Beets may be available year-round, but there’s good reason to hoard each ruby-red root this month. Sure, these magenta beauties are known for their pronounced health benefits, but that’s not why we eat them. Beets have a profound, earthy sweetness that takes some thought to tease out, and from June through October, you can bet that beets are at their most tender state.
This season, breathe life into your beets by balancing the sweetness with a dose of unanticipated acidity. Whether you use sour fruit to make a marinade or as a full-blown ingredient, a wash of tartness can do a sweet beet some serious good.
1. Balance with Oranges: Fresh oranges do so much for beets. In addition to showcasing the obvious color, Food Network Magazine’s Warm Beet-Orange Salad (pictured above) unites supple roasted beets with the citrus fruit’s charming acidity. On the other side of the spectrum, its No-Cook Beet-Orange Salad use thinly sliced chioggia or golden beets for a dish that’s raw, fresh and invigorating.
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Gone are the days of shriveled, dried figs — at least for now. The plump, sweet orbs — actually flowers inverted into themselves — are now lusciously in-season, meaning they’re ready, willing and able to make your table’s acquaintance.
But there’s a catch with figs: Supple, soft and picked when ripe, the fruit is as fragile as a porcelain vase, and the journey home from the grocery store is enough to leave your little figs burst and bruised. Leaving them on the counter for a day or two also reveals the fruit’s intense perishability. The moral of the story: One must act fast when fleeting figs are involved.
With this looming expiration date in mind, FN Dish rounded up the ways to cook and bake figs into our favorite recipes. That way, they’ll disappear as they should.
When the alarm goes off, Food Network Magazine’s Nutty Fig Toasts are your only fighting chance of getting out of bed — yes, Monday too. The multigrain toast, ricotta cheese, roasted nuts and cushy fruit are steps above the cereal bowl.
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Every August, I spend a few weeks going a little bit crazy for ratatouille. There is something magical that happens when you combine eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, onions, garlic and whatever herbs you happen to have around.
Part of the reason I’m so fond of this late-summer dish is that it’s one I grew up eating. My mom often made it when we were young with produce straight from the garden. Sometimes she served it chunky, but more often, she’d push it through a food mill and call it soup. It’s funny how much more willing we were to eat it when it was smooth and without any visible bits of veggie.
My Grandma Bunny was also a huge fan of ratatouille. She frequently made it in a large skillet, topped it with a layer of grated Parmesan cheese and popped it under the broiler until the cheese bubbled and browned. Served with chicken thighs marinated in lemon, garlic and olive oil, it was regular dinner for our extended family.
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If you ask FN Dish, red, yellow and green peppers do much more than add color to your plate. With crunchy thick walls and a juicy-sweet disposition, the hollowed-out veggies are meant for stuffing: with grains, meats, veggies or all of the above. These smooth-skinned beauties are not only brimming with antioxidants, they also invite a slew of possibilities.
This week, perfectly in-season bell peppers have every reason to make it to your table — especially when they’re bursting with all kinds of good things. Need some inspiration for your next stuffed sensation? FN Dish has you covered.
Giada adds an Italian flair to her Orzo Stuffed Peppers by using the short-grain pasta, while her Stuffed Baby Peppers — with pancetta, ricotta and Parmesan — work as creamy bite-size appetizers.
Chile Rellenos, Spanish Stuffed Bell Peppers, Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers and Food Network Magazine’s Cajun Stuffed Peppers each stay true to their roots while remaining unanimously satisfying.
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The first 25 years of my life, I ate fresh corn just one way: It was shucked, boiled until tender and slathered with butter. And while that’s a delicious way to handle the sweet corn of summer, I’ve learned during the last decade that there are many other ways to do it justice.
It was a batch of grilled corn that first opened my eyes to corn’s flexibility. I was at a cookout and a friend set shucked and lightly oiled cobs on a hot barbecue and kept turning them until the kernels were speckled and golden. Topped with mayonnaise and a little grated cheese, it was transcendentally good.
Once the corn floodgates were open, it was a quick trip to corn salads, salsas and chowders. Really, the only thing I’ve not done with corn is make jelly from the corncobs (a traditional Southern preserve).
This summer, the corn has been particularly abundant, and we’ve been getting a dozen or more ears each week at our farm share pickup. I’ve done every one of my regular preparations, and still, there’s more. Happily, I’ve recently discovered another recipe to add to my repertoire. It’s Bobby Flay’s Creamed Corn Succotash with Cotija, and I can’t stop eating it.
