I recently did a dinner party for six guests, that included a chef, several foodies and an artistic gentleman that appreciated presentation. Mind you, I am not one to brag, but I wanted to share with you the menu, which was Mediterranean in influence, and the results…read for yourself.

My client writes:
“I speak for all of us….
Last evening my 5 guests and I feasted upon the following culinary delights prepared and presented in our own home and served with the utmost of tasteful, timely and most attractive of presentation upon our own dinner table in our home in Hull.
Here is the menu we selected from several suggested by Chef Laura MacDougall of Home Plate Advantage.

Anchovy and Piquillo Pepper Bruschetta
RitzCarlton chef Emmanuel Kemji’s Mediterranean inspired appetizer.
THIS WAS PREPARED AND PRESENTED as two warmed slightly crisped slices of fresh small loaf slightly wheat bread topped with white anchovy and mildly spicy and quite interestedly seasoned soft as silk delicately spindled slices of Piquillo Red Peppers. NEVER HAVE I ENJOYED AN appetizer with such heightened relish and culinary joy as did I experience upon viewing and tasting this very first course of this very special evening.

Mediterranean Fresh Fish
Baked fresh Fish covered with a topping of Black olives, Artichoke Hearts, Feta, and Tomato flavored with a hint of Garlic, Lemon. THIS COURSE FiLLED OUR PLATES WITH overflowingly luscious looking blends of delicate fall colors. The feta and tomato flavors brimming with garlic and lemon splashes topped on the softest, flakiest, tastiest white cod fillet was delicious and devoured to the tiniest of morsels. The black olives were these tiny little objects filled interesting spicy delights. Artichoke is never a favorite of mine but these were like non others. They were silky and added an unusual hint of texture.

Brown Rice Pilaf with Chickpeas and Sunflower Seeds
THIS SIDE OF MY DINNER PLATE was heaped with soft, crunchy, sparkly and interesting and extremely tasty healthful fibre rich enjoyment.

Pears Poached in Red Wine, Cardamom and Orange
A cardamom- and orange-scented syrup is spooned over warm pears and scoops of vanilla ice cream in this lovely dessert. THIS LAST COURSE PROVIDED THE SURPRISE of the evening. The Pears were of course presented peeled and firm on the outside and softly textured inside topped with freshly scraped orange zest. Pears were floating in a Red Wine sauce and the warm pears and the cold ice cream in combination danced over my tongue and tickled my palette as the final taste defining element in a dinner party to top all.

I REALLY NEED TO ADD THAT AS WE were all half way through our desserts Laura delivered a luscious disc of deeply flavored dark chocolate to each guest. Each wrapped in a gold foil imprinted wrapper. The chocolate introduced a magical heightening of red wines flavors.

WHEN LAURA DEPARTED FOUR HOURS after arriving with all of the ingredients, pots, pans, wrappings … She departed leaving every single dish washed, dried, put away in the cupboard and every spec of trash and kitchen counter and surface spotless. During her preparation except for the flavors that wafted from our kitchen Laura’s presence seemed invisible. Laura served each course with a very brief description of what we were about to ingest. Her presentation, style and skill far surpassed our highest of expectations for this most enjoyable and effortless dinner party.

ONE SMALL DETAIL I NEED TO INCLUDE is that Laura arrived with every element in the middle of the season’s first snow storm raging across the region.”

Gosh, I think I am blushing……Home Plate Advantage – for your next dinner party.

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6 myths about freezing food

October 10, 2011

Today I want to share an article written by Hilary Meyer, Associate Food Editor, EatingWell Magazine on Mon Oct 3, 2011 because it simplifies the mysteries of freezing foods.

Last week I went to town on my freezer, throwing out all kinds of frozen packages from vegetables to meat to leftovers. I filled my 13-gallon trash can, then promptly walked it out to the dumpster for collection. I felt incredibly guilty about how much food I was tossing, but some of it looked more like a science experiment than something I would actually eat. I vowed to take better inventory of the stuff I store in my freezer, but I couldn’t shake the guilty feeling of being so wasteful. Was it really necessary to throw all that food away? So I looked into the facts about freezing foods and found some surprising information that will help me be a little more thrifty in the future.

