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I've been spending a lot of time visiting farms this summer, and one crop that grows here in Maryland sort of surprised me - garlic. But then again, why not? It does really well here, and there is something appealingly quaint about seeing huge garlands of garlic bulbs hanging from the barn rafters, slowly drying out.
Grilling aficionados know very well that pork is one of the best meats to work with during the summer. Although its relatively mild flavor stands up to the grill, it blends extremely well with any number of rubs, sauces or marinades. This much we all know. What we may not realize is that there has been a quiet revolution in the pork industry with the appearance and acceptance of a number of so-called "heritage" breeds of piggies. We think it's only a matter of time before we start seeing breed information on the packaging of pork products.
The heat of summer requires relief, and few dishes are as welcome as a cold bowl of sorbet or sherbet. Sorbet, the source of all frozen desserts, is extremely old, dating back to Roman times. Similar dishes of fruity, sweet frozen water appeared in the Orient, and the name sorbet is probably Turkish in origin.
They say that in France there are over 400 varieties of pears, and I'm inclined to believe them. The pear is one of my most favorite fruits. It's demure and well-mannered; a fruit that values subtlety above flamboyance. The flavors vary from variety to variety, as do the color, shape and aroma. But they all have in common a sweetly, agreeable taste that is an easy partner with so many other foods.
Here is a great recipe we have borrowed from the web. It was created by Chef Micah Willix of Atlanta's Ecco Restaurant.
One of the features of summer in Maryland is the sheer abundance coming from our fields, gardens and orchards. A very common sight these days is to check out someone's herb garden, and discover basil plants going hog wild. So Chef JP of Corks, the classic question is: what can we do with all that basil?
The summertime avalanche of fresh food is hitting us right in the chops these days, and one of the most awaited items are at their peak. I'm talking about fresh, sweet Maryland peaches, and any trip to the market will reveal abundance and variety. Look for peaches with a well defined cleft, good color and aroma.
One idea of Jerry's is to cut a peach in half, de-stone it, and then wrap it in prosciutto, then grill it. Here is a delicious breakfast recipe.
Earlier this summer Al and his girlfriend spent several days in the seaside village of Camden, Maine, where they stayed at the Hartstone Inn. As luck would have it, not only was this a superb inn, but one of the owners is a superb chef. Al invited Chef Michael Salmon to be a guest on "Radio Kitchen," and give us the Down East take on summer eating in Maryland.
An avalanche of fresh produce is hitting us squarely these days, and shopping at the grocery store or the farmers markets is pure hedonistic pleasure. High up on everybody's list of welcome seasonal foods is sweet corn, that delicious emblem of all that's right with summertime. We are blessed to have an over-abundance of locally grown corn here in Maryland, and Chef JP of Cork Restaurant has proven there's more than one way to shuck an ear of Silver King.
Original Recipes by Chef Jerry Pelligrino
Corks’ Corn Salsa
Last week we talked about chilling things down a bit with cold soups. This week, we'll keep the thermostat on low and discuss something even more lively. If you'll be doing any entertaining this summer, you should be prepared to get something cold and tasty into your guests, and that ought to include some hot weather cocktails. Here are some great ideas Jerry came up with.
Strawberry Rhubarb Manhattan
4 oz. Bourbon
4 Strawberries, hulls removed and cut into quarters
½ oz. Rhubarb Simple Syrup Simple
A squeeze of lime juice
Given the abundance of food that is available to us during the summer, it makes a lot of sense to see how much diversity we can work into our menus. One item that can easily disappear from the summer table is soup. Customarily, we have our soups piping hot, better to ward off the chill of winter. But we can very easily put that chill into the soup and come up with recipes that refresh us during the hot months.