All posts in “end of summer”


Grilled Calamari – Orange, Potato and Leek with Romesco Sauce

I have been almost fixated on grilling and smoking in recent weeks. I think it is my way of holding on to summer as the autumn unveils itself. The cooler morning and evening temperatures and the subtle change of leaves beckons me to indulge in the transition.


Grilled oranges are smoky sweet


I developed this recipe after recently having dinner with my husband at the AhhhMazing Rhubarb Restaurant in Asheville, NC. We have eaten there quite a few times and Chef John Fleer is one of my favorites of all time. Really, I mean that. His menus celebrate the seasons, he has a strong affiliation with a beautiful local farm for gorgeous vegetables that he highlights and celebrates. His team works around a wood-fired oven and there is an earthiness in his menu that cannot be ignored. It is perfection.


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An Inspired Salad Red Salad

My trip to the Farmer’s Market this week made me SEE RED!  It really was completely unintentional.  I didn’t walk around and look for RED FOOD.  I didn’t scorn the beautiful yellow plums or the plump purple concord grapes.  I just found myself subliminally attracted to the variety of beautiful vermillion selections that popped out everywhere I looked.


It started when I spotted the lovely red butter lettuce SKYPHOS.  We have grown this lettuce on the farm for many seasons, and it has been a favorite of the chefs consistently.  It has a very mild flavor, but also it has some “tooth”. It holds up to the bite and doesn’t collapse under the dressing.  It is better than ANY RED LEAF LETTUCE you will ever find at the grocery.  I promise.


This head of lettuce invited me to mentally celebrate the salad I was going to make as I made my way from farmer to farmer at the market.  I took note of a small, heirloom watermelon and had to ask – what type of melon is this?  “A pink heirloom variety” was the answer, and as quick as you can say seed spitting contest, it became a part of the salad in my head.


Is this a summer salad or a winter salad?  It’s and END OF SUMMER salad, and so there aren’t any rules that say you cannot mix beets and watermelon.  After all, they are both in season, as crazy as that sounds!


The beets were steamed to soften and then a rough uneven cut made perfect salad toppings of this root specimen seasonal crossover.


Shaved so thinly you can see through the porous cells of the red onion, a very nice flavor boost is provided by this addition to the salad.  The familiarity and subtle bite of sweet red onion is a great compliment to the sweetness of the berries and the earthiness of the steamed red beets.


The “dressing” for my RED SALAD is a simple drizzle of fresh squeezed blood orange juice and walnut oil (or olive oil is great, too). I used some chopped shallot and a bit of dijon mustard to add some complexity to it, and seasoned with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.


Our Scarlet Salad from the Farmer’s Market this week was a real celebration of simplicity and seasonal satisfaction.  It was the perfect compliment to our grilled fresh fish – Wahoo Filets from the fish monger.  A perfect Saturday evening meal.

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Spaghetti Squash Topped with Egg and Roasted Veggies

I have decided to deem a new season… it’s the 5th season actually.  I’m going to call it END-OF-SUMMER! As a farmer, you can’t imagine what it’s like!  You are in the halcyon days of the spring and added to that, it’s fall veggie season, too!  It’s called End of Summer. Put it on your calendar!


These beautiful summer garden specimens, like padron peppers, green zebra tomatoes and other heirloom varieties, became a lovely weeknight supper in a hurry by simply roasting in the hot oven with a little olive oil and salt, then adding to this beautiful fall champion….



Please, someone tell me why, these seemingly WINTER VEGETABLES, like spaghetti squash, for example, worked SO WELL with the true summer heavy hitters like peppers and tomatoes?  It surprises me every time I put them together.  I know, however, that at the END-OF-SUMMER, our tastebuds are ready to teeter totter on the edge of the chasm, knowing that falling either way will be a fabulous fall, and that falling both ways is even better.

so, I am ready for the future, but not quite willing to let go of the past, and therefore have decided to wallow in the present.  I LOVE END-OF-SUMMER!


And so, in a bit of a hurry for a weeknight meal, I decided to throw all my ideas in the oven at once while I threw down a few yoga poses in the living room, adding fresh sage to the mix to push myself a little bit more into the END-OF-SUMMER mode.


After about 45 minutes, the sage leaves became crisp and smoky, the summer vegetables sultry and forbidden, and the roast chicken, well since it’s a farm chicken, it’s texture and flavor were perfectly satisfying with the crispy, sage infused skin.  It is such pleasure to see the parts of this meal come out of their cooking cloak and onto the plate.  Such ease.


