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Food

Summer Sukkot Dinner: Heirloom Tomato Salad and Zucchini "Pappardelle"

Sukkot encourages us each year to eat autumn harvest meals outside in a roughly constructed sukkah, covered with leafy fronds and decorated with the fruits of the harvest, with a view of the night sky.

My favorite way to celebrate the holiday is by preparing a spontaneous farmers’ market dinner. I go to the market, buy the ingredients that are the most appealing and then concoct a meal out of what I found.

But thanks to intersection of Indian summer (or is it global warming?) and the early arrival of Sukkot this year, I’ve had to adjust my menu accordingly. Instead of the gourds, pumpkins and other durable fall squash that we often use to decorate the sukkah, and the root vegetables that symbolize autumn to me, I found that it’s still late summer at the farmers’ market. So to take advantage of the beautiful heirloom tomatoes and late summer corn, summer squash and zucchini, I decided to make a feast of vegetables that can be prepared without turning on the oven. The dishes below rely heavily on the wonderful natural flavors of the produce, so make sure to use the freshest ingredients possible.

You can also prepare these salads as a side dish to serve with pasta, roast chicken, turkey or other dishes.

Heirloom Tomatoes and Corn Salad
Serves 8

4 cobs of corn
1 quart of heirloom tomatoes
1 sprig oregano
6 red shallots, diced
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
½ tsp. sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

1) Husk the corn, remove corn silk, and rinse. (I use raw corn, but you can parboil it or grill it if you prefer.) Slice the kernels off the cob. There are [several methods][1], or doing this, but I simply stand the cob on its flat end on a cutting board and using a sharp chef’s knife, slice down the length of the cob. Scrape the kernels and any juices that escape into a large salad bowl.

2) Cut tomatoes in sections from stem to bottom, about 8 sections per medium sized tomato. Add tomato slices and the juices to the salad bowl.

3) Remove leaves from oregano, rip gently and add to bowl.

4) Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, sesame oil and shallots. Pour over vegetables and toss. Serve at room (sukkah) temperature.

Zucchini “Pappardelle”
Serves 8

Like spaghetti squash, this recipe replaces flour and egg noodles, with vegetables. You can mix the wide, flat slices of green zucchini and yellow summer squash with any sauce you like, with or without dairy depending on your meal. For this recipe, select the longest zucchini you can find.

8 zucchini or summer squash
1 bunch tarragon
5 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
¼ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
¼ pine nuts
3/4 cup cultured sour cream (Crema Mexicana or crème fraiche)

1) Slice zucchini and summer squash (skin on) lengthwise from stem to end with a vegetable peeler, forming long thick strips like pasta. Place in large bowl.

2) Remove leaves from tarragon and blend together in food processor or blender with garlic and olive oil to make a smooth paste. Pour over squash and toss until vegetables are evenly coated.

3) Sprinkle with cheese and nuts, then drizzle with crema.

[1]: (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/650667, http://www.amazon.com/CORN-CUTTER-SLICER-STRIPPER-KNIFE/dp/B000HPZG3E

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