The last few weeks I’ve been inundated with summer squash. I made the mistake of picking some up at the Greenmarket a few weeks back, knowing I had a CSA share to pick up just a few days later. It just looked so good. I grilled some and figured I’d go though the rest in no time. Apparently not. Thanks to some schedule swapping to accommodate our trip later in the fall, I just picked up 3 straight weeks of CSA shares, all chock full of squash. I love the stuff but this is getting a bit absurd. Over the past few weeks I’ve gotten pretty creative, as you’ll see in some upcoming posts.
I remember as a kid spending a lot of time in Sandwich, Massachusetts, just on the edge of the Cape. We’d camp–and when I say camp, I mean stay log cabins with electricity, sometimes roughing it with the fully functioning shared bathroom a few yards outside the door–swim, hike and play mini golf. But my favorite activity (mini golf was a very close second) was blueberry picking. We’d head up in late summer when the berries were perfectly ripe.
The goal of our blueberry picking adventures was to harvest enough berries for pancakes the next morning and snacking for most of the week. My brother and I (we were probably about 7 and 2 around that time) were fitted with the farm’s ingenious blueberry pickers–a half-gallon milk jug with the top cut off for easy filling capacity and a string attached to the jug’s handle that would go around our neck like a necklace, leaving two hands free for efficient pickling.
For years people have been trying to convince me how easy mussels are to make. Add a bit of wine or broth, bring it to a boil, add the mussels and steam. So why have I not taken them up on such simple advice? Well, one reason is because I don’t like mussels. *Gasp!* No, please don’t run away! I’m still game for trying almost any other food. It’s just shellfish. Mainly things you have to eat out of the shell, like oysters, clams and yes, mussels. It’s a texture thing.
I keep saying I’m going to make mussels for my husband–he loves them, but never really worked off the energy. It’s challenging enough to make one dinner, but two separate ones? Ugh. But when I got assigned Cinnamon Freud’s blog this month through the Secret Recipe Club and saw Karen’s Mussels in White Wine Sauce, I figured I had to just go for it.
Hands down, cherries are my favorite part of summer. I usually can’t bring myself to buy them out of season because they’re just never as good. And the second best thing to fresh cherries in season is preserved cherries for the other 11 months of the year! I had so many plans. Aside from the usual suspects like bourbon cherries, I was set to make maraschino cherries, savory preserves, syrups and more. You can imagine my disappointment when I arrived to the market and learned my plans to bring home buckets of cherries wasn’t happening this year.
Peas can sometimes be forgettable. I never wake up on Saturdays in late June or early July and think “I’m going to buy peas today!” as I plan my weekly trip to the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. Though they’re a welcome a surprise and treat to be greeted by when I arrive.
For most people, including myself, peas come from the freezer. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to find locally frozen peas in the freezer doors of the Park Slope Food Coop during the depths of winter, but either way, they’re frozen. It’s probably one of the very few vegetables, that even in our season-less grocery stories with winter squash and asparagus sitting right next to each other, is rare to find out of season, fresh, sitting on the shelves. For that reason, peas are forgettable. I never plan meals around them as they make their way so infrequently into my diet. But when peas do grace the tables at the New York City Greenmarkets, for those few short weeks, it really is a treat.