“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” ~ Lewis Grizzard
I am not much for chaos. I know, four children right! Add to that not being the ideal morning person and well, sometimes there needs to be a backup plan from the very get-go.
When I know mornings are certain to be hectic, such as the first week of school, I like to bake a batch or two of muffins Sunday afternoon. Because these are sure to be breakfast on the go, I like the large double-size muffins that can be individually wrapped in sandwich bags. That way I can keep a basket full right on the kitchen table.
Since zucchini is still in season here, I decided on Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins, a favorite of the kids. As fall approaches I’ll make Banana Nut, Apple Cinnamon, and Pumpkin Spice Muffins too.
Whether you were hoping to can peaches, make your own salsa, or put up some of your favorite jams… you still have time. Here is an easy to read chart of what you can find in season each month in Virginia. Live elsewhere? Check with your local Cooperative Extension office or state Ag Department for similar charts.
Ever since the first tomatoes hit the farmers market this year, I have been craving a tomato tart. All warm and savory, it is like being able to taste summer in every bit. I confess, I have never made one before – but I could close my eyes and taste the flavors I was after.
Because I planned on using a fairly shallow tart pan and was certain the dough would hold up, I decided to use the Pâte Brisée recipe. Be sure to read Choosing the Perfect Dough for the Job.
For the Pastry (single crust):
For the Tart:
Making the Pastry:
Cut the butter into very thin slices and place in freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, mix flour, salt, and sugar in large bowl. Place bowl in freezer for 15 minutes.
Add butter to flour and toss. Using fingers work the butter into the flour with a rubbing action. You still want to be able to see small flakes of butter in the flour. If the butter begins to warm, return bowl to freezer.
Add water, starting with 1/3 cup. Work dough, pressing together. If dough does not begin to hold its shape, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Use only enough to form a ball. It will be crumbly but still hold its shape. Press into disk.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
When ready to use, remove from refrigerator, unwrap, cut in half and roll out on floured surface. Keep the other half wrapped in frig until ready to use.
Assembling the Tart:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in a 12-inch circle. Transfer dough to tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough into corners and trim so it is flush with sides. (I roll my rolling pin across the top of tart pan to cut pastry.) Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Remove from frig. Brush bottom of pastry shell with Dijon mustard.
Arrange tomatoes on pastry so they overlap slightly. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Add tarragon evenly over tomatoes. Top with Mozzarella cheese.
Bake tart for 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Note: With my first attempt I used Better Boy tomatoes out of the garden. Although delicious, it created too much liquid in the tart. I made the recipe again using Roma tomatoes which resulted in a much more desirable tart. One that was easier to slice and serve.
I think I have mentioned it before, but I live in a house full of picky eaters. I guess I shouldn’t say that. My kids eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and ethnic dishes, having been exposed to so many new ingredients through the farmers markets. It would be more accurate to say that everyone in my house likes *different* things. Either way, creating a meal can be a bit tricky.
Kebabs (also known as kabobs) are a great way to give everyone in the house exactly what they want. Corey can have his without onions and the kids can customize their own kebabs just they way they like them! I like living on the wild side with a little of everything.
Grilled Lamb & Vegetable Kebabs with Dipping Sauce
12 wooden skewers (10-inch)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 pounds boneless lamb (leg or shoulder), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium red onion, halved then quartered, cut into 1-inch pieces (keep layers intact)
2 small zucchini, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds
2 small yellow squash, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
Place wooden skewers in a shallow dish and cover with water; set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer oil and garlic until garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside to cool.
Thread 6 skewers, alternating lamb and onion. Thread remaining 6 skewers with zucchini, squash and pepper. Brush lamb and vegetable kabobs with garlic oil and season with salt and pepper. Place skewers on a hot grill rack. Cover and cook, turning occasionally, until each side has grill marks and lamb is cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes or until lamb reaches 160ºF for medium doneness.
Remove from grill. Serve with dipping sauces and whole wheat pita.
Honey Mustard Thyme Dipping Sauce
3 tablespoons coarse grain mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
In a small bowl, combine mustard, mayonnaise, honey, thyme, salt and pepper.
Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper
In a small bowl, combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt and pepper
Recipe and image provided by the American Lamb Board.
I absolutely love soup and enjoy fixing it year round. I consider it the ultimate lunch, regardless of whether it is a light fare or approaching a hearty stew. Pair soup with a rustic bread and a green salad and dinner is served.
Sweet corn being one of my favorite seasonal vegetables and the very essence of summer, I couldn’t wait to create this easy summertime chowder. Growing up on dairy farms, both Corey’s and my family use to plant acres and acres of corn for silage for the milk cows. Unfortunately field corn is not the same as sweet corn. It is exponentially tougher and without the sweet, tender flavor that makes even the most proper of us eat it like we are manual typewriters. The solution? Our families always planted two rows of sweet corn around the outside of the corn fields.
I typically use a chicken stock as the base for most of my chowders, but for this yummy summer soup, I decided to kick up the flavor with a homemade corn broth. Should you prefer, you can always substitute low salt chicken stock for the corn stock.
As one might expect, I am truly a meat and potatoes kind of girl. There are exceptions of course, for example Insalata Caprese or Caprese Salad. I will plan an entire meal around this dish! And it’s super easy to make.
Layer sliced tomatoes, sliced mozzarella cheese, and basil. (Normally I layer them overlapping slightly on a plate. I placed them directly on top of each other here for a more interesting photo.)
Drizzle with olive oil and season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.
For a little extra spice we often add a sprinkling of red pepper flakes or drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top.
My favorite summer meal?
Grilled farm fresh hamburgers topped with Gorgonzola cheese, corn on the cob, and Caprese salad. ♥ For me it doesn’t get any better than this!
What’s your favorite summer meal?