Sunday, August 01, 2010

In Season

Tonight for dinner we had a number of dishes that can only be made when their key ingredients are in season. During the long wait from one summer to the next, it's easy to forget what summer fruits and vegetables taste like. Fresh and exciting things I used and made:
  • Chopped tomatoes. The local tomatoes that I bought had a special aroma that you only get when the tomato has been ripened -- almost over-ripened -- on a vine on a farm not far away. Our first course included the tomatoes and a chopped olive salad that was ready-made at Whole Foods, my own cream cheese spread, and herb butter that I made with fresh cilantro.
  • Butterflied leg of lamb, made on the grill using a Julia Child recipe. I think it was a very small lamb, perhaps local but I'm not sure. It was the most tender lamb I've ever had.
  • Green bean salad with dried mushrooms and red pepper and a light vinaigrette -- the green beans now are small, not old & tough. The red peppers are still the industrial green-house version -- I hope that the odd-shaped local pimentos and nonstandard red peppers become available soon. For them, I will have to make it to the Farmers Market.
  • Lettuce salad with Michigan dried cherries, toasted pine nuts, and cherry balsamic vinaigrette. And one touch of Michigan maple syrup.
  • Peach cake (which I described here when I first made it). The very first tree-ripened Michigan peaches are here. They make all the difference. So juicy and soft the "free stones" don't even want to come out. I added a few exceptional-tasting blueberries that came from Western Michigan.
Time to get philosophical. Sorry, I haven't the energy -- I was cooking and preparing vegetables all afternoon.

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