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Old Stand-byes

Faced with the usual dilemma of what to do with the surfeit of produce from my best friend's garden, we decided to turn to an old long-forgotten dish called ratatouille, a major staple on our table for years. Turned out to be fantastic, especially with fresh veggies. Does anyone have a dish out there, given the season, that you wrote off as a cliche, that you've recently rediscovered? Sometimes old friends are the best!
PS. I still have great memories of my Mom's Lobster Newburgh and Beef Wellington!

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  1. This could be a very long reply, but I shall spare recounting the table of contents from the original NYT. Thinking of foods of my childhood, popovers sound good. Also crab cakes using the Old Bay recipe as crab season begins to wind down.

    2 Replies
      1. re: ellabee

        Yes to popovers. And Yorkshire pudding.

      1. re: sandylc

        I agree . I've actually only had it once a few weeks ago but it always seemed interesting to me and like it would be tasty yet I kept reading how dated it was. Oh well, I gave it a try with swordfish and it was fabulous.

        1. re: sandylc

          One of my absolute favorites that used to be common on menus and never seen today!

        2. I've gone back to making quiche.

          And tonight we had tuna salad sandwiches. Surprisingly good with fresh oregano from my potted herb garden. Also fresh tomato sections and watermelon slices.

          5 Replies
          1. re: sueatmo

            Me too on the quiche. Such a versatile and tasty item.

            1. re: tcamp

              Me three. I swirl garden pesto into mine.

            2. re: sueatmo

              Tuna always hits the spot and for some reason I always scoff at it until it's the only thing around or I'm willing to make and I'm reminded how great it is.

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                Me too. But good tuna from Costco is quite good.

              2. re: sueatmo

                Yes to the tuna! We do a lot of improv spins on salad nicoise during the summer. So much better with all the fresh veggies and good oil packed tuna.

                Quiche is great but always seems to be more of a winter dish. Great made with the abundance of winter greens and squash.

              3. As my tomatoes and basil are competing with each other as to which can grow the most, bruschetta has been a lovely companion these past weeks. Even if all we have to put it on is toasted sandwich bread, yum.

                And waiting for our CSA bag on Thursday for the eggplant (hopefully), then ratatouille time. Might have to watch the movie first with the kiddo so veggies are "cool". Never underestimate the power of disney. . .

                1. Long-forgotten to you, maybe, but not on this website. They are all currently made, especially ratatouille.

                  There's a thread on vintage cakes on the HC board, and occasional discussions of aspic but the latter really does seem to be a rarity these days, save for the Julie Powells of this world, who are cooking their way through Julia Child or other seminal older cookbooks.

                  1. Chicken Kiev
                    Stuffed pasta shells
                    Yellow cake with store bought chocolate frosting

                    1. Make a summer gratin! Easy yet sometimes a lot of slicing/chopping, they are SO delicious with fresh vegetables like tomatoes, squash, zucchini and eggplant. I found this article in Fine Cooking years ago and their summer squash and tomato gratin is too die for. Here is the link:


                      Note: I do not drain the tomatoes and haven't had it be an issue. Skip that step and save yourself a bunch of time.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: lynnlato

                        Some pretty cool ideas, especially quiche. We have a neighbor who raises chickens and gives us fresh eggs. Fantastic. also thinking of making vichyssoise while it's still summer. Used to love it!

                        1. re: lynnlato

                          I make gratins with summer veggies all the time. I never bother to saute anything- I just slice it a little thinner. I use lots of s&p on the layers and dot with butter.

                          1. re: Berheenia

                            I don't sauté the veggies either. The tomato and summer squash gratin I linked to doesn't recommend sauteing. It's pretty easy to throw together, actually with the hardest part being carmelizing the onions... but oh how I love carmelized onions.

                            1. re: lynnlato

                              Actually the link did recommend sauteing the bottom layer

                              'Choose your own combination of summer vegetables, herbs, and cheeses to create a layered gratin.

