Thursday, August 9, 2012
The garden is finally giving back. After months of watering and waiting, there are new and delicious fruits and veggies to be picked daily. The colors and textures of the backyard harvest can’t help but inspire a shot or two.
The fresh flavors are so true, so intensely good that they need little enhancement, just something snipped from the herb garden. Slice, chop, mix, done. Simple, cool eating in the hot summer: Cantaloupe and watermelon tossed with mint, vibrant tomatoes with basil, cilantro for a crisp cucumber salad.
Having a garden is also great incentive to experiment with new dishes. We have so many pumpkin blossoms that I think I'll try this recipe for Mexican Pumpkin Flower Soup.
When the pumpkins fully ripen in weeks to come, I have plans to make pumpkin butter. I was generously gifted with a copy of The Preservation Kitchen from Chicago photographer Jeff Kauck, the amazing talent behind the images in the book. Chef Paul Virant’s recipes for preserving are wonderful to start, then he guides you through using them as a basis for other recipes and seasonal menus. I am a less than accomplished cook myself, but there are many recipes within the book I know I can handle. The Pumpkin Butter (using roasted pumpkin) is definitely on my make list, along with the Fried Green Tomatoes with Basil Mayonnaise and the Tomato Jam to make use of the bumper crop I see coming. But today, a few of these gorgeous cantaloupes are destined for the Vanilla Melon Jam recipe
Can there be a better way to make the summer last?