Food is more than just calories; it’s a way of bringing people together, and it’s an endless avenue of creativity: blending flavors, trying out new combinations, using fresh, seasonal ingredients to enjoy food throughout the year. If reading this makes you hunker down and howl cuz it resonates with a hobby you’re passionate about, let’s just talk about seasonal meals for a minute. Winter might be the exception here, unless you’re a greenhouse guru or make protective tunnels and continue to harvest long after most of us are finished.
Come spring, it’s not time to bust out the BBQ and paper plates yet, but it still can be nice to not serve something as warm and heavy as you would in, say, January. Our suggestion? How about salmon fillets, broiled to ideal? Slice a couple of lemons and squeeze fresh juice all over those babies when you pull them out of the oven. Then, get a good cracked pepper and sea salt combination and shake a couple of that sass on top. As far as what to serve along with it, head out to the garden and harvest fresh lettuce, spinach, and peas from the dirt, and if you grew strawberries, clutch some of the first juicy, sweet ones. Come inside to make a simple spring salad of greens, strawberries, peas, jicama, and clementine sections, tossing it all as well as just-slightly-tangy citrus vinaigrette. Bake some dinner rolls on the side and provide for them warm with salted butter. And, to top it all off? Make a wonderful rhubarb custard pie with a lattice top from your hearty rhubarb plant. (But yeah, do that the night prior to so it’s cool and nice and serve it with a high quality vanilla bean ice cream. The sweet and tart combo is killer.).
And, with all the crops that come on in the warmer months, there are so many options of what you can make to go along with BBQ chicken or a juicy burger or steak. Throw the tomatoes and peppers and onions together for fresh salsa with tortilla chips (they make a good appetizer while you’re waiting for food … just sayin).
Make some bread dough in the afternoon and let it rise for the next couple of hours. Add a layer of cheese and fresh sliced tomatoes from the garden.
And, to complete the night with some magic? Pull out the old-fashioned ice cream maker (the kind that whines as it turns round and round and has to be stopped every once in awhile so you can add more ice and rock salt). There’s nothing quite like a simple, straight up, unadulterated vanilla bean ice cream, and it’s very easy to make, too. When it’s finished, grab a few cantaloupes from the garden, slice them in half, scoop out the seeds, and turn them into bowls. It may not be the first pairing you think of, but cantaloupe and ice cream are delicious together. As you’re sitting there with those you love under the patio lights, discussing while enjoying something sweet and watching the stars show up, you’ll likely have one of those life-is-so-so-good moments, the kind you just want to hold in your pocket because its warmth makes you satisfied.
Ahhhhh … fall. You are a relief from the heat of summer and awesome in your beauty. You are golden afternoons followed by nippy evenings that demand a light sweater. You bring football games, colorful trees, orchard stands and jack o’ lanterns. You are the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, and you are brown as the garden gets harvested and all that’s left is a bare carpet covered with a few naked vines. And the food? Ahh, today. The food is where it’s at. It’s not freezing out, yet, but it isn’t summer at all, either, and the cooler evenings make things ideal to serve something warm again.
How about certain roasted pork tenderloin with an apricot glaze, a quinoa pilaf, and a pan of roasted beets and butternut squash (the colors will be gorgeous together) from your garden? Throw together a fresh salad of greens, tart, thinly-sliced Jonathan apples from the orchard, craisins, cashews, pear, and Swiss cheese, tossed with light vinaigrette.
To accomplish the sweet glaze on the tenderloin, make some cranberry orange scones, and don’t skimp on the butter, either in the dough or for serving. There is almost nothing as elegant as warm bread, and this is comfort food like nothing else when the nights are getting cooler.
To wrap up it off, take some more of those tart apples you got at the orchard stand and make an apple pie. Or, if you want a delicious alternative that doesn’t take as much work, try this. Rinse and core the apples, stuff them with brown sugar, a tidge of nutmeg and some cinnamon, and bake them ’til they start and soften to wrinkle. Then, serve them by pouring some cool cream on top and a scoop of ice cream on the side or a slice of warm gingerbread.
Snow falling, fires glowing, and candles burning make for some cozy times around the table. Something about the cooler temps makes you want food that’s hearty. How about the classic meal of roast with scratch gravy, served up with a pan of roasted carrots, parsnips, and red potatoes (the end of what you’ve got stored from your garden pickings)?
For something that is rich but doesn’t sit as heavy, take some butternut squash leftover from the garden, bake it, scoop out the soft insides, and make that into a delicious, melt-on-your-tongue soup by adding butter, cream, and spices, too. Whatever entrée you go with, make a loaf of artisan bread, that delicious crusty-on-the-outside, dense-and-soft-on-the-inside combo.
Blackberry bread pudding served with scratch vanilla pudding and cream on top. A classic, rich cheesecake with a pecan and graham cracker crust, with some fresh berry sauce on the side. Or, there’s always a lemon pound cake, served with a lemon glaze and fresh blueberry sauce and whipped cream.
Using fresh ingredients on hand, there’s no reason to be bland with food. There are endless options, and sharing food together is just another way to experience joy.
And, if you’ve run out of your own ideas and want some new culinary inspiration, take into consideration booking a food tour with us! These tours are great for being exposed to new flavors, taste testing, and learning new techniques. So, when you want to add new recipes to your repertoire, call us today!