My friend and fellow chef, Hans Rueffert appeared on the Cooks Warehouse Stage at the Decatur Book Festival today. Hans loves fresh, seasonal food and his demo did not disappoint: beautiful fresh zipper peas and fennel. His book, Eat Like There’s No Tomorrow is a celebration of all things beautiful and delicious. Check it out at 

In the spirit of the fat and luscious tomatoes we are still enjoying – here is a fantastic veggie dinner that is a snap to make:

Fresh Tomato and Zucchini Summer Stew

1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Red Onion, Minced
2 Zucchinis, Sliced and Drained*
¼ Tsp Ground Cumin
¼ Tsp Ground Turmeric
½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Can Drained Chickpeas
6 Large Red Tomatoes, Chopped and Drained*
Kosher or Sea Salt to Taste
Cracked Black Pepper to Taste

For Garnish
0% Fat Greek Yogurt (salted lightly)
Chopped Fresh Herbs

To Serve
1 Baguette or County Loaf cut into Croustades (long slender sticks) and sprayed with Butter Flavored Spray (or brush lightly with olive oil). Toast in a 350F oven until brown and crispy about 8 – 10 minutes.

Step One
Sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil over medium low heat for 20 – 30 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add the zucchini, cumin and paprika and cook and stir until wilted about 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and cook until warm. Taste and add the salt and pepper. Serve, topped with a dollop of salted greek yogurt and chopped herbs.

*When using vegetables with lots of liquid, like tomatoes, cucumbers or squash, chop the veggies and place them in a colander over a bowl. Salt lightly and let drain for at least 30 minutes before using them. Your finished dish will not turn out watery.

And, a drink for before dinner:

Fresh Fruit Aqua Fresca

6 – 8 Cups Ripe Watermelon
½ Cup Pomegranate Juice, (or Raspberry Juice)
¼ Cup Fresh Lime Juice

Puree the watermelon in a blender. Strain the watermelon in a strainer to remove solids. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Serve over ice and enjoy! This would also be delicious with a little sparkling wine:)

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