Another reason we love summer? The brightness of all the produce! There’s no other time of year when stoplight red tomatoes sit next to sunny yellow corn and deep purple eggplant. But we can’t forget about the green! Nothing adds a pop of color to a dish quite like a sprinkle, mash or saute of peas. Whether you like sugar snaps, pea shoots or are more of a traditionalist, you’ve gotta try one of these dishes after your visit to the farmers’ market this weekend.
To us, there are a number of thing that signal the beginning of summer. The smell of the grill, the sound of the Mister Softee ice cream truck, and the sight of beautiful, vibrant cherries. The are the earliest tone fruit to reach harvest and although they are perfect eaten as a snack, we love to add them into sweet and savory dishes all summer long. While you’re shopping at the farmers’ market this weekend, look for full, glossy cherries with a deep color and green stems. They’ll last in your fridge for 4 to 5 days, which will give you plenty of time to make all of our favorite cherry recipes!
Perfect for a dinner party appetizer: Cherry-Mozzarella Crisps
You may associate squash with winter, but the summer season has its very own category of squash, too! Summer squash have rinds that are more delicate, so you can eat the entire thing, raw or cooked! They’re a great addition to any meal, chilled, grilled, baked or fried, and their bright colors remind us why we love summer. So while you’re shopping for produce this weekend, pick up a pattypan, zucchini or yellow summer squash! Then throw them into one of these delectable summer recipes:
Broiled: Squash & Ricotta Pizzette
A sunny day at the farmers’ market isn’t complete without the purchase of one thing: succulent, juicy, fragrant peaches. Peaches and nectarines are best in the high heat of summer, when you can shamelessly let the juices run down your chin. But when you’re not biting into one of these golden balls of sunshine, there are plenty of ways to cook with them while staying true to the season. So pick up a bag of your favorite peaches and try some of these recipes at home:
No-Cook Peach Gazpacho
It’s strawberry season, ya’ll! And that means plenty of pies, trifles and parfaits are in order, but did you know there are lots of savory recipes that contain strawberries, too? While you’re at the farmers’ market this weekend, pick up a carton or two of fresh berries… you’ll need the extras to snack on while you’re cooking!
Look for berries that are bright, firm and shiny with fresh green caps still in tact. Take a whiff to make sure they smell, well, like strawberries! Opposed to other produce, you do not want to wash or cut strawberries before you are ready to use them. A wet strawberry turns into a spoiled strawberry very quickly!
Although strawberries are available year round, unless you’re in California or Florida, they aren’t going to be as fresh before June or after August, so buy your local strawberries while you still can!
Here are some recipes that utilize strawberries, from main ingredient to accent note, and from dinner and drinks to dessert!
In season from February to June, asparagus are quite fresh and prevalent at the farmers market right now. We love them because they’re super easy to cook, whether you bake, saute, grill or keep them raw. They add a bright, springy note to any dish and, oh yeah, they’re chock full of nutrients, like fiber, vitamin A and potassium, just to name a few.
Before cooking with asparagus, make sure you cut off the tough, fibrous ends (the bottom inch or so) and rinse themverywell, as they collect dirt easily.
Now that you’ve bought your bunch (or two, or three…) what should you do with them? Here are three unique recipes that all highlight asparagus without overkill. Enjoy!
Quick Dinner Fix: Grilled Sweet-and-Sticky Chicken Thighs with Asparagus and Harissa
Crowd-Pleasing Snack: Asparagus Tempura
Family Brunch: Tortilla-Crusted Goat Cheese-and-Asparagus Quiche
If you’ve made a visit to the farmers market within the last two months, you may have noticed an influx of a scallion-looking vegetable called a ramp. These spring onions have gained some serious popularity within the last few years, and for good reason: their strong flavor of garlic and onion is rich and enticing, and keep any spring dish tasting fresh and flavorful. Though they are also known as wild leeks, ramps are more similar in taste, texture and cooking method to scallions. Due to their potent flavor, though, you can use less of a ramp to add flavor to a dish than you would need of a scallion, leek or chive.
Can’t find a recipe that calls for ramps? Here are some good substitutions:
Blend them into pesto with pasta
Chop up the greens for hush puppies
Fold them into a goat cheese tart
Just remember! Ramps are only in season until early spring, so get ‘em while you still can!
Usually we think of soup as being warm and comforting, and perfect for a cold winter night. But summer produce has its place in the soup world, too! And there’s no better way to use the last of your farmer’s market goodies than in chilled soups. These meatless bowls of flavor and nutrients are the perfect pick-me-up during the week day, or great for a light lunch during a busy weekend. Make a batch on Sunday, eat for lunch on Meatless Monday, and savor the rest throughout the week. They’re one pot wonders you won’t want to miss out on! Here are some of our favorites:
We hope you have a souper Monday!