Summer Seasonal Collection

Sorry for how late this one is. I’ve already pontificated on how summer is Not For Me. So the dread of writing up this collection (which is an assignment I GAVE MYSELF) kept me kicking the can down the road. That said, I dug deep for stuff I can really only do this time of year and came up with what I think is a pretty nice, varied set of goodies. It also put into perspective just how hoardy I’ve gotten about recipes. I had 5 different ratatouilles in my e-mails, y’all.

More than the sum of its parts. Ratatouille is exceedingly simple, and this is a less fussy, more rustic version, but it requires patience. Since this is Alice Waters’ version, I tinkered minimally with it (but still did a little). Cooking the vegetables slowly helps achieve a silky final texture. I ate it straight with garlic bread and a bit of goat cheese, so this can be an entirely vegetarian meal (vegan if you nix the cheese and are careful about the wine). If you’re not a squash and eggplant fan, maybe skip to the next recipe.


1 large or 2 small eggplants, cut into 1/2 in/1.25 cm dice
1 t salt
4 T olive oil
2 medium onions, cut into 1/2 in/1.25 cm dice
4-6 garlic cloves, crushed and roughly chopped
2-3 basil sprigs, tied with twine
1 3-finger pinch red pepper flakes
1 T dry white wine
2 yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2 in/1.25 cm dice
3 medium summer squash, cut into 1/2 in/1.25 cm dice
3 ripe Roma or San Marzano tomatoes, cut into 1/2 in/1.25 cm dice
Salt to taste
Fresh torn basil
Olive oil for serving (optional)
Balsamico crema for serving (optional)


Large colander
Paper towels
Medium heat-safe bowl
Large soup pot or Dutch oven

Toss eggplant cubes with a teaspoon or so of salt and set in colander to drain while you chop the rest of the vegetables, about 20 minutes. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in soup pot over medium heat. Pat eggplant with paper towels to remove moisture and salt, then cook, stirring frequently, until golden. Remove to heat-safe bowl and set aside.

Add 2 more T oil to pot, then add onions and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, basil and red pepper flakes and cook for 2-3 minutes. If fond starts building up on bottom of pot, deglaze with wine. Stir in peppers and cook for a few minutes, until just starting to get tender. Add squash, cook for a few minutes, then add tomatoes.

Cook for 10 minutes, until tomatoes really start to break down, then stir eggplant back in. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Remove basil, pressing to extract juices, and salt to taste. Serve with fresh basil, olive oil and Balsamico crema.

Esquites is a Mexican-style corn salad, an off-the-cob interpretation of Elotes. Sweet corn isn’t really a thing in Germany. It’s available, but not outrageously sweet and juicy, like in the US. It’s also not widely consumed, as (anecdotally) lots of people still regard corn as animal feed and, therefore, unappealing as people food. So when it shows up, we jump on it to scratch our Mexican food itch. This is one of those things that gets better after sitting, so try to make it a day before you eat it.


2 T vegetable oil
4 ears fresh corn, shucked and kernels removed
salt to taste
2 T mayonnaise
2 oz/50 g cotija or feta cheese
3 green onions, finely sliced
fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (we like a lot)
1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced
1 medium clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
pinch mild chili powder
pinch ground cumin
salt to taste


Large deep bowl
Small bowl
Large skillet

How to remove kernels from a corn cob: take your large deep bowl and set your small bowl in it, inverted. Using the small bowl as a pedestal, balance the cob on its end and slice the kernels off downward with a sharp knife. The kernels will fall off into the large bowl. Congratulations on not having a kitchen littered with corn kernels!

Heat skillet over medium high and add oil. Add corn kernels carefully (they’ll pop and splatter a bit), stir until well coated with oil and distributed, then cook undisturbed for a couple of minutes. When kernels have browned and blistered a bit, stir well and salt, then cook for another 5-10 minutes. When kernels are well browned, remove to a large bowl and allow to cool. Once cool, stir in the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate overnight (or as along as you can keep your hands off of it).

Homemade Hamburger/Hot Dog Buns

If you’re a baker, this is a fun (and delicious) project.

Grilled Mushrooms

We’ve been experimenting with grilled vegetables this summer and it’s really been fun. These make a nice base for a grilled vegetable sandwich.

Chicken Sausage

We make sausage and that is a very labor and equipment intensive process. But if you want a real challenge, I highly suggest this recipe. Poultry sausage is not a thing here, so it’s a really unique dish to offer. We’ll be using it as a jumping off point for other chicken sausages, as that thigh-breast-skin combo really works to make for a flavorful result.


This was surprisingly forgiving and will support any fruit you like. If you have some egg whites hanging around, give it a shot!


My mom makes a ‘German’ potato salad. It’s not really the same as Kartoffelsalat here, but it is really, really good.

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