I was pleasantly surprised when the folks at The Little Hat Company in South Berwick, Maine invited me to host a giveaway of Stonewall Kitchen Favorites, and I didn't have to think twice about it because the book is full of delicious family-style recipes and beautiful photos. One of the authors, Kathy Gunst, lives in that part of Maine, and the copy I received was signed by her, which gave me a little thrill.
Stonewall Kitchen offers specialty foods and items for the kitchen, garden, and home. They've grown and expanded since their humble start in 1991, when they were bottling and labeling products in a small home kitchen and taking them off to local farmer's markets and craft fairs. Now they have stores in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maryland, and they opened the Stonewall Kitchen Cafe next to their flagship store in York, Maine in 2003. After sampling some of the foods in their cookbook, we added the cafe to our must visit list for next summer's vacation in Maine.
If you like Ina Garten's style of cooking, then you will probably enjoy this book as Stonewall Kitchen has a similar feel and flair for food; in fact, Garten wrote the Forward for the book. We've made several dishes from it, and our favorite so far is this stuffed eggplant. We cooked it on the grill instead of the oven and it worked very well; the top even browned a little. The stuffing contains chopped eggplant, pine nuts, tomatoes, bread crumbs, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, though you can also add anchovies if you like. We both really liked the flavor, which was buoyed by the fresh tomatoes and basil from our garden, and it made a healthy, easy meal for a summer evening. On the side we had the Mediterranean Orzo Salad from the book, which is also easy and delicious. (Recipe coming later this week.)
I have one copy of this tasty cookbook to give away, courtesy of The Little Hat Company. (You must check out their site if you have young children. The little hats they make and sell are adorable!) If you want to win your own copy, leave a comment telling us about your favorite light summer meal. Apologies to my international readers, but the book can only be shipped within the continental U.S. The contest closes at 8 P.M. EST on Thursday August 14, and Random.org will select the winner. Look for the announcement of the winner in this post soon after.
One of the things I love about this dish is its versatility and easy substitutions. You can use cannellini beans instead of anchovies, and almonds instead of pine nuts.
[Updated August 2014.]
Grilled Stuffed Eggplant
- large skillet
- baking pan, lightly greased with olive oil
- 2 eggplants (about 6 ounces each)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion (finely chopped)
- 1 to 2 anchovy fillets ((optional, see cannellini beans))
- sea salt (to taste)
- fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
- ¼ cup pine nuts (or almonds)
- 15 ounces canned cannellini beans ((optional) rinsed and drained)
- 1¾ pounds ripe tomatoes (yellow or red, about 3 large, finely chopped)
- ½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs
- ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh basil (or mint leaves)
- ¼ cup packed freshly grated Parmesan (or crumbled feta cheese)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the grill or oven to about 350° F/175° C.
- Cut the stem ends off the eggplants and cut them in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the eggplant flesh, leaving a ½-inch (about 1 cm) shell on all four sides.
- Place the eggplants in the baking pan, skin side down, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Finely chop the eggplant flesh and set aside.
- In the large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the anchovies and cook for 2 minutes. (optional)
- Add the chopped eggplant and another tablespoon of the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the pine nuts and cook for another two minutes. The mixture should now be a nice golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in about 1 cup of the chopped tomatoes, bread crumbs, basil, cheese, and parsley. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.
- Spoon the mixture into the four eggplant shells, dividing evenly. Press and form a dome in each. (If preparing ahead, you can now cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours. Bring back to room temperature before baking.)
- Add the remaining tomatoes to the pan around the eggplants and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the eggplants.
- Place on the hot grill (or in the oven) and cook for about 40 minutes, until the eggplant shells are soft and the stuffing is hot. If using the oven, you can turn on the broiler at the end and broil for 5 minutes to brown the top.
- Serve hot or at room temperature.
Beth H says
oh that eggplant looks tasty. I have to say though that our favorite light summer meal is tomato slices with basil on toasted cheese bread. YUMMMY. With a side salad it makes a great light meal.
It doesn't get any better than a tomato sandwich with basil mayonnaise for a summer meal. It is a very simple recipe. Go to the garden and pick some ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and a cucumber. Run to the house and pull out the food processor to whirl the basil in some mayo with a little lemon zest and juice. Slice the cucumbers and drizzle with a little vinegar. Grab 2 slices of bread and slather on the basil mayo. Now for the tomatoes. You will need at least one tomato, peeled please, for each sandwich. Slice the tomato thickly and completely cover the bread. Season with salt and pepper - the cucumbers, too. Look at you sandwich closely, it should be dripping with tomato juice and mayo. Serve with cucumbers and a glass of sweet tea.
My favorite summer meal is baked fish with green beans. I have a counter top oven, so I don't have to heat up the whole kitchen. I slice up a lemon on two and place it on the fish fillets, cook for about 25-30 minutes and I'm all set. It's a nice light meal with lots of flavor, we really love it.
