Wednesday, August 11, 2010


This week, I couldn't resist the heirloom tomatoes. Tomatoes most represent summer, in my opinion. They are the one thing that I never buy any other time of the year. In fact, I don't ever buy them from the store, not even Whole Foods because they are nowhere near as good as they are fresh from the garden. During the summer months, I always have heirlooms around. They are so good, that you really don't have to do anything to them. I love to buy a bunch of different kinds, thinly slice some, quarter others and serve them with some basil and a drizzle of olive oil.
Eggplant is another summer favorite. We have all seen the regular Italian eggplant and probably the long and skinny Japanese eggplant, but did you know there is a white eggplant, a green striped one and these little purple baby eggplants? Last year I bought all of the varieties to do a taste test and found that there wasn't really a discernible difference in flavor. The little ones in the picture are about the size of my thumb! My plan is to halve them and saute them later in some olive oil and garlic along with the peppers...
Peppers are on the list of the "dirty dozen." The dirty dozen is a list of the fruits and vegetables with the highest concentration of pesticides, therefore, you should always seek out organic options for them. These are another truly seasonal item. You see peppers at the grocery store year round, but they never have any organic ones. As a result, I have a very short window during the summer months where I get to enjoy them. In general, I prefer them cooked to raw, but my favorite way to have them is roasted. To roast a pepper, you simply place it directly on the flame of your stove's burner and char it. Once the outside is black and fully charred, put it in a paper bag or in a bowl covered with cling film. Let it cool for a few minutes and then, simply peel off the skin.

When I was a kid it was a toss up between peaches and strawberries for my favorite fruit. I used to pick every last piece of flesh from the pit before finally throwing it away-it was a tedious but well worth it practice. I love peach and blueberry tarts with nut crusts, grilled peaches with ice cream or fresh yogurt but nothing is better than biting into a perfectly ripe, sweet O Henry peach.

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