Tomatoes, squash, eggplants and beans — they’re all finally here! When it comes to summer vegetables, we’re in full celebration mode. That’s why we selected the new Beekman Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook, from Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell (also known as The Fabulous Beekman Boys), as our pick for the June Cookbook Club. Like the duo’s previous books, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook and The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook, this one features recipes worthy of being passed down from generation to generation. With 100 dishes inspired by ingredients from the farm and garden, it shows how to make the most of each season by bringing vegetables to the front and center.
Here, we talk to Brent and Josh all about the new book — what inspired them, what they’re eating this summer, and the recipes they return to again and again. Try their recipes below, then scroll down to see when they’ll be stopping by your local Williams-Sonoma store!
What inspired you to write this book? How does it fit into the other books in your Heirloom series?
We wanted to create a book that pushed vegetables to the forefront and really helped them shine in the recipes, and create dishes that even people who swear they “don’t like vegetables” would find irresistible. We also wanted to create a book that you could actually carry with you to the grocery store or farmers’ market, see what was in season or being harvested or something you’ve never known how to prepare, and come up with a great meal idea.
Describe the recipes in the book. What makes them great for everyday cooking?
In all of our books, we only include recipes that are worthy of becoming “heirlooms” – recipes that will be made and put on your table so often that they have their own stories and memories associated with them. In order for a recipe to be made that often, it has to be delicious and easy to make, with ingredients that can be readily found.
Which vegetables do you look forward to all year long? Why?
We probably shouldn’t say this, but we’ve yet to have anything in the world that tastes as good as a tomato sandwich on white bread with mayo, salt and pepper. It sets a standard of taste and simplicity that we’ll always aspire to.
What are some of the most underrated summer vegetables? What do you like to do with them?
People really don’t give lima beans a chance. A classic in Brent’s family was lima bean and white corn succotash. In the Heirloom Vegetable cookbook, we have two recipes using limas — a steak and lima bean salad and a lima bean soup. They’ll change your mind.
Any other tips for making the most of summer vegetables?
The easiest and simplest preparation is to toss any vegetable in olive oil and roast them under your oven’s broiler, or wrap them in aluminum foil and put them on your grill while your meat is cooking. Try a variety of those spices or spice mixes that you have sitting on your shelf. You’ll be surprised at some of the interesting and creative tastes you’ll come up with.
What’s your best no-cook summer vegetable dish?
The Bloody Mary Soup is pretty fantastic. Just throw everything in the Vitamix and you have a delicious soup that can be served chilled or at room temperature.
Which recipes from the book do you make most often?
The Tomato Tart is simple, beautiful and delicious. You can serve it hot out of the oven, but it is also wonderful if you take it on a picnic and serve it just warmed by the heat of the summer’s day.
How do you hope people use the book at home?
We have more than 300 cookbooks on our pantry shelves, and we’ve never cooked a single recipe from about 80% of them. While we labor to make a book that is beautiful to look at and even to sit down and read, we want all of our books to be the ones that people actually pull off of their shelves and use. The more notes written in the margins, the better. Make the book a family treasure.
Refrigerator Dilly Beans
You can make a refrigerator pickle out of almost anything growing in the garden, and the pickles make wonderful snacks to keep on hand throughout the summer. These crunchy beans can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, they should be processed in a water bath for 10 minutes.
1 bunch fresh dill
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon dill seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed
11/3 cups cider vinegar
11/3 cups water
2 tablespoons coarse (kosher) salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Place 2 pint-size canning jars and their lids in a pot of boiling water and heat for 1 minute. Lift out, drain, and place on the counter. Divide the fresh dill, garlic, mustard seeds, dill seeds, cayenne, and green beans between the 2 jars, packing the beans in lengthwise.
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
Pour the boiling liquid over the green beans and seal. Cool on a wire rack and refrigerate for 2 days before serving. Makes 2 pints.
Golden Squash , Pepper, and Tomato Gratin
Golden squash, bright yellow in color, is a sweet member of the summer squash family (think yellow squash, zucchini, and a host of others), so feel free to swap in any of them, especially in the height of summer when they’re taking over the garden. While this is great right out of the oven, it also makes a terrific picnic dish.
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 golden squash, yellow squash, or zucchini, cut into 1⁄4-inch-thick rounds
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch squares
3⁄4 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound tomatoes, cored and thickly sliced
1⁄2 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender.
Add the squash and bell pepper, sprinkle with 1 ⁄2 teaspoon of the salt, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender. Stir in the basil and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan.
Spoon the mixture into a 9 x 9-inch baking dish. Top with the tomato slices and sprinkle with the remaining 1 ⁄4 teaspoon salt. Scatter the panko and the remaining 1 ⁄2 cup Parmesan over the top and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and the vegetables are piping hot. Serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 4.
Parmesan-Packed Eggplant Meatballs
Brent’s not a huge fan of eggplant, but he’ll eat it if it’s accessorized. Here it’s been dolled up with Parmesan and herbs and shaped into tender “meatballs.” Like many of the recipes created on the farm, this one was perfected over time. After several tries, we decided the best way to cook these was to shape them and pop them in the oven where they firm up. They’re good on their own, served with a dipping sauce (try a combo of yogurt and herbs), or topped with your favorite tomato sauce and served over pasta.
11⁄2 pounds firm small eggplants, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
1⁄2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1⁄3 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2⁄3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a small baking pan, toss the eggplant and garlic with the oil. Sprinkle with 1 ⁄2 teaspoon of the salt, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender but not mushy. (Leave the oven on and increase the temperature to 375°F.) When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, squeeze to get rid of excess liquid.
In a food processor, pulse the parsley and basil until coarsely chopped. Add the eggplant, garlic, panko, Parmesan, eggs, and the remaining 1 ⁄2 teaspoon salt and pulse to combine (it will still be a little chunky).
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. With a small ice cream scoop (1 ⁄4 cup), scoop the mixture into 12 meatballs. With dampened hands, round the meatballs out and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until firm. Serves 4.
TIDBIT: If an eggplant is fresh, when you press your finger against it, the fingerprint will disappear quickly.
Reprinted from “The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook” by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell. Copyright (c) 2014 by Beekman 1802, LLC. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.
Join us at your local Williams-Sonoma store for a special book signing and discussion with Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell. They will be signing copies of her their new cookbook, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden.
Brent Ridge & Josh Kilmer-Purcell are the founders of Beekman 1802, the lifestyle company centered around their farm in Sharon Springs, NY. They are the authors of The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook, The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook and The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook.
Friday, June 20, 2014 at 12:00pm
525 Pavilions Lane, Sacramento, CA 95825
Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 11:00am
340 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94108
Sunday, June 22, 2014 at 1:00pm
7007 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108
Monday, June 23, 2014 at 6:00pm
339 N. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Midtowne Little Rock
Friday, July 25, 2014 at 3:00pm
201 North University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72205
We hope to see you there!
*Brent & Josh will only be signing copies of The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook and previous titles purchased at the Williams-Sonoma store where the event is being held. Proof of purchase required.