01 Jul Seasonal Meals You’ll Love
Food is more than just calories; it’s a manner of bringing people together, and it’s an unlimited avenue of creativity: merging flavors, testing new combinations, utilizing fresh, seasonal ingredients to enjoy food throughout the year. If you’re a foodie and you garden on the side, it’s interesting to pull stuff from the dirt, head into your house, wash it off, and set to slicing and mixing things up. If checking this out makes you hunker down and howl cuz it sounds with a hobby you’re eager about, let’s just explain seasonal meals for a minute. For most of the year, you can harvest something you’ve been growing and use it in what you eat. Winter might be the exception here, unless you’re a greenhouse guru or make preventive tunnels and constantly harvest long after most of us are finished. Without further ado, let’s discuss options for dinner parties in spring, winter, summer, or fall.
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 require 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 et cetera that’s left is a bare carpet covered with a few naked vines. And the food? Ahh, now. The food is where it’s at. It’s not freezing out, however, but it isn’t summer from now on, either, and the cooler evenings make it appropriate 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 lavish as warm bread, and this is comfort food like nothing else when the nights are getting cooler.
To finish it off, take some more of those tart apples you got at the orchard stand and make an apple pie. Serve them by pouring some cool cream on top and a scoop of ice cream on the side or a slice of warm gingerbread.
As far as what to serve with it, head out to the garden and harvest fresh lettuce, spinach, and peas from the dirt, and if you grew strawberries, pluck 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 together with just-slightly-tangy citrus vinaigrette. Make a gorgeous rhubarb custard pie with a lattice top from your hearty rhubarb plant.
Nothing says summertime quite like the smell of something cooking on the grill. And, with all the crops that start in the warmer months, there are a lot of choices of what you can make to go along with BBQ chicken or a juicy burger or steak. Use your homegrown cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers to add some yummy flavor and crunch to a crisp green salad. Throw the peppers and tomatoes and onions together for fresh salsa with tortilla chips (they make a good relish 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.
There’s nothing quite like a simple, straight up, unadulterated vanilla bean ice cream, and it’s easy to make, too. 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, talking while enjoying something sweet and watching the stars come out, you’ll likely experience one of those life-is-so-so-good moments, the kind you just want to hold in your pocket because its warmth makes you happy.
When winter arrives round again, there’s nothing like warm, heavier comfort food to opt for cold, wintry nights. Snow falling, fires glowing, and candles burning create some cozy times around the table. Something about the colder temps makes you want food that’s hearty. So … there are great deals of options here. 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)? If that’s not hitting the spot, how about lasagna? Start your sauce early in the morning, browning onions, ground beef and sausage together. Add in your tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic, and a little red wine, letting the mixture to meld and reduce for several hours, adding water as necessary. Later in the afternoon, spread that sauce with cheeses in between layers of pasta and bake it ’til it’s hot and bubbly.
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 fresh culinary inspiration, consider booking a food tour with us! These tours are fantastic 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!