Curtis Stone’s Harvest Feast

Savor the rich, earthy flavors of autumn's bounty, with tips from the celebrity chef and author.

Photography by Quentin Bacon

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Late summer is still prime time to enjoy garden-fresh vegetables at their peak. I love growing and cooking with the deep greens and purples of eggplant, broccoli, and peppers later in the season. Create a colorful, delicious, and welcoming menu for family and guests by using as many vegetables as possible.

Eggplant and end-of-summer tomatoes are two of my seasonal favorites. When shopping at the market, look for eggplants that are smooth, shiny, and heavy for their size — reject any with wrinkled, dull, or bruised skin.

In the kitchen, preparing the perplexing purple vegetable can be tricky, leaving even confident cooks befuddled. And when it’s not cooked properly, eggplant can become watery, tough, and bitter. The solution? Salting the eggplant draws out the bitterness and water. Removing excess moisture helps give cooked eggplant a creamy, silken, and tender texture — that’s when it’s best! And in September, you can take advantage of the warm weather by firing up the grill to make Grilled Eggplant with Mint Vinaigrette.

A cross between broccoli and Chinese kale, broccolini hits its peak in October. With its long, tender stalks and slightly sweeter flavor, broccolini can be swapped in any recipes calling for broccoli. For a quick and vegetarian main course, try Portobello Mushroom, Green Onion, and Broccolini Stir-Fry.

Grilled Eggplant with Mint Vinaigrette

Photography by Quentin Bacon

(Makes 4 servings)

  • 2 eggplants (1 pound each), cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint, plus small leaves for garnish
  • Small square feta cheese, for shaving

Lay eggplant slices in single layer on 2 baking sheets and sprinkle both sides with salt. Set aside about 30 minutes, or until moisture beads on top of eggplant.

Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Rinse eggplant to remove excess salt, and pat dry. Brush eggplant slices with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, coating both sides. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Working n batches, grill eggplant about 5 minutes per side, or until char marks form and eggplant is very tender. Transfer to platter as you finish each batch.

Meanwhile, grate zest of lemon into small bowl. Halve lemon and squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice into bowl. Whisk in vinegar, shallots, chopped mint, and remaining 5 tablespoons oil. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon vinaigrette over grilled eggplant and sprinkle with mint leaves. Using vegetable peeler, shave thin slices of feta cheese over eggplant. Sprinkle with pepper and serve.

Per serving
Calories: 372
Total Fat: 31 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Sodium: 286 mg
Carbohydrate: 23 g
Fiber: 10 g
Protein: 6 g
Diabetic Exchanges: 3 vegetable, 1/2 milk, 2 fat

Portobello Mushroom, Green Onion, and Broccolini Stir-Fry

Photography by Quentin Bacon

(Makes 4 servings)

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped
  • fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 ounces broccolini, thick bottoms trimmed, large stalks halved lengthwise
  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps, dark gills scraped out with a spoon, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 6 scallions (white and green parts), cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted*
  • 3 cups long-grain rice, freshly cooked

In small bowl, whisk shallots, vinegar, oyster sauce, thyme, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil together. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl it to coat cooking surface with olive oil. Add broccolini and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until it is bright green and beginning to char in spots. Stir in mushrooms and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute, or until they just begin to soften. Stir in scallions, ginger, and garlic, add shallot mixture, and stir for about 3 minutes, or until broccolini is tender. Stir in half of sesame seeds. Transfer to a large platter and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds. Serve immediately with the rice.

Toasting Seeds: Heat a dry small skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add seeds and cook, stirring almost constantly, for about 1 minute or until lightly toasted and fragrant. Transfer to plate and cool.

Per serving
Calories: 312
Total Fat: 11 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Sodium: 231 mg
Carbohydrate: 46 g
Fiber: 4 g
Protein: 7 g
Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 fat

This article is featured in the September/October 2017 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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