Simply cutting in half the roasted spaghetti squash, removing the seeds, and then scraping the stringy flesh out of the skin with a fork, with just two more simple steps you have a complete, albeit simple, dinner .  Number 1 – add the roasted vegetables and sage to the spaghetti squash and 2) stir in a few turns of the cheese grater of parmigianno reggiano cheese!  Season with s & p, of course.


 VOILA!  END-OF-SUMMER supper in no time!  All seasonal, all farm fresh, all delicious.

And…there’s more!


Breakfast the next morning!  Economize, right?

I hope you will try this and any other combination of things on either side of the season that you can think of! Share your ideas with us, too, please!


Check out what I mean about this END-OF-SUMMER bountiful season! Here are a few actual photos from my past week at farm and farm markets! It’s really abundant and really a blessing to have this season – End-of- Summer – to appreciate and enjoy.



End of Summer Zucchini Pickles

End of Summer Zucchini Pickles

End of Summer Zucchini Pickles


End of summer can mean so many different things, right?  It’s the official start of school, it’s kids back to college, it’s a nip in the air that wasn’t there before, it’s the last official picnic… it’s Christmas will be here before you know it. Well, it means a lot when you’re talking about food.  And with that thought pretty much always at the forefront of where my mind goes, I’m thinking I’d better get some pickles made, or this is definitely not going to happen this year!




So, on this glorious end of summer holiday weekend, we enjoyed a nice appropriate outing – first to the farmers market, then to a local art fair, and THEN a walk on the beach at sunset…. ahhhh.  I will remember this day until it’s barefoot season again next year. because even though it is still warm, we start celebrating shorter days now and well, time flies.   BUT, I managed to carve out my day in the kitchen!  And I knew when I went to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, that Zucchini Pickles needed to happen NOW!


End of Summer Zucchini Pickles


Pickles are so easy to make.  I like to make “refrigerator pickles” because I really enjoy the crispness and freshness of the brined coins for as long as they last, foregoing the longer shelf life of the canner processed version I helped my grandmother put up in the summer as a child. I make pickles sans sugar!  I like the kosher dill variety of pickles, which basically refers to the New York style of processing vegetables in a salt brine, with the generous addition of dill and garlic.




The Ball Corporation, who produced the first glass canning jars in 1884,  gave us these “spring green canning jars” this year, and I think they are so beautiful! Antique jars have become quite expensive, but these lovely new ones are abundantly available to us and a lovely addition to the pantry.


Kosher Dill New York Style Pickle brine.


Fresh dill is so nice, and if you toss seeds out into the garden bed every few weeks, you will have these lacy fronds throughout the summer and into the fall. Once they flower, or “go to seed”, the plant will die, so toss out fresh seeds and keep the dill coming in your garden.




I love celebrating the season of bounty at the end of summer by putting pickles by. These pickles should last about 3 months or longer in the refrigerator, hence the name “refrigerator pickles” and the recipe and process is so simple and can be adapted to almost anything in the garden that you want to enjoy just a bit longer.


End of Summer Zucchini Pickles


My annual Labor Day hotdog would not be the same without a pickle on top, and this year it was sooo much better with a fresh from the farmer’s market Zucchini Dill Pickle!



 Happy End of Summer!!

End of Summer Zucchini Pickles
These crunchy Refrigerator Dill Pickles are not sweet, but have the salty, crunch of the season's fresh vegetables draped in dill and garlic! Yumm!
  • 1½ lb Fresh Summer Zucchini Squash
  • ½ small to medium Yellow or Sweet Onion
  • 1 whole Carrot
  • 5 or 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp Yellow Mustard Seed
  • 1 tsp Black or Multi-colored Peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs Fresh Dill
  • 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 cups Filtered Water
  1. Wash, dry and slice the zucchini coins. Place in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit and "weep" some of the moisture out of the squash for about 30 minutes.
  2. Slice the coins of carrot and the onion. Add these vegetables to the zucchini coins and stir to combine.
  3. Gather seasonings together, including salt, black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, garlic cloves and mustard seed. Stir to combine the seasonings, and add to the sterilized pickle jars, dividing evenly between the jars.
  4. Pack the jars on top of the seasonings with the vegetables, adding a sprig of dill in the jar as it is packed from bottom to the top.
  5. In the meantime, heat the apple cider vinegar and water on the stove until it boils. Allow to cool slightly, then pour hot liquid over the packed fruit filled jars.
  6. Using a dinner knife, run the knife blade around the edge of the jar to release air trapped inside the vegetable coins.
  7. Cover the jar with it's canning lid and allow to cool on the counter. When the jar has cooled sufficiently, place in the refrigerator for keeping for 3-4 months.

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