Text and photos by Chef Joey
Summertime is for fun, frolics and fresh, local veggies. We always hear of the best farm stand for corn, have our favorite farmers markets, or even our own potted herbs and plants for the extra fresh taste available at our fingertips.
The funny part is those of us who have gardens know that it is an explosion of whatever matures first. At my house, it was lettuce then zucchini, followed by squash and cucumbers. We are now on the tomato boom – cherries being the number one producer.
The beets are maturing nicely, as is the cabbage, and this is the time of year to keep an eye on these slower growing items because friends like squirrels woodchucks and chipmunks that had no interest due to other delicious woodland snacks are all of a sudden thinking: wow!! how did I miss this?! … So that not no secure door has to be corrected and the small gaps fixed to endure the final stages of the growing season …
Of course, with gardens and veggies come traditions, too: stuffed squash comes to mind, sautéed eggplant, basil soup – it’s really a veggie soup with carrots potatoes and green beans with a whole lot of basil – in French it’s called “Soupe au Pistou.”
My grandmother used to make an Italian Frittata that had more than 8 eggs in it! Then it dawned on me she grew up on a farm and they had to use all those chickens’s eggs up!
Another time I had a friend who cut a tiny slice on the end of her roast. I asked her why. She said her grandmother did it, so she did. The grandmother was arriving a little later that day … She said triumphantly, “I remember that day. I was entertaining a larger number of guests, and I did not have a pan big enough to hold the roast. So I had to cut the end off and cook it next to the roast!” That was one tradition that got cancelled fast.
It is not about the preparation. I know some people who only enjoy “julienne” style carrots (cut in even matchstick pieces for uniform cooking). Potatoes cut this way are called fries – who knew?! Bottom line is: Cook things the way you want and eat healthy. My mother always said when we complained hunger pains as kids, would you find that in the forest? So berries, fruits and large doses of water generally cured our hunger pains. I do the same thing with my 5-year-old now – that tradition is a keeper.