What's Cooking in Carolina?

Mainly creative menus and recipes (usually healthy) and always from scratch with tips for party planning, theme parties, weddings and decorating tips so you can give swank parties or dinners to delight your guests from a part time caterer, owner/operator of a coming soon Entree Vous, but mainly a cook and eater who grows much of her own food and loves to laugh.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Fresh From the Garden

What's cooking in July? Well, technically, nobody wants to be stuck in a hot kitchen, BUT, We love summer food. The garden is really starting to produce now.
Even though the BIG crop of tomatoes is not in yet (we grow about 15 varieties, 50+ plants, including heirlooms, cherries, and more recent releases), we are getting a few a day. We can't get enough of them. But we'll do a tomato blog when we have hundreds to deal with. What else is being harvested: corn, green beans, and butter beans (we both have blisters on 2 fingers from three nights of shelling probably a bushel or more, and since it was our first picking, we do not have calluses yet), yellow squash, zucchini, basil, cucumbers,
eggplant, bell peppers (the other 8 or 10 varieties are slower), the raspberries are about finished and I have a picking or 2 left of blueberries. My peach trees aren't yet producing but my mom came through on her way home to VA from my sister in SC and brought plenty of peaches, enough to eat and have a peach and blackberry cobbler and grilled peaches.

When the produce from the garden is first coming in, we don't want to figure out new recipes. We want to eat them in all there glory. We can make a dinner from baby butter beans, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers cut up in vinegar with salt and pepper and just boiled corn-on-the-cob with butter. We grow three varieties and the first one is How Sweet It Is and that says it all. We like roasted corn a lot, but this corn is picked young, small
and tender and it really is better just boiled.

We have green beans by the bushel too. We are not big fans of canned or frozen, although we do put some up for soups in the winter. We like them picked young and just barely cooked. The ways we like them seasoned are sprinkled with lemon juice or spread with butter, topped with bacon or pancetta and a little bit of bacon grease (We know it's not good for you but it sooooo good and we don't do it that often or we use the low fat bacon product to fake the taste from our childhood). We like beans topped with crisp onion rings or sautéed shallots or served cool in roasted onion vinaigrette. They are also good stir fried until they blister, and then add minced garlic and ginger and a little chicken stock. Cook a few minutes then finish with a splash of sesame seed. It's a great time of year to make a Salad Niciose.
We made one recently with fresh tuna that was marinated in lemon juice with lemon verbena, salt and pepper and grilled, tiny green beans, new potatoes, Boston lettuce, black olives, hard boiled eggs and roasted peppers. Each of the individual ingredients were mixed in a herbed vinaigrette: 5 T lemon juice or good wine vinegar, salt, 1/2 t dry mustard, 1/2 c olive oil and 3 T mixed herbs (minced, fresh parsley, chives, tarragon, thyme and/or basil). Present it to showcase each separate ingredient. And it is ymmy too.

As far as early squash and eggplant, I like to slice them length wise and brush them with salt, pepper and olive oil and either roast them in the oven or on the grill.
I can eat them plain, on pasta, on a small baguette with the addition on grilled portabella and fontina cooked in the pinini pan or on a pizza. They are great. Since we mentioned pizza, try fresh sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, baked and add whole leaves of basil after it comes out of the oven. It doesn’t get much better than that. Well, fresh pesto on homemade pasta is close.

Savor summer produce while you can. It doesn't last long enough and there is NOTHING LIKE IT after the season is over!

We’d love to hear from you. Check out our website when you can. www.swankcatering.com.

Eat fresh, Drink lots of water, laugh often, and read more about food!

Pookah and Di


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  • At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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