Myth: You can freeze all foods.
While it’s true most edibles freeze under the right conditions, there are some that should never see the inside of your freezer. Delicate vegetables like lettuce practically disintegrate when they’re frozen then thawed. Creamy sauces that are frozen separate and “break” or curdle when thawed. Even coffee shouldn’t be stored in the freezer—especially dark roasts. The oils that make them so special break down in freezing temperatures, allowing the coffee to readily absorb off- flavors. The USDA also advises not to freeze canned goods or eggs in their shell. (But you can freeze canned goods if they are removed from their original packaging, as well as eggs as long as they are removed from their shell.)

Myth: You can freeze food indefinitely.
This is true at least from a food-safety standpoint, but quality suffers the longer food is frozen. Here are some guidelines from the USDA as to how long to keep food in your freezer (at 0 degrees F) for optimal freshness:

Soups, stews and casseroles: 2-3 months
Cooked meat 2-3 months
Uncooked steaks, roasts or chops: 4-12 months
Cooked poultry: 4 months
Uncooked poultry: 9-12 months

Of course how you store the item will lengthen or shorten its freezer life. Air coupled with moisture is the enemy of frozen food (think freezer burn), so if you can keep those two elements out you’ll give your frozen foods a longer life. That’s why I love the vacuum sealer. It sucks air out of the packaging so foods last longer than if they’re just stored in plastic bags or their original packaging.

Myth: Freezing kills bacteria.
Freezing foods renders bacteria inactive but doesn’t actually kill anything. That means if your food went into the freezer contaminated, once thawed it will still harbor the same harmful bacteria. Cooking it to the recommended temperature is the only way to ensure that your food is safe.

Myth: Frozen food has fewer nutrients than fresh.
Actually, the opposite can be true. Frozen fruits and vegetables may be even more healthful than some of the fresh produce sold in supermarkets because they tend to be processed at their peak ripeness, a time when, as a general rule, they are most nutrient-packed. If you’re worried about nutrient loss, eat your frozen fruits and veggies soon after purchase: over many months, nutrients in frozen vegetables do inevitably degrade. Finally, steam or microwave rather than boil your produce to minimize the loss of water-soluble vitamins.

Myth: Once thawed, food cannot be refrozen without cooking it first.
You can freeze and refreeze to your heart’s content as long as the food has not been left outside the fridge for more than 2 hours (or 1 hour in 90-degree heat). One point to be aware of is that refreezing anything uncooked, especially meat, will degrade the quality due to the loss of moisture in the thawing process. So although it is technically safe to eat, from a culinary standpoint, it’s best to avoid refreezing if at all possible.

Myth: You can store frozen food long-term anywhere in your freezer or anywhere that’s cold.
The door of the freezer is a handy place to store frozen items, but not necessarily the best place for long-term storage. The temperature near and on the door fluctuates every time the door is opened. Although the food may remain frozen, the freezing process could be slowed, opening up the possibility for larger ice crystals to form inside the food and destroy its integrity. To prevent this, store frozen foods toward the back of the freezer where a constant 0 degrees F is more likely to be achieved and use goods stored near the front or on the door sooner. And if the power goes out? Don’t open the freezer door! According to the USDA, a full freezer should remain frozen for 2 days. And if you’re tempted to store your freezer overflow in a snowbank—don’t. Even if the temperature is very cold, the sun can still heat up your frozen foods to dangerously warm temperatures. This is still an excellent way to store beer, though. So keep doing that.

How long do you keep food in your freezer?

EatingWell Associate Food Editor Hilary Meyer spends much of her time in the EatingWell Test Kitchen, testing and developing healthy recipes. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute.

CSA delivery, Sept 16, 2011

September 21, 2011

Yes another trip to the farm for a bag full of fresh goodies! Today’s harvest included beets, more tomatoes of various shapes sizes and colors, poblanos, Diablo peppers, onions, jalapeno, corn, eggplant and a bell pepper. Sadly the summer crops are waning, the cool nights not conducive to flavor or growth, but the winter crops – squashes, cauliflower and more are not ready. So we will indulge ourselves in this last tomato harvest.

