With summer upon us, a more relaxed and laid- back attitude often takes a little pressure off home cooks’ culinary expectations. Fruit is sweeter, vegetables are earthier and outdoor cooking and dining is a no-brainer. Summer brings us back to simplicity and our food reflects this. A lot of home cooks and professional chefs, including our Executive Chef Todd, prefer to cook seasonally and summer in Colorado provides us with great inspiration.
Fresh herbs are an easy grow-at-home ingredient that can elevate any home cooked meal. Fresh herbs are more aromatic and flavorful then dried herbs and, if grown in your garden can be more affordable too! The ratio for dried to fresh herbs is 1 tsp of dried herb to 1 tbsp of fresh herb or three times as much fresh herb to dried herb (3 -1). Herbs have been used for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes, everything from coughs to warding off evil spirits. We like them for fresh summer flavors and aesthetically pleasing garnishes. From lemony thyme to licoricey basil there is an herb for every dish. Even fruits and desserts!
Colorado corn is a must have for summer grills and salads. Corn grilled and topped with butter and salt is an easy addition to any summer meal. Corn is sweet and versatile; it can be used in variety cuisines from Thai to Mexican. Corn is the King of Vegetables for the summer.
Heirloom Tomatoes are the ingredient many of us wait patiently for each year, as tomatoes grown the rest of the year, just simply are not as flavorful. Heirlooms come in up to 600 different varieties each with their own flavor profile. Most common are Brandywine, notoriously odd shaped and a hardy flavor. The Marvel Stripe is an orange-yellow heirloom ideal for eating fresh, however will lose color when blended. Sticking to the Castleton Genovese heirloom is best for salsas and sauces with a rich and tangy flavor profile when cooked.
Watermelon is a nostalgic reminder of summer days. Sweet and refreshing, watermelon is actually 92% water; it is one of the best ways to change up a summer beverage, watermelon Margarita anyone? Try adding watermelon to a savory salad for a summery twist or just simple and sliced, a juicy watermelon is a delightful treat for any hot day.
What is summer cooking without a grill? Nearly 82% of Americans own a grill. Grilling is an affordable, convenient and great way to keep us outside and cooking at home. Charcoal grills will run from as little as $20 to $500. Some believe that charcoal grills, while more work, lend more of a “grill” flavor. Gas grills are the most popular and can be priced from $100 as high as $10,000 for a deluxe model. They are easier to manage and control heat. Grilling for barbeque, burgers, vegetables and even fruit is a summer must.
Most importantly, summer is for gathering with your favorite people relaxing outdoors with wonderful food! We wish all our Serendipity followers a happy Memorial Day weekend. Stay tuned for more recipes and ideas to keep your summer rolling!