All Posts In In Season

Tomatoes Go Beyond Salads — Summer Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, August 1st, 2012

heirloom tomato pie
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers and our friends at HGTV Gardens to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today we’re exploring tomatoes.

Come August, tomatoes — heirloom, beefsteak, cherry and more — hit their peak. Plump and juicy, they scream summer with their sweet, slightly acidic flesh and bright hues. Perfect for summer salads, there’s arguably no combination more classic than a simple caprese brimming with ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and fragrant basil. But, tomatoes’ versatility far surpasses the realm of summer salads. In fact, they’re fantastic in soups, pies, pastas and sides. Just give one (or more!) of these easy cooked tomato recipes a try.

If you plan on planting your very own tomato patch, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens for great tricks like mulching tomato plants heavily with hay or leaves, and tips like pulling off stem tops to prevent puncturing fruit when stacking. Before you get cooking, be sure to choose firm, noticeably fragrant and richly colored tomatoes that are free of blemishes. Store them at room temperature and use them within a few days.

Hosting a casual garden party? Pass around Rachael’s Roasted Tomato Bruschetta for a simple hors d’oeuvre. Ina’s Roasted Tomato Basil Soup and Roasted Tomato Caprese make for a sweet start to any meal. Food Network Magazine’s Heirloom Tomato Pie (pictured above) serves as a bright main that needs nothing more than a leafy green salad in accompaniment.

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Cheesy Summer Squash — Summer Fest

by in In Season, July 25th, 2012

summer squash carpaccio
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today, we’re exploring squash.

Tender and mild, summer squash captures the freshness of the season whether it’s raw, steamed, roasted or grilled. But no matter how you choose to prepare this shapely and colorful member of the gourd family, it seems there’s no better combination than summer squash and cheese — Gruyère, ricotta, Parmesan and much more — for a light salad or a hearty main.

Before you get cooking, be sure to choose summer squash with bright-colored skin free of spots and bruises. Once you’re home, refrigerate it in a plastic bag for up to five days, though it will likely disappear long before then.

When summer squash is at its freshest, eat it raw. Thinly shaved, it needs nothing more than a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil, a scattering of grated pecorino and a sprinkle of freshly cracked black pepper like in this beautiful Summer Squash Carpaccio (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine. If you’re in search of a salad of cooked summer squash, Grilled Summer Squash with shaved ricotta salata and Claire’s Minted Squash-Orzo Salad with crumbled feta are equally as delectable.

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Perfect Plums — Summer Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, July 18th, 2012

easy plum tart
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today, we’re exploring plums.

Nothing says summer like plump plums, bursting with juicy sweetness at every bite. From yellow to green to red to purple, hundreds of plum varieties exist and it’s hard to resist enjoying them straight from the market. But when they do happen to make their way into your kitchen, uneaten, a plum-stained dessert is the perfect way to impress your friends and family any night of the week.

Before you get cooking, be sure to choose plums that give slightly to palm pressure, avoiding cracks, soft spots or brown discolorations.

Hosting a barbecue? Finish on a sweet note with easy-to-make grilled plums. Try Bobby’s Grilled Plums With Spiced Walnut Yogurt or Rachael’s Balsamic Glazed Grilled Plums With Vanilla Ice Cream. Either way, grilled plums — and grilled fruits of all kinds — will quickly become a summer staple.

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No-Cook Cucumber Recipes — Summer Fest

by in In Season, July 11th, 2012

cucumber watermelon salad
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today, we’re exploring cucumbers.

Farmers’ markets are bursting with water-filled, crunchy cucumbers, a refreshing relief amidst the rising summer heat. With numerous no-cook cucumber recipes, there’s every reason to stock up on the green-skinned fruit for salads, soups, dips and more. These simple and refreshing recipes will get you through the hottest days of summer — no grilling required.

Before you get chopping, be sure to choose firm cucumbers, avoiding soft or shriveled spots. Once you’re home, store them in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Salads are an easy and effortless way to let cucumbers shine. For a delightful mix of sweet and savory, try this Watermelon-Cucumber Salad (pictured above), which is topped with creamy crumbled goat cheese. Or try Ellie Krieger’s Cucumber Salad, a mix of cucumbers, red onion and dill.

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Asparagus All the Time

by in How-to, In Season, May 30th, 2012

asparagus bundle
When shopping for asparagus, look for firm, clean and straight stalks. Wobbly stalks and discolored ends are telltale signs not to buy. Use a sharp knife to trim only the very bottom from the stalk; breaking it off causes more of the bottom to go to waste. With “pencil” asparagus, I find the stalks too thin to peel. For larger asparagus, I peel them (because the outer skin can be tough once cooked) and leave the top two inches intact. Not planning to use them right away? Fresh asparagus should be kept refrigerated. Placing the stalks upright in a little bit of water (as you would a bouquet of flowers, for example) can extend its shelf life.

