All Posts In In Season

Stuff It With Spinach — Fall Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, October 3rd, 2012

pork chops stuffed with spinach
fall festLet’s talk spinach. It’s the green at the center of family dinner dramas and the barrier to many kids’ elusive desserts. More often than not, kids just don’t want to eat their spinach. And if we’re getting down to it, who can blame them? When spinach exits the freezer as a rock-hard rectangle and is defrosted into a soggy mess, who’s going to be down for a side of that?

Now that we’ve made it to October, things start to look up for spinach because each leaf is crisply in season.

We’re all about the classics like Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip. But sometimes you have to level with the little ones, the picky eaters and the greenaphobes sitting around your dinner table. Who knows, maybe incorporating spinach into their lives little by little could mean straight Creamed Spinach this time next year. When you want to savor this green — and satisfy the whole family — look to Food Network’s spinach-stuffed recipes to make everyone happy.

If a recipe asks for the frozen kind, go ahead and swap in the fresh stuff. This time of year there’s no need to defrost. Go for baby spinach to reduce stem clipping, too. That way, spinach can melt into your meals in the best way possible.

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The Rise of the Kale Chip — Fall Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, September 26th, 2012

kale chips
Where were you the first time you ate a kale chip? Sitting on the couch watching reruns? Mingling at your foodie friend’s last dinner party? After a lifetime of guilt-inducing potato chip munching, there’s something pretty eye-opening about digging your fists into a bowl of solid kale chips. Salty, crispy and undeniably addictive, each one triggers that same sensation as the potato variety without the, well, bodily consequences.

Now that we’re inching into fall, each leaf of sturdy kale is in season and as pristine as ever. Use this to your advantage. As the weather gets colder and our food gets richer, going with the smart snack is probably a noble choice.

With just a drizzle of olive oil and a crack of sea salt, it’s easy to make homemade kale chips. Trust me, Food Network Magazine’s Kale Chips (pictured above) aren’t rocket science, but if you’re looking to get inventive, we’ve got just the thing for you.

Kale chips come in many forms, just like your favorite bag of potato chips. Accentuate the classically sea-salted with Guy Fieri’s Crispy Kale Chips With Lemon, which adds a shot of citrus and some crushed red pepper. Or churn up a Lemon Mayonnaise that serves as a perfect match for a dip-bound chip.

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The Multipurpose Potato — Summer Fest

by in In Season, September 19th, 2012

four cheese scalloped potatoes
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 the past weeks, we’ve 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. For the last installment of Summer Fest, we’re exploring potatoes.

Taken straight from the sack, potatoes are pretty bland. But with just a little love — and butter — they become a force to be reckoned with. And let’s face it: They’re as versatile as they are comforting. Yukon gold or russet? Baked or smashed? Now that the most satisfying crop of all is in season, there’s no telling what could end up on your dinner table tonight.

If you grow your own potatoes, did you know they can keep for upwards of six months or more? Fresh potatoes can be eaten immediately and are prized for their tender, new skins. But potatoes can also be cured in a dry, room temperature space to allow skins to slightly desiccate. Keep them in the dark and they can store for upwards of six months. For more great tips like this one, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, there’s something to be said for a quality baked potato. You know, the kind that’s sliced down the middle, perfectly moist on the inside and inundated with toppings. Food Network Magazine’s Twice Baked Potatoes pack in leeks and chive-and-onion cream cheese, while the Neelys’ Twice Smashed Baked Potatoes recipe goes the broccoli and double-cheese route.

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Let’s Go Apple Picking — Summer Fest

by in In Season, September 12th, 2012

french apple tart
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 apples.

If you live in the Northeast, the introduction of apple season means more than a wide-eyed experience in the produce section. Instead, it means a trip to the farm for some apple picking. Donning your favorite comfy outfit and making your way into the country, this trip should be one of the first things you do when the air becomes crisp and the leaves turn golden. Don’t be afraid to pick apples by the crateful this year — Food Network has plenty of ideas to keep you busy.

For breakfast, drizzle maple syrup over Ellie Krieger’s Whole Wheat Apple Pancakes, blend Fuji and Golden Delicious apples together for Alton Brown’s 10 Minute Apple Sauce and eat a warm, hearty Zucchini and Apple Bread fresh out of the oven.

With so many apples, try incorporating a few into lunch and dinner, too. Tyler Florence’s classic Roast Loin of Pork With Baked Apples embodies everything that’s good and hearty about the fall, while this recipe for Apple and Brie Quesadillas brings an unconventional edge to a Tex-Mex mainstay. As for sides, look to simple Baked Apples and an Israeli Couscous With Apples, Cranberries and Herbs.

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Stuck Between Summer and Fall — Meatless Monday

by in In Season, Recipes, September 10th, 2012

Zucchini Gratin
When it comes to cooking in early September, things can get a bit tricky. After all, fall’s first apples are landing on grocery store shelves and you’re starting to crave comforting meals again, but it still feels like summertime outside. So how do you cook the season when you’re sweating it out in steamy temperatures even though signs of fall just can’t be missed? Our end-of-summer recipes are sure to get you through these last few humid weeks. Check out a few of our favorite vegetarian selections below, then tell us what your favorite in-season dish is these days.

