Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, and next Tuesday will be a little bit sad even for those of us who are not going back to school. So take full advantage of these last few days and send your summer off on a winning note. If you haven’t made these watermelon tequila shot skewers yet, now’s the time. Eat as much fresh corn and zucchini as you possibly can. Host a last-minute barbecue with tips for super-fast grilling. Or savor summer memories with these nostalgic tastes.
All Posts In In Season
Tomatoes get all the love during summer’s peak, and while I do adore them, I really fall for eggplant this time of year. The most common of them are the large deep-purple ones called black beauty, or sometimes globe eggplants. A trip to your local farmers market will reveal the many other varieties that abound — Fairy Tale, Turkish, Japanese and Italian are just a few of them.
When working with the large globe eggplants, it’s important to salt them. This helps remove any bitterness and draws out extra moisture from the eggplant. Fried eggplant was a favorite of mine when I was growing up, and it’s something my daughters love now. Nowadays I alternate between frying eggplant on the stovetop and making this crispy baked version for a healthier way to fulfill our cravings. Here are five more ways to enjoy eggplant while it’s in season.
When you’re battling flames over a blistering-hot grill, who wants to preheat the oven? Even when it comes to something as important as dessert, those added degrees are enough to break your cool when entertaining this summer. Luckily, in lieu of overheating, you can take your pick of Food Network’s finest no-bake desserts that’ll keep your kitchen nice and cold.
Oftentimes, no-bake desserts are no sweat too. Take The Pioneer Woman’s Individual Key Lime Pies (pictured above), for example. Unlike the arguable toil of from-scratch baking, it takes only layering homemade lime curd and whipped cream atop buttery graham cracker crumbs to have you seeing beyond the slice.
When a recent trip to the farmers market left me with more peaches than I could get through before some pushy fruit flies set up a serious colony, I did what first sprang to mind: I made a peach crisp. And it was delicious. But just as the last crumbs were gobbled up, a new question loomed: What am I going to do with the other 50 peaches in this box? That’s when I started hunting for delicious ideas and found these.
1. Grilled Chicken Breasts with Spicy Peach Glaze (pictured above): The sweetness of fresh peaches meets just the right amount of heat in this one from Bobby Flay.
2. Fresh Peach Cake: Think of a pineapple upside-down cake, but even more decadent because this is a recipe from Ina Garten — one I can’t wait to make.
3. Grilled Peach Salad with Balsamic Bacon Vinaigrette: Looking to spice up your favorite leafy greens for lunch? Try the magic of crispy bacon plus juicy peaches on top.
There’s no such thing as having too many tomatoes, but it does pay to be prepared for the onslaught. The fruits are just beginning to ripen in East Coast gardens, so we have about two weeks to get ready for tomato mania.
Until then, take advantage of near-ripe varieties by making fried green tomatoes. Green ones appear in September and October (when there isn’t enough heat to fully ripen those still growing), so now is a great time to test and refine your techniques for the main event. A dollop of goat cheese on top with some torn fresh basil and cayenne powder will balance the tart flavor. Or keep the stove off by making a raw tomato sauce. Dice fresh tomatoes, and mix them with olive oil, finely chopped garlic and basil, along with some rosemary and sage.
We have reached part three of our series on summer slow-cooking. You can catch up on part one and part two. So far, we’ve found a way to keep our kitchen cool by turning off that oven, and we’ve found a great trick for cooking bone-in and tougher cuts of meat. So for part three, I want to share how to cook items that complement what you are making on the grill (which is most likely meat, fish or some other protein). So for my final benefit (sniff!):
You can easily cook larger quantities of accompaniments that go well with whatever you have on the grill. Read more
There are times in the South, round about August, that are oppressively hot. Not just a little hot, but take-your-breath-away hot. So hot that walking down the sidewalk feels a bit like walking in a rotisserie oven, with waves of undulating heat cooking up through the soles of your feet. So hot that shade gives no relief and the whispers of wind that blow through might as well be hot gusts escaping from the devil’s furnace.
Folks talk about how Southerners ought to be used to the heat, but there’s no really getting used to that kind of oppression. Many, many people now have air conditioning, and, if anything, we’re more susceptible to the ravages of baking in the Southern summer heat. However, when I was a little girl, my grandparents didn’t have central air conditioning. We’d sit on the porch at dusk after supper, or the adults would sit and rock while my sister, my cousins and I would play in the yard.
Picture summer without nibbling on at least one ear of corn. How could you? This time of year, this staple crop is sweeter and juicier than ever. And, though it doesn’t need much else than a humble slathering of butter, the possibilities for the in-season ear don’t end there. Think of it as a kernelled canvas — one that can come drizzled, dusted or simply grilled to charred perfection with little effort at all. This week, take your pick of Food Network’s most-brazen corn-on-the-cob recipes and reinvent how your family devours corn on the cob.
In this summer heat, the most-fitting way to take your corn is by way of the grill. Bobby Flay’s Perfectly Grilled Corn on the Cob (pictured above) shows you how to do it once and for all. After giving the corn a good pre-soak, grill each ear with the husks on till the kernels are tender.
Summer is the season of spontaneity — when a passing neighbor can become a last-minute dinner guest, and the plump tomatoes and zucchini you picked up at the market turn into the centerpiece of brunch. And when it comes to go-with-the-flow entertaining, there’s nothing better than a grill: It’s fast, cleanup is a snap, and practically everything tastes better with the smoky, crispy char you can get only from a fire. The following supermarket staples make it easy to improvise at the grill, no matter if you’re cooking T-bones, plums or potatoes. Stock up and you’ll be prepared, whatever the mood brings.
Tomatoes, eggplant and peppers are members of the nightshade family. There’s something a bit sexy about those nightshades; maybe it’s the deadly yet beautiful part …. Tomatoes are, in fact, a fruit, but their affinity for other savory ingredients means that they are usually classed as a vegetable. Fruit or vegetable, they are a rock-solid part of summer down-home comfort.
Fresh tomatoes are only ever good in summer. There is nothing as wonderful as the full flavor of a garden-ripe tomato — and there is nothing as sad and disappointing as the insipid, lifeless flavor of a tennis ball-like tomato held in cold storage and shipped in a case from the other side of the world. I don’t eat those atrocities and strongly suggest that you don’t either. So, when it’s tomato season, I vigorously support eating those glorious ripe ones as often as possible.