fat, sauté for about 5 minutes until just soft. Add garlic and peppers, sauté another 5 minutes. Add eggplant, cook another 5 minutes. Add squash, beans, and any other vegetables and let cook for about 5 minutes. Finally, add tomato, corn, oregano, and season to taste. Reduce heat to MEDIUM, cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are done but still crisp-tender. Stir in vinegar and Tabasco, adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately or better yet, refrigerate for 24 hours. I love this served cold, with a spoonful of yogurt or a splash of cream!
The flavor is mild, the texture soft. For a bit of heat, add Tabasco or red pepper flakes after cooking. For a bit of crunch, add the green pepper after cooking.
HERBS Crumbled dried herbs between your fingers before adding. Your fingers will smell good -- and the herb's essence will be more pronounced.
WEIGHT WATCHERS This recipe gets attention from Weight Watchers fans, because if cooked without oil, it can be a zero-point vegetable. That said, (1) my practice is to calculate all calories, no 'free' foods, even vegetables. (How you count, that's up to you!) (2) It's hard to measure points since every pot will vary with different vegetables.
EGGPLANT If you worry about bitterness in eggplant, this technique from the inspiring recipe can be used before starting the cooking. "Cut eggplant in cubes, leaving skin on. Transfer to colander in several batches, sprinkling each batch liberally with salt. LET DRAIN ONE HOUR. (Don't rinse away the salt.)" That said, I find this technique unnecessary and didn't use it when remaking in 2007.
CORN Much of the flavor from fresh corn is in its 'milk'. Remove the husk and silk, then, holding the ear upright inside a bowl, slice off the kernels with a knife. Then run the side of the knife along the cob top to bottom, 'milking' the corn juice into the bowl.