Through the Fire
Summer provides us with so much delicious food – from the garden and from the farmers’ markets. The produce in the store looks brighter and more nutritious. For those of you with long cold winters, all those foods you dreamt about are now abundant! Even in California where fresh produce is abundant year long, the summer brings delights. Our tomatoes are finally coming in here on the coast. We have summer fog and have to be patient while the tomatoes stay green. Next month will really be the peak of that season.
What are your summer favorites ? I am sorry to tell you I am not a melon fan but the cantaloupe was calling my name the other day so I’ll answer when I go to the farmers’ market tomorrow probably. I have many friends who are in watermelon heaven these days.
Right now I am enjoying the freshness of green beans. I love them. I planted some in my garden again this year. Last year was a bumper crop. This year, alas, my thumb is a paler shade of green. Only two plants survived some sort of devastation and no blossoms yet. So, probably just a handful. Those, I’ll eat right off the plant. I’ve written here about greens which are my garden’s best crop as always. Here I wrote about my summer memories of fresh corn.
Most people, including myself some days, do not eat enough vegetables. There really isn’t much of an excuse not to in the summer times. Much of it we can just eat raw without any sort of preparing. Much of it is delicious all on its own so we don’t need fancy recipes or complicated cooking. This is the time of year to appreciate a simple salad of chopped up cucumbers and vine ripened tomatoes dressed with a bit of oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Steam the green beans, add butter, salt and pepper = good to go. While you have the grill going, add big slices of zucchini and eggplant. Delicious! Make a big crudité platter ( fancy word for cut up vegetables) and a few dips. I have a great memory of my nephew when he was 4 at a family gathering. His parents insisted he didn’t like many vegetables. Hmmm. He sat next to me and happily shared my crudité and ranch dip lunch. Raw broccoli became little trees and we were giants chomping them down. His parents were not pleased that we got so silly but I hope that they learned something about how to get 4 year olds to eat broccoli. I can’t eat it raw anymore but I enjoy that memory often.
Here are some recipes and ideas for you.
Sauces/Condiments to add to steamed vegetables if butter isn’t enough –
Hollandaise Sauce – it’s not as hard to make as you might think. In the spring, it’s fabulous on asparagus. Try it on that tricky broccoli. Watch this video to learn how to whip it up.
Gremolata – This is a blend of lemon zest, garlic, parsley, a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. No need really for a recipe. Zest one lemon, finely mince a clove of garlic and a small handful of parsley. Mix with a tablespoon of olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. I like to take the flat of my knife and mash it together a bit. Make the proportions fit your tastes. If you want more garlic, go for it. This stuff is so good! I like it on steamed green beans or carrots. It’s also really good on roasted potatoes.
Tzatziki – more of a dip that a sauce, Greek in origin. Try this recipe.
Here are some links to other ideas I found for you.
Let’s finish off with a cocktail for you watermelon lovers…
Please share what your favorite vegetable or fruit dishes are for the summer. I’d love to hear from you. Listen to this oldie but goodie while you think about it.