Today, I am making a Kamut (grain), flagelot (french bean) and tomato salad with a tarragon thyme vinaigrette and some green onions. this is truly one of the best things I have eaten in a long time. The tarragon, Dijon and tang of the vinegar was so good next to the nutty hints from the kamut. The flagelots offered a starchiness, while the fresh tomato was so bright next to these flavors. OK, without sounding too much like a food critic, this was really good!

I smoked corn over mesquite in my wok, resulting in the house smelling incredibly like bacon, to toss with black beans, a jalapeno, one of the onions and a little olive oil – smokey sweetness, starchy black beans and the kick of the pepper – a new favorite salsa/side dish.
We had a herbed goat cheese stuffed shrimp with a fresh tomato sauce. Creamy cheese, acidic tomatoes and sweet shrimp were decadent together.  Eggplants are going in Indian eggplant and potato stew loaded with spices. The beets – perhaps I will try pickling them, or just roast them to enjoy as is. I am the only one eating them, so my choice! The rest of the jalapenos are going to be stuffed with goat cheese, corn and green onions, topped with a grilled pepper and tomato sauce.

There really isn’t enough week in the week to eat all of these goodies, and my freezer is full! That doesn’t stop us from scarfing down everything as soon as it is done (sorry no pictures this week – guess we were extra hungry). I hope you are enjoying the last of the summer crops, perhaps starting to think apples and pumpkins, and trying new combinations too.

Bon Appetit!

Sept 9 2011 CSA

September 12, 2011

This Friday, I headed to the farm to see what goodies were being offered…I knew there’d be tomatoes. Heirlooms, plum, yellow, orange, and green…12 tomatoes in all. A few peppers, jalapenos (scored 2 more from the extra bin!). Corn that is questionable, per the sign reading “Your lucky day – free worm with every ear” and an eggplant. Edamame was  available to pick your own. A small bunch of beets rounded out the basket.
So many tomatoes were headed to a roasted tomato sauce – lot’s of onion, garlic and fresh herbs – I used basil, some thyme and rosemary from my herb garden. Olive oil and a long roast in a 450F oven.

Ready for the oven

Finished sauce

Roasted tomatoes and onions

TVP meatballs and some pasta made great use of this delicious sauce. A classic, turned vegetarian and filling!
Eggplant, what to do with you. My southwestern cookbook offered a roasted eggplant and tomato soup that sounded divine. A little cayenne for heat, bell peppers, onions, more tomatoes and roasted eggplant slices pureed into smooth goodness. It was creamy, without milk, mild, yet full of flavor.  A keeper for sure.
The corn is going into a corn pudding to accompany the fish we shall pick up Tuesday. Think very soft cornbread, served with a spoon….the edamame made me break into my grain drawer, and I came up with Triticale – a cross between wheat and barley, full of protein and good carbs. Mixed with the edamame, balsamic, shallot, olive oil, and feta – a delicious side for lunchtime. Nutty, earthy and tangy with the vinegar.
Beets – I sadly did not finish the roasted beets with orange and sour cream from last week – just too many good choices in the fridge, and not enough meals to finish eating them – so no roasted beets this week.  I decided to treat our house to a peach and beet crumble. Now this is an experiment in getting my husband to eat beets (he is NOT a fan). We had picked up some utility peaches (not pretty, but still tasty) from Ward’s Berry Farm and I decided the red beet color would be wonderful in the peaches, with an oatmeal crumble.
Warm spices of mace, ginger, and cinnamon blended with shredded beets, sliced peaches, brown sugar and a little tapioca resulted in a wonderful cobbler. It had a slight beet flavor – sort of a “Hmmm what’s that taste”, but the sweetness of the peaches and crumble quickly took center stage. Unfortunately, my husband figured it out – are there beets in here? he asked puzzled. I can’t lie…..

