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Late-season veggie recipes

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens aside, my favorite things really include food processors and what I make in them. Lately I’ve used this amazing kitchen appliance to quickly preserve the last few bits of late summer produce.

I’ve written to you before about my eggplant meatball recipe. Three years running this is my highlight of late summer eggplant season. I like this vegetable and this recipe takes it over the top for me.

I had some left in my fridge from the last available at the farmers market a couple weeks ago. I made a few quick batches of this recipe, which I’ve tweaked over the years, to put in the freezer.

Here is an updated version of that recipe: roast a large eggplant in halves or chop and cook in a skillet. Once cooked, toss into the food processor with four or so garlic cloves, 15 fresh basil leaves, other seasonings of your choice (such as Italian, oregano and parsley), salt and pepper, an egg, three tablespoons parmesan and three-quarters cup bread crumbs.

This recipes doubles well, making it easy to batch process.

Blend all ingredients, and form into balls. Bake in oven or cook on the stovetop. I baked my latest batches and put them in the freezer for winter meals.

When eating fresh, I often cook them in a cast iron skillet on the stove in fresh tomato sauce. They provide such a burst of flavor to an easy spaghetti dinner.

My other batch prep of late has been jalapeño poppers. A friend gave me this recipe a few years ago, and I will be forever grateful.

This recipe is simple, but breading the poppers does take time. The result — worth it. Pepper season is over, but you may be able to snag the last few peppers from a local farmer (no promises, but I did see a few peppers at the Morgantown Farmers Market last week).

To make jalapeño poppers use equal parts by weight of jalapeños, cheddar cheese, mozzarella, and cream cheese.

I like the amount of heat in the poppers if I remove half the pepper seeds — spicy but edible.

Blend peppers and cheeses in the food processor. Then melt together in a pot on the stove top until just homogenized. Pour this mix onto a freezer paper-lined cookie sheet, and refrigerate until solid.

Cut the sheet of popper mix into small squares, and roll each into a ball (keep in mind they will get larger with the breading). Freeze until solid.

Once frozen, dip into beaten eggs and roll in a mix of cornmeal and breadcrumbs with salt and oregano. If too much egg is sticking, allow to drip on a rack before breading.

Add two more layers of egg and breading for a total of three layers. You may need to freeze the poppers again between layers.

After breading, leave the poppers in the fridge to warm a little, then deep fry until golden brown at 350-375 degrees.

You can also store the poppers in the freezer without breading — I do this to save processing time during the busy summer, and bread them before I’m ready to fry. You can also refreeze them after frying and just warm them in the oven when it’s snack time.

 I apologize for not sharing these recipes earlier in the season, but I hope they help.

 ALDONA BIRD is a journalist, exploring possibilities of local productivity and sustainable living in Preston County.