Thanks for offering the cookbook, I'd love to win that!
I'd love to win the cookbook. One of our favorite summer dishes is marinated vegetables, with homegrown tomatoes, placed around the sides of the bowl, with the vegies, we usually make sandwiches with good crusty bread,sliced turkey or chicken, avocado, and lettuce.
De in D.C. says
I always seem to crave Singapore Noodles in the summer (though not authentically from Singapore). The mix of curry powder and crunchy vegetables tossed with rice vermicelli (though I prefer the mung bean cellophane vermicelli myself) is both hearty and light at the same time. Of course, my boys would be just as happy with franks on the grill and sliced cucumbers.
My favorite light summer meal is a green bean dish from _Chocolate & Zucchini_. The green beans are lightly steamed and then tossed with a light vinegar dressing and chopped pecans, parsley, and proscuttio ham. It's light, seasonal, and super tasty with a class of wine!
our favorite summer lunchtime meal is a fabulous tomato-pesto wrap. start with an herbed wrap, slather on some homemade pesto (it's even great with the jarred variety), layer a couple leaves of crunchy romaine, add chunks of fresh mozzarella, ripe tomato slices, a few basil leaves, and sprinkle with some pine nuts, wrap tightly, and viola! the perfect summer lunch. don't forget the napkins.....
Kimberly L says
Oh that eggplant looks delicious! One of our summertime meals is to marinate some zucchini, eggplant,cherry tomatoes with chicken and cook on a shishkebab skewer on the grill. With a nice garden salad on the side.
Oh boy, just one summertime meal? Yikes. I would have to say my favorite summertime meal is Greek inspired. Some marinated kebabs, served with some warm pita bread and a massive pile of Greek salad, made with fresh-from-the-garden cukes and tomatoes. All served with dollops of homemade tzatziki.
I love eating brie and crackers and lots of fruit when it's hot.
Nothing beats homemade bread with cheddar cheese, onion, and homegrown tomato. I butter it and grill it. YUM!
My fav light summer meal are small sandwhiches with crab salad 🙂
Natalie Jane says
Fresh salsa, guacamole with homemade torillas.
I've been looking for a good eggplant recipe! This one looks yummy but I don't think I have all the ingredients!
My favorite light summer dish is chicken salad on crossiants!
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We eat very simply during hot summer days. Most meals consist of fresh veggies from the garden...grilled corn, squash and onions, fresh salads with grilled chicken tenders are our favorites, I guess. When the heat is just unbearable, I've been known to make a meal of chilled, cut up pieces of watermelon, cantaloupe and peaches in a bowl 🙂
Hands down my favorite light summer meal of all time is steamed green beans with fresh garden tomatoes atop a bed of cottage cheese. Garnish with S/P and I'm happy as a clam!
wow, this sounds perfect for me (except for the anchovies, i can't seem to get past that)! would it be wrong for me to eat an entire eggplant myself? cause i could. 🙂
Leticia-Tech Savvy Mama says
My favorite summer foods are things that can be made with fresh from the garden ingredients like our abundant tomatoes. I've been making an Orzo Salad from Giada de Laurentis that is the perfect side dish and like to have a huge pot of yummy gazpacho on hand for the hot summer days. I'm a huge fan of Stonewall Kitchen's products! Thanks for the giveaway!
my favorite lite summer meal is pasta salad. i throw in tomatoes, yellow peppers, cucumbers, mozzerella and pine nuts with an italian dressing....YUM (oh and use whole wheat pasta)
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Karen Putz / DeafMom says
The topping sounds amazing. I'm actually going to try that topping on grilled tomatoes!
The stuffed eggplant looks delicious. I'm wondering how it would work without the breadcrumbs. Might have to try that variation.
Without doubt my favorite summer meal would be some kind of salad with tomatoes and cucumbers. Endless variations, but currently I'm adding avocado and lime juice.
One of my favorite summer meals is ciabatta pizza. It requires using the oven - which is not always pleasant in the summer but the pizza is soooo delicious and summery it's worth it. Perfect if you have lots of fresh tomatoes and basil in the garden too.
My favorite light summer meal is cold soba. It's so simple to just boil the noodles and pour the chilled sauce. I also add thinly sliced scallions and grated daikon radish.
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Myrna L says
Boy, these two things are my favorites. On a recent trip (well...it was 2 years ago now) we rv'd through Maine. Just loved stopping by all the Stonewall stores. They make my favorite "fast-food" items. In fact, their pancake mix is the only one I'll use instead of my homemade buttermilk recipe (in a pinch). And, Ina... what can I say about her? Well, for starters I have all of her shows recorded and occasionally go back and watch one episode or another to get a new inspiration. She cooks the way I cook. yes, she cooks better than me, but I identify with her more than any other tv cook. She is real and she uses her garden as a source for both flowers and food!!
