Thursday, July 8, 2010

Food Glorious Food

"Food, glorious food,
We're anxious to try it.
Three banquets a day,
Our favorite diet." from Oliver, the musical

ROBERTA: Don't you just love the food of summer? I'm in heaven because Jake the Corn Man should be setting up shop down the road a bit by the weekend. He has the best corn and it's worth going to his truck just to hear his sales pitch. He'll run through every item in his truck if you let him.

"Have you tried my plums (or cherries or peaches?) They're so delicious they'll make the juice run right down your chin." And so on...

The crops are starting to come in down in our garden patch too. We've been eating chard, lettuce, and spinach for a while, but I picked the first handful of green beans today--summer is definitely here! I wanted to take a photo of our first blueberries of the season, but John and I ate them before I got around to it.

Today I made this lime sponge cake. It's light and tart--perfect for a hot night. How about you guys, what are your favorite foods of summer?

HALLIE: I was just thinking how much I hate the heat and humidity and how much I LOVE the food. Our community supported farm (Brookwood Farm) just had its first week of produce -- tender carrots, onions, scapes (the green curly tops of garlic), basil (a huge bunch), cilantro, parsley, little turnips, salad greens, peas, sugar snap peas... I am officially in heaven. The southern peaches from the supermarket have been fabulous. Just got our first cherries. Local corn not yet but soon, and of course it's awhile before we'll have the first vine ripened tomatoes. Anyone have anything great (and unusual) to do with collard greens? Roberta, any chance you'll share that recipe?

ROBERTA: Absolutely! I cut the recipe out of the New Haven Register years ago, but this looks like exactly the same thing. Though I've never garnished with slices of lime:).

RO: Smoothies! I miss them in the winter. Nectarines! Watermelon! Martha's strawberry cream cake recipe which makes the baker look like a domestic goddess even if she isn't. Salads for dinner. But if I had to live off the harvest from my vegetable garden I'd starve. Hallie, do you grow collards?

HANK: You all can have my collards, okay? Peaches and blueberries, charcoal-grilled peaches with blue cheese, corn on the cob (also grilled) with lime butter. Lobster! Strawberries with brown sugar. We make a drink called a Palmyra--its vodka, and simple syrup, and fresh lime juice, all shaken madly with a bunch of fresh mint leaves, then poured into a martini glass. Oh, it's fantastic.

RHYS: See, I knew Hank was my kind of gal. The other Jungle Red babes discuss collard greens and garlic tops and Hank makes cocktails! We have a local farmers market and a pick-your-own strawberry patch nearby. The peaches, plums and strawberries taste completely different from those shipped from miles away. Every year I want to grow things, but then I find I'm away for half the summer. so I have to settle for those heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market.
And in a couple of weeks I'll be in the South of France, wandering the market with a basket over my arm, playing a French housewife and buying everything fresh. Can't wait!

JAN: fresh tuna, swordfish and scallops bought from the fishmarket in Edgartown or New Bedford and cooked with fresh herbs from my garden. I can't eat supermarket fish or tomatoes anymore. Actually I only eat tomatoes in august when they are local.

I have to admit though. By mid august I'm sick of anything grilled and start longing for cold weather and stews.

ROBERTA: Now I'm really drooling...time for our annual Jungle Red summer banquet! What will you bring?


  1. And I should have said, be sure and stop back here tomorrow to meet Kim Severson, a food writer for the New York Times, and author of SPOON FED: HOW EIGHT COOKS SAVED MY LIFE.

  2. We just moved from Orlando with a 12 month growing season (ok, realistically maybe 10) to the mountains of Colorado (9100 feet) where the growing season is about 10 weeks. And that's only if the deer don't get to things first. Hubster is the gardener, so he's having to adjust to no garden. He's trying the upside down hanging tomato planters, but the weather is still extreme (two hailstorms this week).

    Me--I'm going to have to adjust to high-altitude cooking. Water boils at 195 here, not 212.

  3. My daughter makes a wonderful trifle called something like Fruity Angel Food Trifle. She has a special bowl to serve it in. Filled with summery fruits, angel food cake, pudding...yum!

  4. Terry, that is SO fascinating! Can you really tell the difference when you cook?

    And TL, I'd love to have that recipe. I bet it's beautiful!

    And talk about best of both worlds--or eating disorder, one or the other...This weekend I made mojitos with splenda. It worked!

  5. Terry, that is a huge change--hailstorms in July?? Do you at least have a farmer's market near by.

    And the angel food trifle sounds fantastic.

    Hank, cannot say the same about mojitos with splenda...only you could get away with that!!