It is that great time of year — we have the abundance of summer fruits and vegetables at our fingertips! School may be starting soon, but take the time to really savor summer for a few more weeks. We want you to make the absolute most it, starting with summer foods that you should be experimenting with now while they are in their prime.
The garnish of champions is more than just a sprinkle of green on summer dishes. Chives have a mild flavor without being overpowering. Add chives to fresh salads, savory scones, potato salads, summer herb cheese dips, buttered and grilled salmon, or summer soups.
A cousin of bluegrass, corn has become a dietary staple in the western diet, especially in the summer. While there is nothing wrong with grilled corn in summer, the sweet and simple favorite is versatile for many other dishes. Try spicy corn salsa, corn risotto, corn bruschetta, grilled corn pizza, corn relish, or chilled corn chowder. Since summer corn is naturally sweet and buttery, it also works surprisingly well in sweets, even chocolate cake!
The Italian favorite typically makes appearances with Caprese salad in the summer, but we like to showcase the licorice sweet herb in cocktails, homemade pesto, watermelon feta salad, turkey burgers, and Thai dishes. Basil is also an unexpected addition to sweets like these strawberry basil shortcakes.
Few things are better mid-summer than a juice-drip-down-your-chin peach. Peaches are known as sweet superstars but can also be used in summer savories like salsas and relish. Peaches are even a sweet summer addition to steaks, chicken, and pork. Or add the honey-like peach flavor to summer sangria. And of course, we haven’t met any peach desserts we didn’t like!
The summer squash grows in abundance in many of our gardens so much that by summers end, we are pawning zucchini off on our co-workers and friends. Zucchini’s simple flavor allows it to blend into nearly any savory dish, it becomes slightly sweeter when grilled, and also makes great “zoodles” (Zucchini noodles). While it is more common to cook zucchini, it can shine on its own sliced thin and garnished with lemon zest, sea salt and shaved Parmesan.
Unsung heroes in the summer produce game are radishes. These colorful spicy guys deserve more than an occasional addition to a summer salad or dippers for a hummus tray. Add radishes to summer rice dishes, shaved salads, add the colorful varieties to cheese dishes, or snack on them with spicy mayo and sea salt. Sautee the beauties with bacon and top with a fried egg for a summer breakfast.
Wedges of juicy watermelon on a hot afternoon are a must in the summer. The sweetest member of the gourd family is quintessential to the summer season. Add the pink sweetness to spicy arugula, sweet basil and feta for a summer salad, or to add to a tabbouleh salad for a summer twist. Watermelon also pairs surprising well with meats like grilled pork and beef stir-fry. Capitalize on watermelon’s refreshing properties in simple desserts and summer cocktails.
Enjoy summer cooking!