Summer Succotash

Ah, sweet summertime! I'm not one for the heat, but I sure love what it does for my garden. Right about this time every year, I start pulling in buckets of cherry tomatoes, zucchini and arm fulls of basil.

I don't plant much more than that since it's a short trip to the farmers market and it saves me a lot of work for what can often be too little output. Besides, it's always more fun to let someone else do the hard work and so I can enjoy a little extra time hanging around the pool and reading.

Stewed summer vegetables are a staple of the season. Growing up, my mom always had a pot of some combination stewing away on the back burner of the stove. My favorites included okra and corn, and of course, string beans and potatoes seasoned with thick chunks of ham and cayenne pepper.

The beauty of a summer succotash is that it makes use of a surplus of produce and makes for a satisfying meal served with steamed rice and fresh herbs. Why not stroll your garden and stew a pot up for yourself?

Stewed Cherry Tomatoes with Corn, Zucchini and Basil

3 cups of cherry tomatoes
3 small zucchini, cut into half moons
1 large red onion
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 cups of fresh corn cut from 3 freshly shucked ears
1 cup of basil; finely minced (leave a few whole leaves for garnish)
3 tablespoons freshly minced oregano
olive oil
1 cup of water
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of butter

1. Pour a think layer of olive oil into the bottom of a cast iron skillet and bring to temperature.
2. Add the cherry tomatoes and let sizzle and cook until the skins pop and they 'melt'.
3. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and translucent; add the red pepper flakes.
4. Stir in the corn and cook until tender.
5. Add the zucchini and a cup of water; stew until the zucchini is soft, but still has a little bite.
6. Add the butter and fresh herbs and cook until the herbs are soft and cooked in; add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Serve over hot cooked rice with handfuls of minced herbs and hot sauce.

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