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September 7, 2010

Top Ten summer foods I'm going to miss

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/dining/reviews/blog/peacheshairston.jpgIt was great having the day off Monday, but did it really have to be Labor Day already?

Did the young woman who minds one of my favorite little farm stands -- a truck, actually, parked outside the Catonsville library -- have to mention, as I picked up peaches and a watermelon Sunday, that it was their last weekend of the season? Where did the summer go?

My kids have been in school for a week now, and they're enjoying it (except for the getting up early part). They're learning, playing soccer, making new friends. And the break from the heat these last few days has been nice. I know it's time to move on to a new season.

But my taste buds still want to hold onto summer.

Which brings me to this week's list:

Top Ten summer foods I'm going to miss 

1.  Peaches

I want my peaches to be the drippy-mess-halfway-down-my-arm variety. Which means I don't want them picked hard as a rock on the other side of the country. I want them local. Which, of course, doesn't guarantee good. For the first time this season, the ones I bought at the truck were dry and mealy.

2. Tomatoes

I've become hooked on grilled cheese made with Atwater's bread, fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes from my garden. When my vines finally quit, I won't even attempt the sandwich with the supermarket variety.

3. Blueberries

I bought a bunch of local berries from a guy in Baltimore County earlier this summer. I put them in freezer bags and thought I had enough for blueberry pancakes all through winter. I would have, if I hadn't started putting the berries in smoothies. We're already out. Now it's back to inspecting the fine print on the frozen berry bags in the supermarket, trying to make sure they don't hail from a country known for lead-laden toys and toxic drywall.

4. Green beans

We had a great supply in our garden most of the summer, but the plants dried during the recent blast of hot weather. It's so much easier to get the kids to eat their veggies if they're fresh.

5. Corn

My own crop had limited success. (OK, one edible ear.) But the stuff from area farmers' markets has been great. One week I under the JFX, a vendor was letting people sample it raw. I'd never eaten uncooked corn before, but it was wonderfully sweet and crisp. I bought so much, I had to stash some (shorn from the cob) in the freezer. I'll appreciate that frozen stash in soup some cold winter day, but I'm sure it won't match the texture and flavor of that raw ear.

6. Ice cream

Of course we can have ice cream in the cooler months, but I feel a little more guilty about it. This summer we made some interesting sorbets -- peach-tarragon was the stand-out -- but my kids' favorite is plain old vanilla. I was going to make an end-of-summer batch yesterday, until I saw the price of vanilla beans at the supermarket. It was $10 for one bean, $14 for two. And my recipe actually calls for two beans. (Anybody out there got the inside track on bargain vanilla beans?)

7. Salad

I find bagged supermarket lettuce tends to be slimy and rotten, so I like to grow greens myself. The cooler fall weather should give me a chance to get a new crop going, but once it really gets cold, it'll be a salad-free existence around here. Last year I noticed Mill Valley General Store in Remington offered a winter CSA with lettuce grown in Eastern shore hot houses. Maybe worth exploring.

8. Apricots

9. Basil

I love having a fresh supply right in the back yard. I'd better get my pesto made to get me through the winter.

10. Chard

Just kidding! Besides, it winters over.

 

Sun photo by Kim Hairston

 

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:25 AM | | Comments (16)
        

Comments

Excellent list, LV. Which Atwater's bread do you favor for your grilled cheese and tomato? I'm hooked on their "struan" bread myself.

But the toxic drywall tastes so much better than the organic drywall!

Dahlink, the Atwater's bread I use has "peasant" in the name, "peasant white" or something like that. I think it's about 50-50 white and whole wheat. At least I'm telling myself that.

For vanilla beans, try eBay:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/492456

Since you're in Catonsville don't forget Opie's snoballs! Love lemon with a splash of cinnamon.

We've just started grilling peaches from the farmer's market over the past few weeks and they're simply amazing. It's like having peach pie without having to make a crust or add in extra sugar. Just grill over low heat until they're soft, flipping halfway through when they start to have grill marks. Wish I'd discovered it before the season was over.

Thanks for the vanilla bean tip, Amy. Another reader sent me the link below. I can't believe how much cheaper the beans are: Ten Madagascar vanilla beans for $12.95?!!

http://www.beanilla.com/vanilla-beans-c-1.html?gclid=CObpqera9aMCFeQD5Qodm16i0w

LV, I just had a cheese and tomato sandwich made with Atwater's flax and sunflower seed bread--yum! The note at the bakery says this is Ned's favorite bread.

Gonna miss those KILLER TOMATOES, all types, sizes and colors. Try removing the pulp and seeds from a large tomato then stuffing it w/Atwater's bread, garlic, olive oil, s&p a nice cheese and bake slowly, yum. One of our chef's call it an inside out pizza.

Laura, I love to use good frozen corn in corn fritters, which are basic pancakes with corn folded in before they're cooked on a hot griddle. Yum!

My wife was grilling peaches this summer and it is our favorite summer dessert. There is an orchard in Colora that has the best peaches in the whole wide world (bold statement, but true) and they are for sale at the Kleins in Harford County. Don't take my word for it, try a grilled peach with ice cream.

I was grilling Peaches, a two-bit stripper from the Valley, when the call came in. Another body in the desert. It was cholera, not Cholera the pimp I busted in the Zone with a snoot full of 'tude and a snake full of smack. No, this was the kind you get from tainted Ecuadoran strawberries and not the kind of taint, oh never mind.

Love your list! Check out MySpiceSage.com for 8 Madagascar Vanilla Beans for only $8.50!
http://www.myspicesage.com/madagascar-vanilla-beans-p-169.html?cPath=1_56&zenid=43c28952f14ba14b73a0b941101c6a23

Peaches would definitely be at the top of my list (I'm crazy about peaches!), except for once I managed to freeze a lot of them for winter pies and made a few batches of jam I plan to enjoy through the winter. Kinda makes you look forward to winter, doesn't it?

Peaches would definitely be at the top of my list (I'm crazy about peaches!), except for once I managed to freeze a lot of them for winter pies and made a few batches of jam I plan to enjoy through the winter. Kinda makes you look forward to winter, doesn't it?

Summer is so short! I must make the french toast stuffed with peaches.

Pretty much right on list for the summer. I must add to the list summer squash and peppers though. The stuff from South of the Equator doesn't cut it for me in the winter.


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About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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