Peaches and beets ready to bake

Finished Crisp

The peppers,  jalapenos, carrots, canned tomatoes, tomatillos, and spices mixed with black eyed peas for a very spicy and colorful chili. Did I mention my husband is a HUGE fan of chili? SO every week, he gets a different variety of chili…at least for a while. Good way to use up and enjoy the veggies, and the heat was hot enough to suit even his palate.

Another good week of eating, fresh from the farm. I hear there is cauliflower and broccoli coming soon….how do you prepare those?  Bon appetit!

Aug 26 2011 CSA delivery

September 2, 2011

What a harvest it was this week! Tomatoes – heirlooms, cherry, plum and beefsteaks. Corn, zucchini, beets, carrots, mizuna, eggplant, cukes, peppers and a jalapeno. Beautiful “bouquet” of colors and flavors!

Harvest for August 26, 2011

Where to start…..well the tomatoes looked fabulous and were perfect for a tomato tart with a cornmeal crust. Onions, cheeses,scallions line the middle of a cornmeal crust, topped with sliced heirlooms and baked. How pretty, delicious and a perfect lunch treat – think super fancy pizza!

tomato tart

The eggplant was sauteed with chickpeas, peanut butter and red onion and garam masala for a wonderful vegetarian dish with tons of flavor. Oh, yes, I am starting a pescatarian (fish eating vegetarian) diet to feel healthier, perhaps lose a few pounds and experiment for my clients, building a vast resource of tried vegan/vegetarian recipes. This stew was a keeper!
Corn is always best as is – we chose to grill it naked, producing a wonderfully nutty, condensed texture and flavor from the corn – almost popcorny, but still juicy. Our new favorite way to have corn on the cob!
A mizuna salad with dried cranberries, toasted pecans and a pomegranate vinaigrette was delightful, sweet, bitter, and a unique addition to dinner.
Sunday, Irene struck knocking power out by 10:30AM. Luckily, some of the tomatoes ended up roasted and pureed with champagne vinegar, bread crumbs and garlic for a roasted gazpacho – my new favorite recipe for this cold summer soup. Topped with cukes and pepper, perfect for power outages!
So now the grill is our main cooking tool. Fish delivery on Tuesday offered 2 pounds of dabs. Couldn’t freeze it (still no power) so a pan was placed on the grill, oil heated and a cornmeal crusted dab swam in the hot oil. Grilled zucchini, carrots (wonderful roasted on the grill) corn on the cob and gazpacho finished this meal.
Zucchini was shredded by hand and sauteed with garlic, the jalapeno and scallions. Topped with pepper jack cheese, a delightful take on hash, for which this brunch recipe had eggs poached on top of this mixture, but no eggs in the house this week. Besides, this was dinner…
Leftovers sufficed until Thursday when the power returned, and the cherry tomatoes were roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper for use in a tossed pasta. (not creative, I know, but so much to catch up on this week). Beets were roasted with a little herbs de provence and olive oil, dressed with a sour cream orange dressing and topped with toasted walnuts. Dinner party worthy, with fresh flavors from the dressing, earthy dark flavors from the roasted beets, and a slight floral note from the lavender in the herbs. Simple, elegant and so healthy! A vegetarian chili will finish up the remaining pepper, the black beans and tofu I bought for another dish, and lot’s of spices.
Can’t wait to see what we get tonight!Happy Labor Day to all….and good eating!

CSA Delivery Aug 18, 2011

August 25, 2011

Another week of wonderful surprises from the farm….this week’s delivery included zucchini, yellow cherry tomatoes, yellow and several red tomatoes, red chard, cukes, radish, corn, a japanese eggplant, honeydew melon, and a light yellow bell pepper. Oh, yes, and one jalepeno.
Now don’t get me wrong, but I must confess I am starting to get sick of zucchini. I love to eat it, but 3-5 zucchini a week is a lot for two people…..this week, I sauteed it with onion and sundried tomatoes to eat with broiled fish. This went over very well with my hubby, and I enjoyed some of the leftovers in an omelette the next day, with a little dollop of ricotta cheese folded in the middle. Yummy!
The red tomatoes have been enjoyed just sliced, as they are SO good and sweet and taste like summer. The cherry tomatoes were turned into a delicious fresh salsa (Tyler Florenece’s recipe). Roast the tomatoes tossed in oil until they burst, mix with lime juice, cilantro and the jalepeno. Simple and spicy.
The red chard was tossed into a risotto, made with black eyed peas, bacon, white wine, chicken stock and onions. The risotto turned a beautiful pinkish color with the chard but I felt that the bacon should have been crisper and it needed a little grated cheese (sorry Bobby Flay)