Ina’s Zucchini Gratin (pictured above) combines the best of summertime ingredients while celebrating hearty textures that are so typical of autumn. She fills this five-star casserole with light, in-season zucchini, but mixes it with a warm, creamy sauce of nutmeg and milk before topping it with crunchy breadcrumbs and gooey Gruyere cheese. Just a few minutes in the oven is all it takes to turn out a completely meat-free side dish that’s at once flavorful and satisfying but not altogether rich, thanks to the filling of fresh produce.

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Better Beets — Summer Fest

by in In Season, September 5th, 2012

salt roasted beet carpaccio salad
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 beets.

Now that we’ve rolled fresh into September, the in-season stud of your next grocery loot is, inarguably, the beet. The root veggie may almost exclusively come canned, but it will arrive in no such packaging this time around. We mean it — spiky can openers and shiny cylinders are banned from your shopping bag from now through October. We’re talking fresh ones — and only fresh ones.

If you plan on growing your own beets, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens for great tips like getting an annual soil test to determine if you’re missing any nutrients or micronutrients. Beets are sensitive and grow irregularly in the soil if you have a boron deficiency.

But what does it mean for a beet to be fresh? To start, the colors can range from the quintessential deep magenta to vibrant gold, white and everything in between. Not only that, but going can-free ensures that BPA and other chemicals don’t weasel their way into your sweet, pristine beets. In the end, the biggest perk is pretty clear: Everything is simply better fresh.

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Eggplant: Champion of the Meat-Free Meal — Summer Fest

by in In Season, August 29th, 2012

eggplant
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 eggplants.

As far as produce goes, eggplant stands out as one of the few items that can truly carry a meal. I mean, think about it. When dinnertime rolls around, who’s really down for an entire entrée of green beans, carrots or onions? Not me. Eggplant, on the other hand, is meaty and versatile, so there’s no need to give it side dish-only status. Once the slick skin is slid off and it’s all sliced up, it just takes the right addition of heat to take it from its raw, bitter form to supple and slightly sweet.

Now that eggplant is in season, this is the time to give it a headliner position on your dinner table. They’re pretty good throughout the year, yes, but sometimes the smooth purple skins of out-of-season ‘plants are tainted with bruises or the shape is even deformed — and that just won’t do. Rest assured, however, that with the season ranging from July to October, you can find eggplant at its absolute peak for most of the year. As you transition from summer to fall, treat it as the centerpiece of your meals. These recipes should get you started.

If you plan on growing your own eggplant, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens for great tips like how far apart to grow each plant — do not over-plant, as eggplant will produce very well and over a long period of time.

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In Summer Denial

by in In Season, August 28th, 2012

blueberries
As far as I’m concerned, summer continues until the squash varieties on the tables at the greenmarket outweigh the piles of tomatoes and corn. In an effort to prolong summer, I revert to the classics — the recipes that make me close my eyes and feel it can’t be any day other than the Fourth of July. This recipe for Blueberry Coffee Cake does that more than any other. It tastes even better as leftovers or warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can substitute with other fruits like plums, nectarines and peaches, but it’s best with good ol’ blueberries.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

My mother is a New England gal and I always marveled at the way she ate this dish. While my father and I have been known to eat this as-is or pile on whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, she would put a slice of this cake into a bowl and pour some heavy cream (like a moat around a castle) on it. The unsweetened cream, in its purest state, really highlights the spices and blueberries themselves — try it!

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There’s More to Melon — Summer Fest

by in In Season, August 22nd, 2012

fish tacos with watermelon salsa
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 melons.

Picture this: You’re strolling through the produce section and the melon selection is juicier than ever. They’re so sweet and juicy, in fact, that they deserve a little more than a simple slice.

As you know, “melon” is an umbrella term, bringing to mind all of our thick-skinned, juicy-on-the-inside favorites, be it watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew. Of course, nibbling unadulterated watermelon to the rind, wrapping cantaloupe in prosciutto and balling honeydew into a summer fruit salad are tried and true, but keep in mind that there’s more to melon at this time of year. Go for preparations that are entirely unexpected.

If you plan on growing your own melons, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens for great tips like watering your melons well in the beginning of the plants’ life, but backing off to minimal watering after the majority of the fruit is set. It’ll produce a sweeter meat in your melons.

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Peaches Move to the Big Kids’ Table — Summer Fest

by in In Season, August 15th, 2012

roasted turkey breast with peaches
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 peaches.

It’s August? Uh, when did that happen? We may still be sweating, but it’s back to the daily grind we go — back to the soccer practices, school buses and other non-summer activities. But before we peel out of the driveway and embark on our inaugural back-to-school shopping journeys, there’s something to be said for enjoying August for what it is, rather than that awkward gap between summer bliss and getting back to the grind.

If you ask me, August means one thing: peaches. It means soaking up these last lovely moments of summer with a juicy peach at the peak of ripeness. Now, as the velvet-clad orbs hang from the limbs of Georgia trees, there’s no better time to bring a few home.

With peach iced tea, peach pie and peach cobbler ranking high on the fruit’s roster, it’s no surprise that the bulk of peachy dishes tag along to the fruit’s sweetness. Well, this August, we’re all about bringing peaches to the dinner table because, trust me, peaches aren’t just made for dessert.

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