Summer

Make the Most out of Your Farmers' Market Trips

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by Susan Russo

market1When people ask why my husband and I live in San Diego instead of moving back to Rhode Island, I usually say, “the farmers’ markets.” I’m joking. Sort of. Really, how many other places have over 40 farmers’ markets that are open year-round? We’re lucky, and we know it.

Fortunately, farmers’ markets are located across the country. So no matter where you live, here are nine ways to make the most out of your trips to the farmers’ market.

1. Be prepared. Before you leave the house, make sure you have some sturdy, eco-friendly reusable bags and plenty of small bills (ones and fives) and quarters. Consider bringing an insulated bag for items such as farm fresh eggs or cheese.

2. Be patient. Resist the urge to purchase the first plump tomato or crisp red bell pepper you see. Always stroll through the entire market once to assess the produce and prices.

Buttermilk Chipotle Grilled Chicken

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by Lisa McRee

chipotlechickenCanned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce are simply very ripe jalapeno peppers that have been dried, smoked and packed in a sauce of tomatoes, vinegar, paprika, oregano, garlic and onion. If you’ve never cooked with them before, you’ll be shocked at what a shortcut they can be when wanting to add flavor to loads of recipes.

And, to make sure those flavors, and a couple of other ones in this marinade, really travel to the deepest parts of the chicken, buttermilk is a miracle...

Cooks in the south, like the ones I grew up with, always used buttermilk to tenderize and moisturize fried chicken...The acid in buttermilk helps break down the protein strings, which makes the bird more tender and succulent, while carrying those flavorful spices and herbs into the deepest part of the meat.

And this spicy version of the marinade those smart cooks have used for generations makes this chicken just as delicious and juicy…even though it’s grilled and not fried!

World's Best Creamy Coleslaw

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by James Moore

creamycoleslawIt’s hard to believe that we’re already approaching Memorial Day weekend. So most likely, if you’re not hosting a gathering, you’ve been invited to one.

No other side dish embodies a cookout quite the same as coleslaw. When made correctly, it’s the perfect accompaniment to savory barbecued meats and vegetables.

The trick is to create a crisp salad with fresh vibrant flavors that isn’t too sweet or too soupy. This is one of my favorite “dressings” for coleslaw. It can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to toss with the cabbage and veggies.

How Long Is Your Rhubarb Season?

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by Susan Russo

rhubarbcompoteIt's rhubarb season. Or is it?

When I was a kid, rhubarb season was usually a couple of months long. You didn't have to buy it at the market because half of your neighbors grew it in their yards. I remember going to my great aunt's house where those crimson stalks stood at attention along the side of her house. I'd rip one right of the ground and bite into it like it was a carrot. I'd do it till my eyes watered, my lips went numb, and my belly turned sour. Ah, those were good days.

Nowadays, I have to rush to get my rhubarb fix. And rhubarb should not be rushed.

Since my belly isn't as steely as it used to be, I forego raw rhubarb for stewed, sweetened dishes like crumbles, crisps, and compotes. I have made many rhubarb compotes, but this one is special. The rhubarb is tempered by sugar and enhanced by freshly squeezed orange juice, aromatic ginger, and sweet blueberries.

White Wedding Sangria

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by Matt Armendariz

mango-peach-sangria 456x342This was served at our wedding last year and always delights a crowd, hence the name. Not that we have anything against Billy Idol…. It is fruity, sweet, on the lighter side and can be made more like a cooler if you increase the juice.  Frozen fruit is key here as it keeps the drink cold and stops from becoming too mushy in the liquid. Frozen pre-cut fruit works fine or you can do it yourself.

1 bottle of white wine, something fruity like Chenin Blanc works well
1 cup frozen diced peaches
1 cup frozen diced mango
1 red delicious apple, cored and cubed
1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
8-12 ounces fruit nectar (anything like peach or passionfruit or guava works)

Mix the wine and nectar in a large container, add apples and refrigerate for at least one hour. When you’re ready to serve add the frozen fruit, give it a stir and serve over ice. Garnish each glass with a slice of lemon.

-- Recipe courtesy of MattBites.com    

 

Quick Fresh Summer Tomato Basil Sauce

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by James Moore

Nothing beats fresh tomato sauce made with your own (or someone else’s) garden tomatoes. The few simple ingredients combine to make a truly delicious and authentic pasta sauce.

This recipe can easily be doubled if you have an abundance of tomatoes, and it freezes really well, so it’s worth making a big batch. Perfect with angel hair, but any favorite pasta can be used.

Homemade Tomato Chutney

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by Susan Salzman

tomatochutneyWhat do I feed 12 boys, ranging in age from 7 – 14 without spending my entire weekly grocery budget on that one meal? We have done away with hot dogs and instead have adopted sausages in it’s place. After much thought, grilled sausages with homemade condiments is the route I will be taking. Setting everything up, buffet style, works with a crowd. Add a big bowl of veggie chips, cut up fresh cucumbers and jicama (spiked with fresh lime + chili powder) and just maybe all of this good stuff will counteract the sugar high that will ultimately be taking over the evening.

I like to prepare for the hectic week ahead and doing as much prep and organization in advance keeps me sane through out the week. Onion marmalade, ketchup, barbeque sauce, teriyaki, and homemade sodas can easily be found in our fridge, stored in glass jars of all shapes and sizes (I hoard glass vessels). I have recently gotten into making chutneys and this tomato chutney has become a a household favorite.

Summer's Best Fresh Peach Cobbler

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by James Moore

peachcobblerThis is a fantastic recipe that makes great use of fresh summer peaches. Cobbler is a classic summer dessert and just about as American as Apple Pie. The clever folks at Cook’s Country have mastered a method that prevents the cobbler from sitting in too much liquid.

Traditional cobblers are usually made with a biscuit-like topping and can be made with almost any fruit, although peaches are my favorite. I usually make biscuits with buttermilk or heavy cream, but the yogurt really works well here.

Top the warm cobbler with some vanilla ice cream and enjoy.

Five Cocktails for your Summer Parties

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by Joshua Lurie

summercocktalksCocktails aren't an afterthought at parties and weddings anymore. Just ask Talmadge Lowe, the co-founder of a roving underground cocktail club and catering company. He's among several bartenders who have built their own drinks catering companies and raised the quality and customization of cocktails at events. 

"People are going to go to the bar first thing they do, and they’re going to go back to the bar several times," Lowe says. "So why not design a bar to be just as special as the menu?"

And since summer's the height of L.A.'s private event season, here are five cocktail caterers who are bringing the craft of cocktails to the party.

Read More...

Fresh Strawberry Shortcake with Homemade Biscuits

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by James Moore

biscuitstrawberryStrawberry Shortcake seemed to always mark the beginning of summer when I was growing up.

Although we get strawberries almost year round in California, they always taste best in early summer. We always made our “shortcake” with biscuits.

This is a pretty foolproof method. When you stir slightly cooled melted butter into cold buttermilk, the butter will clump.

Although this might look like a mistake, it's one of the secrets to this recipe.

 

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