THE Warm Vegetable Salad that starts this menu features zucchini, carrots, celery, cauliflower, and radishes, but feel free to substitute other vegetables that may be more readily available at your market.
I like to cook all vegetables in the same unsalted water so I have the least possible loss of vitamins and nutrients. The stock that results from the cooking is terrific to drink, or it can be set aside in the refrigerator or freezer for later use in a soup or stew.
The gratin of macaroni is named after the small town in the south of France where I first tasted the dish that inspired this recipe. Even though it is served here as a main course, it could be used as a first course or as an accompaniment to a meat dish, anything from veal to rabbit to lamb.
When strawberries are in season, I like to use them in a strawberry Summer Pudding, a type of dessert the British are so good at making. My version is simply a mixture of strawberries liquefied in a food processor and sweetened with strawberry jam and sugar, then combined with just enough bread crumbs so that the mixture holds together in a pudding. I serve it on additional sliced berries that have been sweetened with sugar. WARM VEGETABLE SALAD
This salad is particularly good served at room temperature or slightly warm. If prepared ahead, warm it for a few seconds in a microwave oven or conventional oven to take the chill off before serving. MACARONI BEAUCAIRE
This is actually two recipes incorporated into one; the elbow macaroni, which is tossed with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, seasonings, and chives, could be served as is. Here I've expanded on it with a vegetable garnish of thin slices of sauted eggplant alternated with slices of tomato, layering these vegetables underneath and on top of the macaroni to encase it, then finishing with a coating of shredded Cheddar cheese (although grated Swiss or Parmesan cheese would be just as good). Be sure to reserve th e nicest slices of eggplant and tomato for the top of the gratin, using the less attractive slices underneath. STRAWBERRY SUMMER PUDDING
You can, of course, use other types of berries in this dessert. Make your selection based on what the season and/or your garden has to offer.