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Seasonally Speaking

Just Add Local Fruits and Veggies

Peach & blackberry salsa 

Whisk in a large bowl: 1 Tbsp each of lime zest, honey, extra virgin olive oil, plus 6 Tbsp fresh lime juice, and a dash of pepper. Add 1 pint fresh blackberries, washed and hulled, 2 cups diced peaches, 1 cup diced red onions, 1 large fresh jalapeño, seeded and cut into tiny pieces, and ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves. Toss well and taste for seasoning. Serve with grilled fish or chicken.

Quinoa salad with blueberries, feta, and toasted Pecans 

Whisk 1½ Tbsp red wine vinegar, 3 Tbsp olive oil, and 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Combine 1 cup cooked quinoa (look for this protein-rich pseudo-cereal seed in the gluten-free section), ½ cup crumbled feta cheese, and ½ pint blueberries in large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat. Sprinkle with ¼ cup toasted and chopped pecans and serve. Serves 4.

Simple summer grilled Zucchini salad 

In a large bowl combine 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tbsp each of chopped fresh thyme leaves and oregano leaves, ¼ tsp crushed red chili flakes, and salt and pepper. Whisk well. Slice 1 pound of zucchini or summer squash (or combination) lengthwise into 1/8-inch strips and add to bowl. Set aside for about an hour while preheating the grill. Grill zucchini until tender. Place in a bowl, toss with lemon zest, a can of garbanzo beans (drained) and 1½ Tbsp of your favorite pesto. Season to taste. Can also add chopped tomatoes, mozzarella chunks, or chopped prosciutto or bacon. Set aside at least an hour. Serves 4.

Grilled Peaches stuffed with ricotta Cheese 

Halve 3 peaches and remove the pit. Sprinkle cut side lightly with brown sugar. Place peaches flesh side down on the grill just long enough to get the grill marks. Remove from grill and set aside, flesh side down. In a bowl combine 1 cup ricotta cheese, any juice from the grilled peaches, 1 tsp vanilla extract. Fill each peach cavity with the ricotta mixture and garnish with mint. Serves six.

Grilled Zucchini & lamb Kebabs 

Mince 1 large garlic clove very fine. Whisk garlic, pinch of salt, ¼ cup lemon juice and pinch of pepper in a bowl. Add 1 cup olive oil, ¼ cup fresh chopped thyme leaves, and 1½ Tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves. In a large sealable bag combine 2 lbs trimmed boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes with ¾ cup of the marinade. Toss lamb in bag, lay flat, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. Reserve remaining marinade. Cut 3 medium zucchini in half lengthwise and then diagonally. Marinate zucchini with leftover marinade and leave at room temperature for up to an hour. Soak sixteen 12-inch wooden skewers in water for an hour. Preheat grill. Drain lamb from marinade (discard) and thread the cubes onto 8 skewers. Thread zucchini onto 4 skewers (without lamb) and save marinade. Thread 24 cherry tomatoes onto remaining 4 skewers. Lightly oil grill rack and grill kebabs (cover only if using gas grill), turning occasionally until tomatoes are softened but not falling apart, 2 to 3 minutes; zucchini is tender in 4 to 6 minutes; and lamb is medium-rare in about 6 minutes. Serve kebabs drizzled with reserved marinade from zucchini.

Christine Wansleben, chef and owner of Mise En Place Cooking School, lives in the West End, where she cooks up a storm with her husband and their twins.
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