Christine Hanna, president of Hanna Winery & Vineyards in Sonoma, California, knows firsthand about living off the land. Her cookbook, the aptly titled The Winemaker Cooks (Chronicle Books; $35), shares with readers 100 simple, seasonally-inspired recipes, including these tasty, late-summer dishes: Japanese Eggplant Salad and Summer Tomato Pizza. Both recipes utilize two hot-weather must-haves, an outdoor grill and tantalizingly fresh produce.
4 or 5 small Japanese eggplants, cut into 1-inch diagonal slices
2 cups Sun Gold tomatoes
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 cups arugula
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Preheat a gas grill/barbecue to medium-high, or prepare in a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill.
In a medium bowl, toss the eggplant in the olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat for 5 minutes on each side, or until just soft.
If eggplant is still not cooked through, reduce heat, cover and cook for five minutes more. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
In a large bowl, toss cooled eggplant with tomatoes, feta, arugula/rocket, mint and vinaigrette (3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper). Serves 6.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
One 12 inch pizza dough round
4 ounces fresh, whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup very thinly sliced fresh basil
Preheat a gas grill/barbecue to the highest temperature you can, or prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Place the dough round on a pizza peel dusted lightly with cornmeal.
Brush the garlic oil liberally over the entire dough round. Spread the ricotta evenly all over the pizza. Place the tomatoes on the pizza, then scatter the basil on top.
Slide the dough directly on the grill/barbecue grids, cover, and cook until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbling (5-8 minutes). Serves 2-3.
Recipes courtesy of The Winemaker Cooks, available on amazon.com.