Summer

raspberrysoupRefreshing, sweet, crunchy texture, pretty....I love this! And as my husband schlurps away on this, he keeps repeating, "this is so good, but it's not soup".  I'm pretty sure he's doing it to annoy me, since I had an annoyed reaction when he said it. So he knows he's pushing my buttons, and it's working. "Of course it's soup, duh!", I said. We're such great communicators. 

Anyway, he keeps mumbling, "soup is hot". Yes, generally soup is thought of as being hot or warm and I will give him the fact that in the America's, fruit soups are not as common as warm savory soups. But,This Is Still Soup. And...chilled fruit soups are very common in Eastern European cultures....the mold from which we were both cut.

So, this is soup.  Let's not mention that him and I have both done our damage on an infinite number of bowls of chilled borscht...which he calls soup? I rest my case.

Read more ...

tompolentaAt noon on any summer day, there's a certain silence that sweeps across our pastures. It's a livestock siesta and no better time to enjoy the peacefulness of the sun and swaying pines around us. Dane and I think of a savory snack to bring to the breeziest spot on the farm - under the shade of our oldest oak tree.

This season we've collected cherry tomatoes by the buckets - sauces, sun dried and salsa has been happening a lot in my kitchen, but there's nothing like the smell of roasting a tray of fresh picked tomatoes.

This simple pie has a cheesy polenta base that feeds my love for the taste of southern grits. I top it with bright, tart roasted tomatoes - although a variety of garden vegetables could be roasted or sauteed for a satisfying topping.

Read more ...

peachtart.jpgSlightly rustic and simply elegant, this easy dessert is a mainstay in this Farmer’s kitchen! The complement of basic ingredients with pretty fruit is what makes this dish so elegant. Peaches in the summer, apples in the fall, pecans in winter, and strawberries in spring, the dough for this tart is quite versatile.

Just shy of true pie crust dough, this tart dough is a perfect blend of the slightly sweet with just enough puff and flake. Sweet and tart peaches are the piece de resistance for this lovely dessert, and a glaze of peach preserves adds a beautiful sheen to the tart and makes the perfect dollop for serving.

Fresh from the farm peaches are wonderful just about any way you slice them. For this dessert, I leave the skin on, which helps hold the shape of the peach wedges. Arranging from a center floret of peach slices and concentrically ringing the dough with the fruit is quite beautiful if you roll the dough into a circle. If you roll your dough into a more rectangular shape, lines of peach slices make for a great presentation as well.

Read more ...

freshpeachedOne of the many benefits of growing up in Middle Georgia is knowing where your food comes from. Knowing who grew it, where they grew it, and how they grew it. I cannot think of a better “know your farmer” situation than knowing the Pearson clan, especially since they grow this Farmer’s favorite jeweled delights of summer’s bounty – peaches!

Now that peach season is in full tilt, I journeyed out to Zenith and Lee Pope, Georgia (suburbs of the metropolis Fort Valley, mind you) with some out of town friends. They wanted peaches and I knew just the spot. This farm is my go to spot for peaches. I send my clients “thank you” baskets from this farm full of peaches, pecans, or whatever is in season, for I know that a gift from their farm is always in good taste. I wanted my friends to see the old schoolhouse turned packing shed, taste the best peach ice cream, and experience the sights, smells, and tastes this place offers. If you’re anywhere in Middle Georgia this summer, do stop by!

We traversed and travailed up US Highway 341 from Kathleen to the farmland straddling Peach and Crawford counties where the soil is imbued with the elements and nutrients favorable for peaches. In fact, this belt of soil in western Middle Georgia is so conducive for peach production, that the area has donned our fair state with its marvelous nickname - “Peach State.”

Read more ...

egg-plant.jpgI don't know where I went wrong. Three years of high school French and one graduate school semester of reading French, and I can still barely string together an intelligible sentence. C'est terrible! I have accepted the fact that a French pre-schooler could speak circles around me, but as long as I can say some words, like aubergine, I'm content.

Aubergine doesn't look or sound anything like its English counterpart "eggplant." But, oh, how I wish it did. Let's be honest, could there be a less appealing name than "eggplant"? I mean, it's not an egg or a plant. Plus, phonetically, it's just not pleasing; it's harsh and flat.  Aubergine, however, flows elegantly out of one's mouth. I daresay it's almost too attractive a word for the vegetable is signifies. (In botanical terms, an eggplant is actually a fruit, but it's cooked and eaten like a vegetable).

Fortunately I'm mature enough to look beyond such petty issues and appreciate eggplant's attributes. A heavy, firm, eggplant with a glossy purple-black skin borders on the regal. And its flesh, though just an unassuming off-white color, becomes enticingly rich and creamy when cooked. Like a chameleon, eggplant has the ability to transform itself: when grilled, it is appetizingly smoky flavored and tender; when fried, it is irresistibly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Read more ...