Red Chard Risotto

The light yellow pepper was tossed into a vegetable chili I made which was a nice break from meat. The eggplant was sauteed with tofu, black bean sauce and onions for a salty, savory vegetarain meal. The cukes were made into a salad with greek yogurt, peas, parsley and lemon juice and accompanied a roasted pork tenderloin in a Puerto Rican Marinde of spices and garlic. This was a big hit too….the corn was devoured as is – it has been really good this year.

Sadly the melon was not sweet nor ripe, like eating watermelon rind, so that ended up in the trash. Tomorrow, we get more….I was harvesting on Wednesday, and carrots, beets and corn were on the picking list……I’ll have to start thinking on that one! Keep cooking, eating local and sharing recipes you have with me…..or ask me if you need new ideas for your own meals! I am always happy to talk food.

I was fortunate to get away to Maine this past week for a little R&R. We started our trip in Portland, in the Old Port area. Beautiful waterfront history and many restaurants. First stop – Stonewall Kitchens. A little taste of champagne blueberry jam (not a fan), double chocolate fudge sauce (needed to put this one back), Major Grey’s chutney (bought some), and several mustards. A salted caramel sauce was a contender, but ended up leaving with a blueberry jam instead. OK, off we go to find some lunch. We head to the oldest pub in Portland – Gritty McGruffs. Wooden floors, multiple rooms and a decent menu. Sadly the tips on my salad were tough (guess I should have had lobster, right??), and the salad was nothing special. We head off to walk the town, explore, and then head to our hotel. Dinner resulted in a waterfront very casual Portland Lobster Company picnic table. Great live entertainment, paper plates and plastic wine glasses under a beautiful summer sky. Scallops with applewood bacon and lemon cream sauce, corn on the cob and a baked potato were really very good. Well cooked, and seasoned. My hubby had swordfish that was tasteful, tender and fresh. Next morning a quick coffee and muffin at a little cafe then off to see seals, lighthouses and a city tour. We had lunch at the Dry Dock between tours. Lobster soup (heavy cream with a few pieces of well cooked lobster served lukewarm) a nice salad and a crab melt for my hubby. Despite taking 20 mins to get our food, the crab melt was pretty good.
Dinner we headed to five fifty five on Congress Street. A little more upscale, but for our last night in Portland we splurged. Amazing cucumber and melon soup with a touch of crabmeat. Cool, smooth and well seasoned. My hubby had pepper crusted scallops that were beautifully cooked, and heavily peppered. For me, mussels in a red pepper broth that were delicious. Chived butter on squares of sourdough bread were a nice start with a blueberry gin drink and we finished with a shared trio of ice cream – apricot, chocolate hazelnut and a cherry grasshopper – fresh mint ice cream with little chunks of chocolate and cherry in it – our favorite flavor. Delicious and great service!
Off to Bar Harbor after a great omellette breakfast at Becky’s (see DDD on Food Network – Guy ate here)…..a beautifully set tourist area inside of Acadia National Park. We walked around town, ended up in quirky Geddy’s, full of signs, license plates and good spirits. We shared seafood balls (all cracker and no hint of the scallops, crab or fish they promised) and a lobster pizza on a whole wheat crust. That was really good, and the lobster very tender. Back to our inn to sleep off a full belly.

