On the end of every growing zucchini or summer squash you will find a vibrant yellow-orange flower — the blossom — which is a vegetable in its own right. Zucchini blossoms are fragile and delicately flavored, a little sweeter and more ephemeral than the flavor of the squash itself. The blooms are naturally soft, but pick those that look fresh, not droopy, with mostly closed buds.
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We’re coming up on tomato season, which means those vine-ripened orbs of summery goodness are about to start flooding the markets. I wait all year for that moment! One thing I love to eat in late summer but don’t even think about during the rest of the year is a BLT. There’s just something about the combination of just-ripe tomatoes, salty bacon and cool, crisp lettuce (on toasted white bread with mayo, of course!). It’s absolute perfection. But a gal can eat only so many sandwiches. Here are some other delicious ways to enjoy the BLT trifecta.
BLT Pasta Salad from Food Network Magazine (pictured above)
Two summertime classics — pasta salad and the BLT — come together to create a dish that’s packed with flavor. Fresh herbs like thyme and chives add freshness to the creamy dressing. Read more
Ripe, garnet-hued cherries are now in season. Once you get your fill of picking up the sweet-tart gems by their delicate stems and popping them in your mouth whole, we’ve got eight delicious ways to enjoy cherries’ fleeting flavor, from crepes to cocktails and savory salads…and of course, the quintessentially summer cherry pie.
What’s better than all-American cherry pie? Individually-sized Cherry Hand Pies (pictured above) you can gobble down without a fork…or even a plate. (Keep some napkins on hand so you can dab away that powdered sugar mustache, though.) Read more
Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable, just like cabbage, broccoli and kale. This funny-looking vegetable is about the size and shape of an orange, with a bunch of leafy stems sticking out. It has a thick skin that can range from pale green to purplish, though the inside is always a very pale yellow. The leaves are all edible (the freshest kohlrabi will still have the leaves attached, which can be eaten raw or cooked like any greens). The smaller bulbs tend to be more tender and flavorful, but the large ones are also fine for cooking and eating. In taste and texture, kohlrabi reminds me of peeled broccoli stems with a bit of peppery radish thrown in.
Summer is in full swing, and that means most of us are firing up that backyard grill. If you are shying away from grilling, or just want a refresher course on the basics of grilling, then keep reading. Here are my top 10 tips for excellent summer grilling.
1. Start with a clean grill. Don’t let last night’s salmon skin impart a fishy-char flavor to tonight’s chicken breasts. Use a sturdy metal brush to clean off the grates in between uses. (This is easiest when the grill is hot.)
2. Don’t move the food around. In general, the fewer times you flip something, the better (once is ideal for most meats). If the meat is stuck to the grill, let it cook more — it will unstick itself when it’s ready for flipping.
Rhubarb, a classic produce variety of spring and early summer, is a vegetable that often gets cooked as though it were a fruit. Its long, crisp stalks look a lot like reddish-pinkish-purplish celery. They are quite tart; often some sort of sweetener is adding in the cooking process, especially when rhubarb is used in dessert recipes. Its nickname is the “pie plant,” since it so often ends up as a pie filling — or crisp or cobbler — sometimes along with a sweeter fruit, like strawberries or raspberries. Rhubarb can also be made into jam or compote to be canned.
Rhubarb is sold in bunches, or sometimes as individual stalks. Choose fresh, crisp stalks with good color and no blemishes, then trim the tops and bottoms and peel off any noticeably stringy bits. If any leaves are attached, throw them out — they have a high level of natural toxins and should not be eaten. Rhubarb can be stored in the fridge for up to five days, wrapped in plastic.
Just as those in Northern cities and states lay claim to different styles of pizza, hot dogs and clam chowder, many in the South have passionate ideas for what barbecue sauce should be. Sweet, smoky, tangy, sticky, crimson and white — there’s no shortage of flavors, looks and textures when it comes to creating the ultimate meat accompaniment. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts broke down barbecue sauces by region, looking at the signature elements of each — and sharing how simple it is to make them all at home, no matter where you live. Read on below for four of the most-common ‘cue sauces, then tell us in the comments which is your favorite.
Sweet and Sticky BBQ Sauce (Kansas City Style)
Featuring a base of ketchup, molasses and brown sugar, this thick sauce is indeed packed with sugar, but the sweetness is hardly overwhelming. The key is balancing those ingredients with a splash of tangy apple cider vinegar and the umami-like funk of Worcestershire sauce for well-rounded results.
If there is a niche vegetable that garners more controversial attention from the foodie set, it would be hard to name. Still cool? Yesterday’s news? Please. Read more
The long-awaited season of alfresco dining has finally returned, and the last thing we want to see when we open our picnic baskets is a cracked pie or a leaky bowl of coleslaw. A sturdy carrier is our greatest ally when preparing for an outdoor feast, and luckily, there are plenty of dependable totes, bowls and baskets designed to get your precious cargo to the park in one piece. Here are a few trusted picnicking sidekicks that are worth investing in this summer.
If you believe that cooking beets (sometimes called beetroots) at home is a messy and intimidating undertaking, you are not alone. But they are so wonderfully sweet and versatile, and have such a luxurious, silky texture that it’s worth giving them a second look. Plus, they’re actually easy to prepare. Read more