                              Bottom layer
                              onions (yellow or red, thinly sliced and sautéed)
                              leeks (thinly sliced and sautéed)
                              fennel (thinly sliced and sautéed)
                              bell peppers and onions (thinly sliced and sautéed)
                              garlic (minced and added to any of the above at the end of sautéing)

                        2. I've never quit making souffles.

                          1 Reply
                          1. I've rediscovered tomatoes on deli sandwiches. Possibly won't be quite the nirvana in January as it has been this summer!

                            1. Scrambled eggs. I'd gotten into a "sunny side up" routine. Recently watched a video of Jacques Pepin making scrambled; ordered a French (de Buyer) fry pan, and I've been having outrageously great scrambled eggs ever since. I'd forgotten how much I love simple scrambled eggs, cooked well.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: MrsPatmore

                                wow it seems I've made a few discoveries recently (see above). I also recently turned back to my favorite scrambled eggs. I have been on an omelet and sunny side up kick for like a year and decided to try scrambled the other day and remembered how much I like them.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                  Cool. Here in New Mexico it's tough to resist putting green chile or salsa on them. If and when it ever cools off here, I'd like to try my hand at beef stroganoff or coq au vin, another couple of oldies but goodies.

                                  1. re: tfallath

                                    There is no reason to resist green chile!

                              2. Gardening in Tucson in the summer is a challenge, many of us give it up or minimize what's grown at home and make the drive to Willcox, which has several farms, many of which are you-pick (my favorite). When we come back with a load of produce, I make calabacitas. Sautee sliced or diced zucchini in a dry skillet, add an onion, salt, pepper, a few diced green chiles that have been roasted either on the grill or with a propane or butane torch, some chopped tomatoes, some chiffonaded fresh Mexican oregano from my own garden. Put in a casserole, top with some cheese (preferably cotija or queso fresco), bake until hot. Man, that's good eats.

                                1. Tomatoes cut in half horizontally, meat scooped out and combined with breadcrumbs, herbs, and Parmigiano and then put back into tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and baked until soft. Great hot, cold or anywhere in between.

                                  1. Our favorite summer lunch is gazpacho made with our home grown vegetables and an egg salad sandwich on the side.

                                    1. My mom's beef Stroganoff ! Although it's certainly not Stroganoff Season I can't wait for it to cool down so I can make it... YUM.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: sparky403

                                        Haven't eaten that since my mom made it decades ago. I might give that recipe a look.

                                      2. Blanquette de veau (veal stew in a velouté sauce), using the recipe from Julia Child's original Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Never fails to blow people away.

                                        1. I love chicken divan, turkey tetrazzini and roast beef with sauce espagnol. I am on a bit of an oldie but goody kick, of course no cream of any soup is involved in any of these dishes.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Gloriaa

                                            Wow, you guys are amazing! Now that the weather is supposed to cool off, I plan to delve into some of those golden oldies, and forget about cholesterol for a while. I freaking love turkey tetrazzini! Maybe something like coq au vin or boeuf bourguinon. Really good food never is dated. Also remember my mother's sauerbraten. Can still smell it!

                                          2. Last year at this time I made some food for a club event. The simplest thing that took advantage of all the produce available was a set of dips for pita bread: tzatziki, roasted red pepper hummus, and baba ghanoush.

                                            Baba ghanoush -- roasted eggplant mixed with tahini, garlic, and lemon juice -- was so often served in the late 1970s and early 1980s that it became a cliche. But I hadn't made or been offered any for many years.

                                            To my amazement, many of the members who enjoyed it wanted to know what it was (and to have the recipe). They're mostly my age, so I'd assumed they'd had the same experience of baba ghanoush being served at every gathering in their young adult years. If so, they'd forgotten it. One friend did slap her forehead when I answered the question, so I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one who'd been over-exposed to the dish.

                                            1. i love a dish that my mom made, but i hadn't had in a while: southern yellow crookneck squash casserole, made with squash, onions, eggs, cracker crumbs and maybe cheese of some sort. along the lines of this: http://www.food.com/recipe/squash-cas...
                                              i tend to leave the squash undercooked in stage one, so they still have a little more texture after baking. don't skimp on the black pepper.

                                              it is so simple, but great comfort food highlighting the squash.

                                              i do the same thing with eggplant, and in that i definitely use cheddar cheese also.