Lately we have been receiving overwhelming amounts of produce from our farm share – I can barely keep up! As a matter of fact I feel like I haven’t been cooking that much in the past week or so. I have been so busy working and getting ready for school…even though I don’t start for a whole month! I am just very excited and anxious to start!
Our farm share has been extremely generous in the past two weeks. We have been receiving copious amounts of peppers, zucchini and squash along with onions, melons, tomatoes, eggplants, carrots and greens. Since I haven’t been home at night to cook dinner I have been making meals ahead of time and freezing them. That way whoever is home can just pull one out of the freezer for dinner. Some of my family’s “freezer” favorites are vegetarian stuffed peppers, stuffed zucchini and vegetable lasagna with a mushroom sauce.
These skewers of ripe cantaloupe, mozzarella, and prosciutto make a perfect poolside appetizer. Just assemble in an alternating pattern and drizzle with balsamic vinegar, chopped basil, salt and pepper. I was hoping to grill these pieces of salmon, however, our grill was broken so I decided to cook them in parchment paper in the oven. It is such a simple way to cook fish and you can taylor it to whatever ingredients you have on hand. Wrap a piece of fish in parchment paper with your choice of herbs and seasoning. Then drizzle it with olive oil and place in a 450 degree oven. This salmon took about 15 minutes to cook. I served it with thinly julienned zucchini, squash, carrots and Brussels sprouts.
I was so excited for our farm share to finally have tomatoes. They have always been my favorite. As a kid I used to eat them fresh from our garden like an apple. This salad is a great way to showcase the season’s ripest tomatoes. Slice red and yellow tomatoes over a bed of mesclun greens or arugula. Top with fresh ricotta or goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
I recently got the idea to make a grilled cheese on our outdoor grill from Curtis Stone on The Chew .
My family and I loved the slightly charred and smokey flavor from the grill – I can’t wait to try it again. To make it simply cut a loaf of ciabatta bread in half. Then drizzle it with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and red wine. Place face down on the grill for 3-5 minutes until slightly charred. Remove and fill with your favorite grilled cheese ingredients. I used pesto, fresh tomatoes, arugula, sharp cheddar and smoked gruyere cheese. Return to the grill and cook until melted on low heat (5-7 minutes).
I couldn’t resist the ripe box of apricots the last time I went in the grocery store. I love them but I couldn’t finish them all on my own so I decided to bake them into a tart. I cheated and used a store bought pie crust but you could certainly make one from scratch. I then filled it with sliced apricots and plums coated in lime juice, maple syrup, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Before you place it in the oven (350 degrees) top it with sliced almonds. Cook for 30 minutes until golden brown.
I was a little skeptical of how my family would like this fig and apricot chicken with caramelized onions. They love it and have requested it again but unfortunately I can’t remember everything that went into the dish!
Panzanella salads are a great side dish to any summer meal. You get your salad and bread all in one dish. Now is an especially great time to make them with the abundance of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, however, you can use whatever vegetable you like. If you don’t like tomatoes – use bell peppers! The salad I made is equal parts cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and toasted bread. Topped with basil and a mustard vinaigrette.
This bucatini pasta is my new favorite find. It makes a simple tomato, basil, and garlic pasta dish so much more interesting! It has a hallow center (like a straw) so it absorbs a lot of the sauce giving the pasta more flavor. I have been buying Giada’s brand of pasta.
This year my mom and I went crazy with blueberry picking. We picked over fifteen pounds! Before freezing them I decided to make a simple blueberry and peach crumble. I topped it with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream and berry sorbet.
Enjoy the fresh produce available right now! Keep checking into The Cheftell Blog; I will be back in the routine of posting soon with more recipes and food essays!