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It’s odd to think of a day when the avocado’s utensil of choice wasn’t the tortilla chip. But how many times have you ventured to the produce section with guac on the brain, only to find that the avocados would work better as baseballs? Don’t fret — now that avocados are in season, all of your guacamole plans can come to scoopable fruition. And with all of these ripe avocados on hand, FN Dish expands upon the Purist’s Guacamole with all kinds of inventive add-ins. We know: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But these renditions will awe and inspire guests with the very first scoop.
1. Papaya: Add the diced tropical fruit for unexpected texture and sweetness. Food Network Magazine’s Spicy Papaya Guacamole cuts sweet with spicy using mashed habanero peppers.
2. Corn: Roasted Corn Guacamole and Food Network Magazine’s Southwest Corn Guacamole are literally popping with Southwestern goodness. Broil or roast your corn before sliding the kernels into the guacamole.
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A ripe peach is one of the true joys of late summer. When they’re in season, I buy at least five pounds at a time from my Saturday morning farmers market. Through the course of the week, I slice them over yogurt for breakfast. Come lunchtime, I heap them on toast with a little fresh ricotta and mint. When I’m on my own for dinner, I tumble them into a bowl of greens with crumbled feta (my husband doesn’t dig fruit in salads). Just before bed, I’ll grab one as a snack and eat it messily over the sink.
However, despite my best efforts, there are sometimes a few stray peaches left at the end of the week that are starting to get slightly too soft to be eaten raw. That’s when I turn to baked goods. There are all sorts of transcendent peach-based quick breads, tarts and scones out there, but there’s a particular cake that’s claimed my heart this summer: Ina Garten’s Fresh Peach Cake.
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It’s the vegetable to be gushed over at brunch and the one worth of recipe swapping at book club. And if it’s on the menu with the Parmesan descriptor attached, all bets are off — we’re ordering it. Sturdy yet tender, filling but wholesome, the eggplant is the king of meatless for a reason.
Though it works as a standup main course, the following dishes speak to eggplant’s versatility as we transform it into easy, hand-held starters. Each of these small bites helps to ring in a meal with flair. Call them finger foods, call them bite-size — either way, compact eggplant appetizers are a lovely way to kick off dinner.
To start, Giada’s Mini Eggplant Parmesan are reminiscent of the classic dish, though they’re not engulfed in tomato sauce and cheese. That way, you can pick them up with your hands for easy eating. Similarly, Food Network Magazine’s Eggplant Ricotta Bites (pictured above) are crispy and to the point. Each circle is topped with a dollop of ricotta and a sprinkling of diced tomatoes.
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Can you believe it’s already August? With this sultry month come many lovely things — most importantly, the ripe, in-season peach. As we transition from the inaugural crates of summer strawberries, these golden kaleidoscopes of gold and red are so juicy they dribble down your chin. And with a velvet fuzziness on the outside and an ambrosial sweetness on the inside, peaches are deep summer’s most lusted-after loot.
Peak peaches deserve to be the highlight, the reason everyone’s at the table. That’s why FN Dish has assembled a list of the finest peach recipes. These unconventional dishes run the gamut and show us all the pretty peach is capable of — and, goodness, are they good.
1. Your mother wouldn’t be happy with us, but let’s start at dessert, the most iconic peach player of all. We all love Peach Cobbler, but unconventional desserts like Peaches and Cream Oatmeal Cookies, Caramel Peach Upside-Down Cake and Food Network Magazine’s Peach Cobbler Ice Cream Cake will raise eyebrows. Even something as simple as Food Network Magazine’s Hot Peaches and Cream can show the tender peach in all its glory.
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When my husband was little, he and his brother went to spend the night at their aunt’s house. The next morning, she made pancakes for them. Scott thought that the pancakes were studded with chocolate chips, so took a giant stack. Turns out they were filled with blueberries.
Because he wasn’t mentally prepared for blueberries, he spit out the first bite in surprise and yelled “yuck.” His aunt was mightily offended and despite his protestations, made him eat the rest of the stack. He has not touched a cooked blueberry since.
What this means practically is that when I’m cooking and baking for the two of us, I take care to avoid making things that involve blueberries (it’s the nice thing to do). I dearly love a blueberry baked good, however, and so at least a couple times a summer, when blueberries are in season, I make up some treat that my friends and neighbors might like so that I can have all the enjoyment of it without eating the whole thing on my own.
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