Isn't Maine just the most beautiful state? I was born and raised there. I swear that the Maine air is thicker!! Ayup! Maine..the way life is supposed to be!
A common scene in our kitchen during the summer...is all of us standing around making and eating cucumber sandwiches! Sounds a little strange ...but trust me.....try one and you will be hooked! We have 6 kids and all but one think that this is best made with homemade bread! Grab 2 slices of bread, slather with Hellmans Mayo, sliced cucumbers (in the round), salt and freshly ground pepper. Sometimes a few will add a slice of tomatoe.
Heather vB says
I love grilled chicken in a cold pasta dish with fresh grilled veggies, feta cheese, and Italian dressing. It's delicious and I love making it with whole wheat pasta. Yum!
Sue (coffeepot) says
The eggplant looks great.
My favorite lite summer meal is pizza on the grill, topped veggies and tomato with feta cheese.
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Lisa Imerman says
My daughter has been asking for a Ratatouille inspired dish and this would be right up her alley. I'll have to see if we get an eggplant from our CSA basket soon.
Our families favorite summer meal is grilled pizzas. Using the grill keeps the house cool and just screams summer here. We grill homemade honey whole wheat pizza dough (each person makes their own individual pizza). We love it with homemade roasted tomato sauce from the lucious tomatoes we get at our CSA. Fresh mozzerella cheese and an assortment of toppings. We serve it with grilled vegetables on the side. We also like to eat as many of our homemade Garlicy Brined Dill Pickles as possible this time of year!! Sweet Corn on the cob rounds out the garden fresh meal.
We have such an awesome assortment of fresh vegetables from our CSA and from the local farmers market right now. So the possiblilites are endless.
Timothy Selig says
Sure would like to win
God bless our troops
My favorite is a BLT
Sandy S says
Hmmm, so many to choose from! Probably my favorite, though, is a green- and red-leaf lettuce salad with garden tomatoes, avocado, diced red onion, and black olives - tossed with good olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar, seasoned with kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Some rustic bread alongside and maybe a hard-boiled egg or two, for protein. Sigh.
Sandy Ss last blog post..Crepes with Honey-Almond Ricotta and Dark Cherries
Right now, I LOVE heirloom tomatoes with pesto -- since my garden is overflowing with several different varieties of tomatoes and TONS of Basil, I can go outside and get some whenever I wish!
I also have dozens of Japanese, Chinese and White Globe eggplants, and a few yellow squash-- so thanks for the recipe. Sort of getting sick of Ratatouille.
I am not a big fan of eggplant, but boy does that look tasty. My favorite summertime meal is extra-sharp cheddar cheese served with ripe fruit and bread (with glasses of wine)....mmmmm!
Melissa of Twin Tables says
That cookbook looks fantastic. I would have to say that my favorite summer meal is grilled peach and flank steak salad with chive vinaigrette over arugula. Cook steak over high heat about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare to medium. Remove from the grill to cool. Cut peaches in half, oil and grill about 2 mintues per side. Slice both the steak and peaches into manageable pieces. Make a light chive vinaigrette with chives, white wine vinegar, a little lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Over arugula, you'll be amazed at how fresh, and satisfying this meal really is!
Gabrielle McDowell says
Looks absolutely fabulous. Sounds old but to me the best is still the standby tomato sandwich with mayo, onion and S&P - on Pepperidge Farm classic white bread of course. The very close second is the thinly sliced cucumber with mayo and S&P on that PF bread again. Now if the critters would just stop eating my baby eggplant this year. What a battle! Thanks! GMcD
Ooooohhhhh yummy. My favorite summer meal is one I found out of cooking light. Basically it's orzo, chicken, red bell pepper, some red onion, arugula and goat cheese. So quick. So easy. Yum.
I'm jumping on the grilled pizza bandwagon. MMMMM with some pesto and grilled veggies
My favorite light summer meal is a PB&J. Simple, no cooking, and portable. Perfect for lunch outside in the hammock. 🙂
This cookbook sounds delicious! My favorite light summer meal is a couscous, corn, white bean, and tomato salad.
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Oh I love eggplant! I can't wait to try your recipe.
On cool summer nights, I love having salad with caramelized onions, cranberries and chevre, drizzled with raspberry vinaigrette. Yum!
Jen Zingaro says
My new favorite light meal is homemade veggie burgers on the grill. It's made with carrots, summersquash, zucchini, onions and held together with oats, egg and shredded cheese. They actually withstand grilling on our BBQ and can be made with stuff from the garden and Farmer's Market. 🙂
Thanks to everyone who entered! I will contact the winner via email and post the announcement in the next few days.
Chloe A Lamm says
Know about egg pizza?