Monday, July 25, 2016

Getting the Most From Summer Produce

Fresh from the market summer produce is best prepared close to purchase.  Extend the life of these tasty bulbs, fruit, steams and leaves by following these tips:

  • Remove greens from bulbs and roots as soon as you get home.  While the leaves of most vegetables make tasty ingredients, they rob the bulbs of moisture if left intact.  Cut the greenery from fennel, beets, carrots and kohlrabi to use as a garnish or cut for soups and salads.  Do not eat the leaves on rhubarb stalks.  
  • Don't wash produce until ready to use.  Wash thoroughly.  Scrub the outside of melons and root vegetables prior to cutting.
  • Discard moldy and shriveled berries and vegetables.
  • Leave the stems on cherries until ready to eat.
  • Cut produce just before using.  Eggplant, apples and pears will brown quickly after cutting.
  • Never soak lettuce.
  • Store mushrooms with cold air circulating around them.  The mushroom farmer at our market puts mushrooms in a brown bag upon purchase.
  • Allow melons to ripen at room temperature.  Once cut, store melons in the refrigerator.
  • Keep ripe and cut vegetables tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.
Plan meals to include the produce you bring home.  Increase the variety and amount of vegetables in recipe.  These nutrient and fiber rich vegetables are often low in calories-fill 1/2 to 3/4 of the plate with the summer finds.

The picnic fare displayed in the photo features a grilled vegetable and steak salad with a mini farmers market melon.  Here is the recipe:

 

Grilled Vegetable Steak Salad

(Serves 2)

Marinate steak in olive oil, garlic and thyme mix for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
2 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 sprigs thyme
6 ounce sirloin tip steak, cut carne asada style (thin)
Grill steak on stove-top iron grill about 4 minutes per side.  Slice with the grain in 4 inch strips, then slice across the grain in 2 inch strips.

Marinade for vegetables
Mix oil, vinegar, garlic and clove. 
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon basil leaves

Grill vegetables, one layer at a time, on stove-top iron grill.  Brush each side of vegetable strips with marinade before grilling.  Grill 5 minutes on each side.
1 red pepper, seeded and cut in strips
Yellow summer squash, cut diagonally 1/2 inch thick, 8 slices
Zucchini squash, cut diagonally 1/2 inch thick, 6 slices
Add corn to grill with last of the vegetables, cooking and turning until lightly browned.
1 ear of corn, cooked and cut off the cob
Refrigerate vegetables with steak strips overnight.

Add the tomatoes the morning of the picnic.
2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (quarter larger tomatoes)
When ready to serve, garnish with cheese and mozzarella cheese.
Fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
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