Wednesday, November 6, 2013
In ancient times August was also known as Weod Monath, which also means weed month as the eight month of the year is the month when growth crescendos with lush plants of all kinds peaking along with as many varieties of weeds as Carter has pills. Known as the hottest month of the year it is traditionally the biggest vacation month of the year too. Old English saying is “If the first week of August be warm, the winter will be white and long.' Now that we know this fact we will have to keep an eye out for the weather the first week and if it correlates with the winter. Let me know what you find out about the time December rolls around. Little known fact that August is Water Quality Month but more importantly August is …. Drum roll…National Goat Cheese Month!! Leading into one of the month’s largest crop – tomatoes! Tomatoes can astound a person on many levels. After many murmurous conversations between bees and plants you should have an abundance of pollinated flowers producing huge crops of looming, tangled vine weighted down with lovely multi colored fruits. Or not, one of the astounding factors, but hopefully you do and thick slices of said tomatoes of any variety pair swimmingly well with goat cheese slathered on slabs of lovely bread sprinkled with sea salt and chopped fresh emerald leaves of sweet basil that is hopefully cohabitating peacefully as well as abundantly alongside your tomatoes. Of course the long standing favorite, Salad Caprese is always lurching in the wings begging to be first on the menu and truth be told, it never gets old especially when you are using amazing cheese. Make it a mission to search finer cheese shops for Burrata cheese. It is fresh mozzarella on the outside and pure cream in the center so it kinda smooshes with the tomato and basil literally forcing you to catch your breath and calm your excitement after taste buds register the velvet. Grilling tomatoes brings out sugars you never knew existed and adding them to any dish gives lush complexity to scrumptious summer concoctions. To those who know me it is no surprise that Sun Gold cherry tomatoes are one of my longstanding favorites. My garden partner Stephanie and I go crazy over them and make sure to get a lot planted at the College Park Organic Garden every year. The students love how sweet they are and very few make it past the pickin. For those that do make it inside, conjure up a beautiful salad using Sun Gold’s cut in half, fresh corn cut off the cob, baby arugula, fresh crunchy chopped cucumber and crumbled feta. Drizzle excellent olive oil, squeeze lemon juice and crack sea salt gently mixing with marvelous affection and you will have the salad you will live on for the rest of the summer. Stone fruits, swollen by sun are peaking this month as well and are luminous bursting with natural sugars when bit into. Juices roll down chins as nature intended so sink leaning happens a lot with those peaches and nectarines. Slice onto a piece of puff pastry and egg wash the dough. Pull it sloppily up around the fruit and sprinkle with a dash of raw sugar and bake at 400 until the pastry is brown and the juices are bubbling. Inner and outer fire will ensue as you eat this free form tart hot with melting vanilla bean ice cream creating a luscious sauce around your plate to be licked up later when only loved ones are present. Mercury has been a bit high but it is those evenings we live for when the sun gives up the fight and the gentle summer breeze off the bay rolls into our little valley making it one of the finest places on earth to call home. Get out on the trails early and hydrate lots. Mangia. This is my most popular item I prepare for folks all summer long hands down. A little bit of work but it will guarantee you a spot at any party, a lot of suitors and even several proposals of marriage Corn Fritters 1½ cups flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon soda 1 teaspoon kosher salt 2 large eggs ¾ cup milk 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups fresh corn kernels 2 tablespoons each chopped parsley and chopped basil Mix flour, powder and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center and put eggs, oil and milk in center. Whisk together and add corn and herbs. Put enough oil in a frying pan to grease well. Fry the fritters a few at a time until golden on each side. Serve with Sweet and Sour Tomatoes. Sweet and Sour Tomatoes 2 pounds of assorted heirloom tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks 1 bunch green onions, sliced thin 2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh cilantro 2 tablespoons of honey ¼ cup of seasoned rice vinegar 1 tablespoon of olive oil 1 teaspoon of kosher salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon ground cumin Put tomatoes, green onions and cilantro in a bowl and set aside. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan. Add cinnamon and cumin and heat until bubbly, about 2 minutes. Slowly add honey and rice vinegar. Cook for 3 more minutes or until a little thick and gooey. Pour mixture over tomatoes, cilantro and green onions. Season with salt and let sit for about 5 minutes before using.