Its taken months, but finally it feels like summer is here. After a couple of months of rain, and then some pleasant sunny days, it has gotten hot enough for people to start complaining about the weather again. I love having some real summer weather, perfect for swimming as much as possible and sitting up on the roof deck enjoying the cool breezes. This is also the best time of year for fresh delicious food.
I went to the farmer's market today with a strict budget and simple list of things I wanted to find. I love walking through the market to see everything that is there before I decide which vegetables and fruits will come home with me. Once I saw everything there was to choose from, I began selecting ears of corn, potatoes and cucumbers. When I started looking at tomatoes and fruit I realized that my budget wouldn't allow for all the irresistible bounty at the market to make it to my kitchen. Its not unusual that I find myself in this situation, like a woman with a credit card and a thing for fancy shoes, I just can't live without the blueberries and the peaches and one quart just won't be enough. I slip some of the tomatoes I bought into my handbag so they won't get squished and think, don't tell my husband I bought all of this.
Of course he won't mind when it becomes dinner, and really, I know that my dollars are going to a good place and I get to come home with some of the jewels of the season. All of the fresh, glowing produce is completely inspiring. It hardly needs to be cooked or transformed in any way, but its hard not to think about combinations and additions that would be a delicious meal.
Along with perusing the farmer's market, I have been perusing the gorgeous pictures and recipes in Deborah Madison's Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmer's Markets. It is full of great ideas for using seasonal produce from all parts of the country. Its the kind of cookbook that I drool over in summer and winter alike, but this time of year I can find a lot more of the ingredients that I want to use. I've been buying a lot of corn on the cob with the intention of freezing some, but before it gets to the freezer it is all gone. I've been making some succulent salads which I will share but first a simple recipe for great corn fritters.
Corn Fritters, adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison.
These are crunchy on the outside and make for a light, delicate bite full of sweet juicy corn. As always, when featuring fresh vegetables and fruit, the end result will only be as good as the ingredients you use. Make sure the corn is fresh and not starchy. I served these as part of a meal with other salads, she recommends serving the fritters topped with arugula leaves.
6 ears sweet corn (about 3 cups kernels)
2 eggs, beaten
4 scallions, finely sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons shredded basil
1 cup grated cheddar
1/3 cup whole wheat (or whole spelt) flour
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
butter or oil for frying
Slice off the tops of the corn kernels then use the back of the knife to press out the milk. Mix the kernels and scrapings with the eggs, scallions, herbs, cheese, and flour. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat butter or oil to generously cover the bottom of a skillet. Divide the batter into sixths and drop into the skillet. Fry over medium heat until golden, then flip and fry the second side. Serve right away.