I like asparagus al dente, a.k.a slightly crunchy. A six-ounce serving of asparagus will cook al dente in boiling water in about 2-3 minutes; add enough salt after the water begins to boil until it tastes like mild seawater. Once cooked, transfer the stalks to a bowl of cold water with ice to stop them from cooking further, dry them off and serve them whole drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil. When I serve them chilled, I let them sit in the fridge in the dressing for a few minutes before serving. For something even richer, try a dressing with two parts hazelnut oil, a handful of chopped, toasted hazelnuts and one part lemon juice. Drain the asparagus, dry stalks of excess water and toss them, warm, into the bowl with the dressing. When I serve them warm, I have the dressing ready; I toss and eat right away.

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Spring Clean Your Supper

by in Community, In Season, April 18th, 2012

spring peas with dates and walnuts
Let’s face it, spring cleaning isn’t the most exciting chore of the season, but it’s so gratifying after it’s all done. The same notion also applies to making over meals, especially when the produce starts to become so abundant. Our friends over at Yahoo! Shine have invited FN Dish readers to join their Supper Club. This month, they’re challenging readers to make weeknight dinners that are as fresh and bright as the season.

Don’t know where to begin? Food Network’s Spring Produce Guide is a good place to start. From asparagus to rhubarb, you can find tips and recipes for cooking up spring produce at its peak.

Spring Peas With Dates and Walnuts from Food Network Magazine (pictured above) is a market-fresh salad that calls for not one but three kinds of spring peas: English, sugar snap and snow peas.

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Springtime Produce

by in In Season, Recipes, March 23rd, 2012


Spring is officially here, which means that it’s time to embrace the light, colorful, fragrant bounty this season has to offer. Whether you’re growing your own fruits and vegetables or simply prefer to peruse the produce aisle, the next few months are some of the freshest all year, promising bushels of ripe, sweet goods, such as vibrant asparagus, radishes, ramps and more. Below is Food Network’s list of spring-inspired recipes, each rich with in-season produce that will transform any basic dish into an inspired one.

Food Network Magazine’s Roasted Asparagus (pictured above) side dish is a no-fail recipe that delivers simple, satisfying results every time. Crunchy pine nuts, fragrant parsley and refreshing lemon zest are sprinkled atop slender spears before baking the asparagus until it’s warm and tender.

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Stuck in a Carrot Rut? — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, In Season, February 7th, 2012

ginger carrot soup
Something happened a few weeks ago while I was at the farmers’ market. As I scanned the stands, looking over the slim produce pickings here in the Northeast, I decided to get to the root of the problem — root vegetables, that is. It’s February, and we’re knee-deep in parsnips, turnips and potatoes. How I long for the first green cylinders of zucchini and sweet pods of green peas. Soon enough, asparagus.

Since I can’t get in a time machine and fast forward to spring, I decided it was time to get creative and work with what I had before me. Into my bag went a big bundle of carrots. Then they sat in the bin for a week. A whole week — thank heavens root vegetables are resilient and forgiving. I originally picked them up since they’re one of my daughters’ favorite vegetables. The problem is I tend to fall back on standard serving ideas, like simply roasting them or cutting into sticks to pair with dip. Not bad, but certainly a one-way ticket to boredom if done too frequently.

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Roasted Winter Squash — Fall Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, December 7th, 2011

curried winter squash
fall festTurn winter squash into a simple snack with curry powder and butter. Whether you’re partial to acorn, buttercup, butternut, hubbard, spaghetti or turban, this quick recipe from Food Network Magazine showcases the fruit’s plump, soft flesh.

When shopping, the firmer the squash the better. Winter squash’s thick skin allows for longer storage times (as long as you keep it in a cool, dark place and don’t refrigerate). Don’t forget to watch out for blemishes or moldy spots.

A great source of iron, riboflavin and vitamins A (more than summer squash) and C, this Curried Winter Squash is so addictive don’t be surprised if you eat it all in one sitting.

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Top 3 Beet Salad Recipes — Fall Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, November 30th, 2011

beet and apple salad
fall festAs November comes to a close, serve one last bright meal that channels summer and casts away the soon-to-be-winter chill. Beets are not only pretty, but this versatile root vegetable can be easily thrown into a quick salad.

When shopping, choose beets that are firm and have smooth skin. Small or medium-sized beets are often more tender, while their color can range from a garnet red to white.

Serve a Beet and Apple Salad (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine as an easy starter. Apples and sugar give this dish a natural sweetness, while endive and walnuts add some crunch.

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