The next day we went to Jordans – famous for its blueberry pancakes. We are not fans of pancakes, but I did order a waffle with fresh blueberries. Good blueberries, but disappointing log cabin syrup and mix tasting waffle. My hubby’s egg sandwich was nothing special either….not bad, not great. Oh well. Rode them off in Acadia by bicycle – hilly!!   An early dinner at the Terrace Cafe on the water offered really really good chowder, crab melt, boullabaise with fresh thyme, and warm blueberry pie with a very light flaky crust and full of berries. A must eat at place on the waterfront! Next day we had a yogurt, coffee and a muffin for my hubby. Off to see the whales – amazing time with a mom and calf who breached several times, waved and rolled for us like a performer. Heavy fog that lifted in time to see puffins and a great ride on the Atlantic Cat high speed catamaran filled our morning. Sea air always make us hungry, so we headed to the Thirsty Whale, a little bar “hole in the wall”. But what they say is true – good food at the “diviest” places!  A grilled salmon sandwich with a dill mayo and a haddock and asian cole slaw wrap – well seasoned and cooked beautifully. After driving through Acadia, up Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole and some walking we were ready for dinner. Off to the Portside Grill. Here we ended on a mixed bag. My hubby’s chowder had an odd tangy flavor to it and his lobster roll tasted flat and water logged. Crab cakes were full of crabmeat, lightly fried and delicious. My salmon was done perfectly with tomatoes, capers and wonderfully cooked green beans with tarragon on the side. We headed to a local ice cream parlor to have a little fig and walnut gelato (for him) and a chocolate pretzel caramel ice cream for me that really hit the spot. Oh, and if you think lobster tastes good in EVERYTHING……well, not in vanilla ice cream. Trust me.

You thought I forgot, or was lost in the cornfields….perhaps taken away by a ground hog with a vengence, but I just got really busy this past week. Sadly the week of July 29 was a bounty of zucchini, corn, peppers, jalepeno, eggplant, mezuna, green beans and more summer squash. I needed to step out on this one and resorted to a favorite standby – grilled veggies. With fish, delish. Leftovers ended up in a lasagna with a little goat and parm cheese (trying to clean the fridge out, you know) The mezuna ended up in a stir-fry with leftover smoked chicken, carrots from the CSA ( I think the week before?) onions and the mezuna. Red curry sauce made this dish spicy and colorful.
The week of Aug. 5th, corn, beets, radishes, a pepper, carrots, more zucchini, cherry tomatoes, arugula, kale  an eggplant and cukes arrived.

Saturday was spent creating and cooking. A roasted tomato sauce with the pepper and garlic roasted in EVOO, salt, pepper and rosemary. Pureed and to the freezer.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Zucchini ended up in a chocolate buttermilk cake that was moist and rich, no hint of a veggie inside. A caramel icing topped this sheet pan cake to be shared with family. The beets were caramelized in orange juice and maple syrup and cooked down. Then a little triple sec added, again cooked down until syrupy. This was added to the middle of a bundt pan cake with walnuts and baked. Wonderful dense cake with a unique twist from the beets. However the beets did stick a bit on the bottom and broke the cake, but that’s ok – this one was for us…..glazed with a little of the caramel icing leftover from above cake. The beets were sweet, adding nice color when you cut the cake.

pound cake with beets on top made in a bundt pan.

The carrots were cooked with a leek, broth and harissa, a red chili pepper and spice mix paste used in a lot of African foods. Wonderful flavors and heat, with the fresh carrot taste just beaming through the soup. Corn will be enjoyed in a salad with the arugula, radishes, cukes and some tuna, perhaps with a lemon vinaigrette. And a glass of wine….which should be a nice Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, but will more than likely be something red. I think there is a bottle of Cab Franc open.
The eggplant? hmmmm  need to think on that – one is not enough for moussaka, but it is a large enough one to have twice. May eggplant fries with our steaks tomorrow? We’ll see.

Next week we are giving our share to my in-laws as we won’t be able to pick up ourselves. But I will be back to tell you all more the following week, and may have some great food stores from Maine! Is it blueberry season yet? Have a great week, grill, eat local and enjoy! Peaches are right around the corner!

This Friday afternoon, the good farm provided us with corn on the cob, beans, squash in several sizes and species (zucchini, crooked neck, summer squash and patty pan), carrots, and cucumbers.

