Summer

quahogsReally, it is too hot to write. (No, my “office” in the old farm house is not air conditioned.) I thought I’d seen heat, what with growing up in Washington, D.C., and spending summers in North Carolina in un-airconditioned cabins. But I guess I’m old. And I guess farming is really one of the worst activities to do in a heat wave (or humidity wave, I should say). I keep trying to get up earlier and earlier to harvest, but it doesn’t matter what time I get up—it’s already hot. (Doing anything in the middle of the day is out of the question.)

Today, three tee-shirts and two (outdoor) showers later, I’m sitting at my desk, but really none the cooler.

Earlier in the week, I was all blasé about this heat thing, and actually did some cooking. In fact, I turned on both the oven and the stove (several burners). I was all excited because our neighbor Ralph Savery brought us a bucket of quahogs. First I made a quick chowder with some of our fingerling potatoes, onions, and fresh thyme. Delicious. The next night I made spicy linguine with clams. There are still a few clams left, which Roy is threatening to turn into Clams Casino—if we ever turn the oven (or broiler) back on at this point.

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summervegWith summer drawing to a close, I'm still not ready to say goodbye. My garden, though less productive, has a lot of vegetables that are still ripening. But, alas, the cooler weather and shorter days will bring an end to summer's bounty. But with all the beautiful late summer produce that's currently available at farmers' markets, like squash, peppers, tomatoes, and more, there's a lot of summery cooking that can still be done.

Take the opportunity to make a tomato sauce, a soup, saute or stir-fry. I love stir-frying because it's such a fun and easy method for cooking up a meal quickly. Plus you can pack it with vegetables. For this summer stir-fry, I use zucchini, bell peppers, and oyster mushrooms. And one of my favorite herbs, Thai basil, makes an aromatic and flavorful addition. What could be a better dish for using up summer vegetables than this?

With Thai flavors, much like Pad Thai, I use sweet tamarind paste and savory fish sauce to flavor the dish. Soy sauce, garlic, and ginger round out the flavor profile. It's all served over rice noodles. But there's one thing to keep in mind. The secret to a well-made stir-fry is cooking the dish in smaller portions so that everything stays crisp instead of steaming under the weight of a full wok of vegetables. Take a few minutes to toss together this healthy and colorful dish. You won't be let down by these summer flavors.

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peachbasketIt’s the end of summer. And I always get nervous that it’s almost the end of peach season (which is true). So the race is on over here to figure out all the things I can do with peaches before the summer ends.

I spent a summer once on a farm in Pennsylvania. We had fresh yellow peaches every day from the Amish Farmer next door. We ate them for breakfast, sliced with their skins on, in a bowl, with unsweetened heavy cream poured over them (not too heavily, not like cereal) and walnuts if we were feeling adventurous. It was a delicious way to start the day.

There was peach cobbler once a week in the summer when I was growing up. Perfect with a real pie crust on the top. And then when I started entertaining for myself, peach praline pie was one of my favorite things to make.

Here are some of our favorite peach recipes. Tell us yours!

Peach Lemonade | Noble Pig's Peach Margaritas | Sangria with Sparkling Wine and Stone Fruit

Ginger Peach Preserves | Fresh Peach Jam with Bourbon

Peach and Raspberry CobblerCornbread Crisps with Peach Salsa | Blue Cheese and Peach Chutney Crostini

Peach and Pecan Chicken Salad | Peach Salad With Goat Cheese and Hazelnuts | Pork Chops with Peach-Ginger Chutney

Fresh Peach Tart  | Iron Skillet Peach Pie | Peach Galette | Fresh Peach and Cinnamon Ice Cream | White Peach Sherbet | Grilled Peaches Stuffed with Mascarpone Cheese and Rosemary | Grilled Pound Cake with Warm Peach Coulis and Chantilly Cream | Amaretto Peach Bake with Honey-Lemon Olive Oil Cake | Peaches in Sauternes | Blackberry and Peach Crisp | Peach and Tart Cherry Cobbler with Sour Cream Biscuits | Summer's Best Fresh Peach Cobbler | Peach and Raspberry Cobbler

 
     
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rosemarylemonadeIt's almost the end of summer, which likely means you're sunburned, overtired, and ready for your kids to go back to school. I'm here to help. Are you ready for some relaxation? Here's what you need to do:

1. Make a batch of this Sparkling Rosemary-Ginger Lemonade and refrigerate it. Chill a tall glass in the freezer, and fill it with the ginger lemonade.

2. Find a comfy hammock or chaise lounge, preferably in a shady spot. Recline on it while sipping your ginger lemonade.

3. Tell your significant other, your kids, the dog to leave you alone. OK, maybe not the dog.

4. Listen to the hum of bees. Smell the sharp scent of freshly cut grass. Watch the clouds float by. It's a lazy summer day. Make the most of it.

5. If you're still not relaxed, pour yourself a second glass of ginger lemonade and add a shot of vodka or gin. Repeat steps 2-4.

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pavlovaberriesIt makes me sad that I forget about pavlovas, they are SO good, SO pretty and SO easy to make. They are just little clouds of goodness and make the perfect ending to any dinner.

If you have never had them, they are basically meringues made into a little bowl, that happen to look like a cloud. Perfect for dessert after a big heavy meal. They are so light and airy.

Because I hoard berries over the summer and buy them when they are beautiful at Costco, I always have a freezer full waiting to be made into something delicious. This particular sauce I threw together with blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, but you can use any combination to make to your liking.

It doesn't matter how imperfect your cloud bowls are, the more rustic looking the better. I hope you give this a try, I promise you won't be disappointed.

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