Saturday, August 31, 2019

August in My Kitchen: A Wrap-up

Summer harvests and outdoor activities -- by August, it seems a bit urgent to enjoy these pleasures before the weather changes and the days get really short. In my kitchen, most of the food preparation this month has involved either fresh produce or cooking on the big Weber grill we bought in July, including a new home-made barbecue sauce (recipe below). Not much new stuff here -- sorry if I've mentioned much of this in the course of this month's posts!

Local Produce 

Peaches and tomatoes and corn: the best Michigan produce of all, as far as I'm concerned! We tried several types of heirloom tomatoes, including sweet zebra tomatoes with green and yellow stripes.

Local tomatoes, corn, peppers, & zucchini. Sometimes we get local lamb, but this is from far far away in Australia via Costco.
Throughout August, I frequently shopped at the local farm consignment shop, as well as at the Farmers' Market. Somehow I haven't done any preserving or freezing this summer. We just buy fruit and vegetables, prepare them, and eat them. Unfortunately, as I've mentioned, it's not a good year for tree fruit, as the severe winter damaged and even killed many fruit trees in this area. Our peaches are coming from across the state or from further south. Local melons are doing ok, however (just didn't happen to take a photo). And on occasion, I vary this menu with a few fruits that don't grow here, like figs or mangoes, which are in season far away.

Salad: red and yellow tomatoes with cucumber, lettuce, & cottage cheese.

Cabbage, carrots, and onions are also grown by local farmers.
A carrot and cabbage salad is good with many of the barbecues.

On the Grill: My Outdoor Kitchen

Of course we had to try making ribs! They cook for two or three hours,
first over the drip pan, then briefly over the hot coals.

A serving of ribs with some rice pilaf and a dipping dish of home-made sauce, recipe below.

A Very Good Barbecue Sauce

From the Meathead cookbook (p. 185), we tried this delicious sauce for ribs or chicken. It has an intriguing flavor that you can't quite identify --

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder [I substituted smoked paprika]

Meathead says to combine the sugar and water and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the other ingredients, stir well, and simmer for 30 minutes more. I did it this way the first time; the second time, I just put all the ingredients in a pot, stirred, and simmered for 30 minutes. Both worked equally well. You can tell it's a good recipe since I made it twice in around 2 weeks. 

For a crowd, we cooked both chicken and corn at the same time,
using both the new & old grills. With the BBQ sauce!
You can see the chimney that is used to light the charcoal.

New Kitchen Desk Accessory

One new item: a small organizer for papers and the calendar I keep on the kitchen counter.
The only time I make meal plans is when I have guests, but I need the note pads and so on to do this.

This post shared with other bloggers at

Photos and text copyright © 2019 by Len & Mae E. Sander for maefood dot


rhapsodyinbooks said...

The local produce looks great. I am envious of having access to heirloom tomatoes, especially the sweet zebra tomatoes!

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

I love all the produce found at the local farmer's markets in late summer. Nothing can beat the taste of summer corn, tomatoes, peaches, and now apples. I baked two Jewish apple cakes this week and froze them.

Vicki said...

I love local produce! The food in the second photo looks yummy and is making me crave it all.

bermudaonion said...

Alas, tomato season is over here but it's practically our favorite time of the year. We get great peaches down here and I could eat my weight in them. I've never heard of a farm consignment shop but I want to go to one!

Shaheen said...

The Peaches, corn and tomatoes look wonderful

Jeanie said...

I'm with you on the produce and just bought corn, tomatoes and a variety of colored peppers at the market this morning. Such bounty!

Angie's Recipes said...

The grilled ribs looks fanfreakingtastic! I want some too :-))

Sherry's Pickings said...

lots of interesting ingredients in that BBQ sauce! cocoa powder... So you are coming to the end of your summer produce as we will start to get into ours. can't believe it is spring already. thanks for joining in this month Mae. have a good september. cheers sherry

Beth F said...

We're lucky to live in a major fruit-growing area. Currently the peaches, nectarines, plums, apples, and melons are amazingly good. Oh and also tons of tomatoes -- heirloom and romas.

Tina said...

The summer fruit and ve season is the best. I love all the fresh selections. The grilled chicken and ribs has me drooling and thanks for the sauce recipe. Love the organizing device. I have notebooks everywhere.

Tiffin Fiona said...

Mae - those ribs look so good. We are suckers for them. Our dream holiday was 2 weeks in Austin, travelling around eating BBQ to our heart's content! I think we may have the same stone bench top as you, the pattern appears identical. Thanks for your last gasp of summer tour around the kitchen.

Liz said...

Yes, your summer menu looks much like our own. I can't get enough of the tomatoes while they are in season and mourn their passing. Love the pictures of your BBQ and the sauce looks great. Our peaches are mostly finished now, sadly. It was a good year for them.

Stacie said...

We got peaches from Colorado one day after being picked. It was a fundraiser for a school and they were so delicious. Since I'm in Iowa, it's hard to get fresh peaches like that in a store.

Tandy | Lavender and Lime ( said...

I love the zebra tomatoes! They add a prettynes to salads :)

Jen Rose said...

Those ribs and barbecue chickens look delicious! Can't wait for warmer weather eating here. =)