I had a few spring onions left from last week, some haddock and fresh basil. I decided to make a fish stuffed patty pan squash. I sauteed the onions, then stirred in a chopped small tomato, 1/2 cup baby spinach, 1/2 cup panko, 5 fresh basil leaves, the juice of 1/2 orange and 1/2 teaspoon of cherry wood smoked salt. Soften a large patty pan squash in the microwave or by boiling 3-5 mins, scoop guts out and stuff with above mixture. Bake wrapped in foil at 400F for 15-18 mins. Delicious!

Stuffed Pattypan Squash

Inside the squash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OK, good start. The next day, I needed to use some of the squash. I layered sliced crook neck and green zucchini on top of a lemon thyme biscuit I crumbled in the bottom of a small baking dish with chopped scallions, a little cheddar cheese, and sliced tomatoes. I topped it with a custardy sauce of egg, milk, and chicken stock that I steeped fresh tarragon in, and added some chopped Brie. (OK, so I was using up some leftovers, shoot me). I crumbled the last biscuit on top, and baked covered for about 20 mins. Uncovered for 10-15 mins more until the custard had set. Delicious! Even good reheated the next day.
Tonight, roasted carrots and fennel (I was supposed to be making a blueberry kohlrabi and fennel salad, but couldn’t find kohlrabi), cod and the corn on the cob. As for the beans, I am still figuring out what to make and the mini cuke was eaten at lunch with some radishes. A dear friend dropped off more beans, 2 cucumbers and tomatoes from his garden…..I need to start getting really creative with these squash and beans. Fried green tomatoes and crook neck squash may be in order with my smoked chicken Wednesday.
Well another week in farm fresh produce. Hope your week is going well, eating better and enjoying the local harvest too. Bon Appetit!

I did not fall off the turnip truck last week – we were in Philadelphia visiting my mom and jail. Seriously – the Eastern State Penitentiary – very interesting museum. But I want to share that in doing so, we did not get our beloved produce. This week, we were treated to wax beans, beets, carrots, basil, spring onions, potatoes, mini cucumbers (look like gherkins to be) small leafed kale, and several zucchini and yellow squash.

Meal one – we had grilled onions with pink peppercorns next to our pasta tossed with white beans, sage pesto (homemade with fresh sage, orange zest and juice, hazelnut and olive oils, walnuts) and kale. Very Tuscany meets Paris. I forgot how much I love the sweet, delicate peppery flavor of pink peppercorns. Worth a try on leeks, onions of braised fennel, or any white fish if you never had them. It had been a long day of yard work, so I apologize for not taking any photos. (i.e. starved and woofed down this meal before I had a chance to stop and think)
Meal Two – potato salad with peas, yogurt, buttermilk and herbs. I did not have parsley, but opted to use the top of the carrots as a green splash. They actually have a little carrot flavor, and I now know I need to revisit this to use elsewhere. Grilled chicken and sliced tomatoes round out this hot evening dinner on the patio.

Meal Three The delicate little carrots were cooked, then sprinkled with fennel thyme salt (Didi Davis) and served next to leftover chicken from last night and corn on the cob. How seet and tender theys were and delicious with the thyme salt.

Meal four This morning started the beets that will go into Ina Garten’s summer borscht, made with sour cream, yogurt, dill and chicken stock – perfect for the heat that’s coming our way. I picked up our fish (cod today) we get from Cape Ann fish shares and baked the fish with lemon juice, pink salt and a little comet tail pepper, which gave the fish a nice coriander peppery sweetness. I improvised a salad I saw in Food and Wine to use the wax beans, mixing them with tomatoes, chick peas and sliced red pepper tossed with a fresh tarragon mint vinaigrette made with lemon juice, shallot, dijon, mild olive oil and champagne vinegar. Heavenly! A side of lemon thyme biscuits fit perfectly.

Wax beans, tomatoes and chicke peas waiting for dressing

Last meal, grilled zucchini with grated cheese may be in order, next to grilled chicken sausage and poblanos. And perhaps another biscuit! Stay cool, enjoy a salad and grilled veggies to help beat the heat, and be sure to drink plenty of fluids….the adult root beer float in this month’s Food Network magazine is perfect for dessert…..