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Veggie Sides

Now is the time to take advantage of fresh produce to create healthy meals.

by Jean Hecker

Incorporating vegetarian meals into the weekly mix is something I like to do, especially in summer when farmers markets are overflowing with produce fresh from the fields.

Right now zucchini are corn are king and this recipe combined with a bowl of freshly made polenta or rice makes for a great main course or, if you wish, it makes a side dish to go along with grilled steak or fried chicken.

Zucchini and Corn Saute
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves minced garlic
3 medium zucchini, diced
3 ears of fresh corn kernels
1 tbsp minced fresh basil
1/4 cup cream
1 tbsp minced lime zest
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup shaved Parmaesan cheese

Begin by heating olive oil over medium heat in large saute pan, then add garlic, zucchini, corn and mix well. Saute for about eight minutes, stirring frequently until zucchini is softened and just beginning to brown. Stir in cream for a minute, remove from heat, stir in lime zest, remove to serving platter, sprinkle with basil and top with shavings of cheese.

Easy Peasy Eggplant Parm

Another quick and easy summer side dish is fried eggplant topped with Parmaesan cream. To serve, spoon cream sauce into dish, top with fried eggplant, drizzle with your favorite tomato sauce around the side.

Fried Eggplant:
1 eggplant sliced into 1/4 inch rings
Cornstarch for dusting
Canola oil for frying
Salt and pepper to taste
Lightly dust eggplant slices in corn starch and saute in as little oil as possible. Meanwhile, make Parmaesan cream sauce.

Parmaesan Cream Sauce:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Parmaesan cheese

Make a traditional white sauce by melting butter in saucepan, add flour and stir well until combined for two minutes. Add milk, keep stirring until mixture just comes to a boil, remove from heat, add pinch of nutmeg and fold in the cheese. If sauce is too thick add a little milk.

Jean Hecker has a BA in Home Economics Education from Rowan University and enjoys exploring all facets of the food and restaurant industry.

Food for Thought