What to Make: In Season

Cooking is one of my great passions, so when the local farmers markets open in late spring, I am over the moon.  Meals are prepared throughout fall and winter from cookbooks and recipes I have collected over the years, but these are happily abandoned during the warmer months when I love to pick up the locally produced vegetables, fruits, and cheeses (and nuts and olives and honey and…) at our neighborhood farmers market and wing it. The ease and informality of these meals fit perfectly into our fluid summer schedules.  There is very little preparation involved – I either tweak a simple recipe to fit what we’ve brought home or I throw together a salad with blue or goat cheese and an herb vinaigrette and simply grill the vegetables we’ve chosen alongside fresh fish or steak.  Dessert is a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream served with whatever fruit or berry is in season.  (Another great ending is my fuss-free “crisp” made by grilling peaches or nectarines and topping them with a drizzle of honey, ice cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and granola from the farmers’ market.)

Epicurious, one of my go-to sites for recipes, has a great peak-season map feature (here) where you click on your state and it tells you what ingredients are in season in your area.  Even better, you can then click on the ingredient and it will give you a list of recipes featuring what you have chosen!  Below I have highlighted a few of my favorite currently-in-season ingredients and included links to simple recipes I love.  Bon appetit!

Roasted asparagus topped with a poached egg and sea salt (via simplybreakfast).

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (via foodnetwork).

Creamy Spring Peas with Pancetta (via foodnetwork).

Mesclun and Cherry Salad with Warm Goat Cheese (via epicurious).

image 1 via Ashlee Rezin for redeyechicago

6 thoughts on “What to Make: In Season

  1. Yes Yes Yes- after “doing vegan” from Sept. 1st 2011 through the end of Dec. 2011 I find myself yet again craving fresh and animal free foods. (January – current have just been way too busy at work for a new to vegan way of cooking to keep it up).
    Anyway, I’m so drawn to this way of eating for some crazy reason! I’m ready to go back. I lost that pesky 10lbs and felt amazing, it’s no wonder my body is nudging me this way again. I feel I’ll give in and see how long I go this time… I love the fresh locally grown markets here!
    ~History of me since here, only Wendy knows me. This is odd for me since I grew up on eating only (killed by my dad) venison and fish and other random wild game my entire life.
    I LOVE food and cooking!

    1. Lisa – I have a very close friend who has been vegan for 5 years now, and she is an amazing cook. I’d love to connect the two of you so she can share some of her wonderful vegan recipes and how she has navigated the vegan lifestyle.

      1. Thanks Wendy, I would be greatful for any advice, tips and recipes! I just ordered Ellen and Portia’s vegan chef’s cookbook- Vegan cooking for the carnivor. For me this is not just to stay at my perfect weight, but I just feel amazing eating this way. It’s even kind of empowering- weird.

  2. As a producer of local produce, let me just say, thanks for the shout out! Alas, my produce is not local to you, but…

    I just wanted to add that I spend so much time working on the produce this time of year that I have little time to actually EAT any of it, unless we have guests over! It’s a sad state of affairs when the farmer comes in at 9pm because it’s finally too dark to see and has a peanut butter sandwich for dinner! Hopefully that changes as things slow down and more variety is ready for the picking.

    1. I wish your produce were locally available! After reading your blog ghostwoodfarm, I am so much more aware of how difficult is is to produce true organic “slow food” and turn a profit. I respect and commend you and those like you who have chosen to grow food the way it should be grown, and I look forward to reading and learning more as you find your way.

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