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What's Cooking?: Summer's Bounty

The best thing about summer is the beautiful produce in full bloom.  I love going to the markets to see and smell the variety of fruits and vegetables in season.  I especially hunt for a favorite of mine - those Rainier cherries.  As I gaze greedily along the aisles my “eyes become bigger than my stomach”.  I want to try all this fresh luscious bounty knowing I would not be able to eat it all.

What captivates my attention is the “seascape” of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.   They look like colorful jeweled pearls waiting to be collected and popped into my mouth. My mind immediately pictures desserts like a mixed berry crisp with an oatmeal streusel crumb topping, patriotic layered parfait of raspberries and blueberries with yogurt cream, or fun fruity popsicles and smoothies.  I can’t wait to go home to make them.  Popular in our house is a simple dish of macerated berries spooned over vanilla bean ice cream.  So goood!   Berries also add color and a zing to green leafy salads too.  Best of all you can freeze or preserve them while purchasing them at seasonal prices.  Freezing them has kept my wintry months very “berry” happy as I make blueberry pies, fruit-filled crostatas, and use them in my giant muffins and delicate scones.  It brings back the memory of the warm summer months amidst the cold winter season.

Every summer, my husband and I scout out the farmer markets in the tri-state area looking for fresh white corn.  We enjoy them just slightly cooked…so fresh, so sweet.   Grilling the corn also adds a smoky flavor which enhances any salad such as a black bean corn salad or soups and chowders.  Finally, when summer rolls around we are on the lookout for the unusual looking Chinese bitter melon which is more like a squash.  It is one of those foods that one either hates it or loves it due to its bitterness.  Alkaline in nature, it is also known for its many medicinal benefits such as healing gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, psoriasis, and wound infections.  It is usually stir-fried with slices of meat in a fermented black bean sauce or made into soup or stuffed with a meat filling and steamed.  It is also made into tea after it is dried.   It is delicious to the mature eater.  As I share my favorites, I hope you will take advantage of the abundant selection of fruits and vegetables in the summer season.

Cooking through the Seasons: An Everyday Guide to Enjoying the Freshest Food by Editors of Cooking Light

The Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook by Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Colman

Ice Pops: Recipes for Fresh and Flavorful Frozen Treats by Shelly Kaldunski

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

Fast, Fresh & Green: More Than 90 Delcious Recipes for Veggie Lovers by Susie Middleton



EatingWell in Season: The Farmers' Market Cookbook by Jessie Price

Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More by Cory Schreiber

Perfect Pies & More by Michele Stuart


Eat Your Vegetables by Joe Yonan

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