In Season: Summer

Happy summer – it’s prime time for BBQ’s, bonfires, grilling, and more! We’ve been excited to share with you our summer produce list.

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Some of the items on the list aren’t surprising – tomatoes and cucumbers are a summer garden staple. Other items are less obvious, like herbs such as basil and cilantro.

In the beginning of summer peaks apricots, arugula, avocados, blackberries, cilantro, dill, mangoes, peas, raspberries, and strawberries.

In mid-summer peaks basil, green beans, blueberries, cherries, eggplant, nectarines, peaches, yellow squash, watermelon, and zucchini.

Towards the end of summer we have bell peppers, bok choy, celery, chard, corn, cucumbers, figs, grapes, guavas, horseradish, melons, onions, plumbs, tomatoes, and tomatillos.

Summer Produce Printable

Summer Produce Image

Print this guide and stick it to your fridge or bring it with you when grocery shopping.

Eating produce in season maximizes flavor as well as nutrition, so what’s stopping you?

-K

P.S. Want to know more about when items are in season, or what to pair them with? Check out this book: The Flavor Bible.

You got me twisted.

Hi everyone.

Sometimes the best advice you can give yourself is, “Not to get yourself into a twist.” That is, if you aren’t making pretzels! We all sat down and had a little chat and the general puzzling thought was, “Why haven’t we talked about pretzels yet?” Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love a warm, soft, fresh out of the oven pretzel. I think we can all agree that having one of those right now sounds wonderful. So let’s talk pretzels.

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Where did they come from and when and maybe even why. Pretzel are a German food. To get that specific tangy pretzel flavor, people would use a lye wash (this can be dangerous though and I don’t recommend it) but more common now is a baking soda wash. Now there are all sorts of unreliable rumors, tales, and legends that talk about where the pretzel comes from.

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This one is my favorites:  Around the year 610 AD this Italian monk was looking for a way to reward children who studied hard and learned their prayers. Fresh off his brain and out of the oven… the pretzel! He calls the strips of baked dough that were folded to resemble arms crossed across the chest, “pretiola’ or little rewards. Is it true? Maybe? Are they delicious? Absolutely. Now stop reading and get baking!

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Soft Pretzel Twists:

 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast

 2 teaspoon white sugar

 1 1/4 cups warm water

 5 cups all-purpose flour

 1/4 cup white sugar

 2 teaspoons salt

 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

 1/4 cup baking soda

 4 cups hot water

 kosher salt, for topping

  1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. Knead the dough until windowpane stage. Oil another bowl and place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375f degrees.
  4. In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in 4 cups hot water; set aside. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda-hot water solution and place pretzels on baking sheets. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
  5. Bake in oven until browned, about 10 minutes.

 

-Timothy

The Flavor Bible

As I started this blog, I vowed to share some of our favorite resources for cooking. I don’t know about you, but whenever someone is professionally trained in something, I always wonder what they’re reading or what resources they use. We added a resources page to our menu where we will keep a running list, however, I wanted to give you a better sneak peak into what the resources actually entail.

My absolute favorite and most used tool is The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. It’s an incredible tool for both beginners and professionals, focused on flavor profiling. People ask me all the time how I learned how to build a plate, what spices to add into what, or how I know what tastes good together. The answer is this book. Well, besides trial and error mixed with curiosity and a ton of failures. Yes, professionals fail, too.

Recently, Karen Page released The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. Contradictory to the title, this book is not just for vegetarians. I was in heaven, yet again, when I received this version, because it has almost any produce option you can think of.

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Okay, so let’s break down how this book works. In the first couple pages, you’ll find an introduction to the book. Within the introduction, it gives you great advice on eating nutritionally, as well as explaining the inspiration behind the book. There’s a section going deep into the history of plants and different aspects of food. Further, a chapter on maximizing flavor and what taste is all about.  Next, the good, juicy part – flavor matchmaking. This section is like eHarmony for food.

In the flavor matchmaking section, you’ll find an alphabetical list of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, etc. In the original Flavor Bible version, the different proteins (meats and fish) are listed too. For this post’s sake, let’s choose beets. I love beets! Under beets in the flavor matchmaking section, it has detailed information, including the season it’s best (year-round, especially in late summer through autumn), a flavor description, the nutritional profile, suggested techniques of cookery, and some botanical relatives.

Flavor Bible - Beets

Now that you’re educated on the food item, Page gives you a detailed list of different foods and spices that complement the item. In BOLD CAPS are items that go really really well together, in bold are items that go really well together, and the rest of the items go well together.

In the case of beets: some items that go really really well with beets include apples, greens, fennel, orange, horseradish, etc; items that go really well with beets include basil, bell peppers, honey, etc.; and items that go well with it include blackberries, cardamom, cauliflower, lemon, etc. Keep in mind there are tons more items listed that work well with beets!

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After that list, there is a list of flavor affinities. Essentially, a laid out road map of what combinations rock together. If the big list didn’t make it easy enough for you, these flavor affinities take the work out of it! For example, one flavor affinity for beets is: BEETS + arugula + feta cheese + balsamic vinegar + walnuts.

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Last, but certainly not least, there’s a “dishes” section, which lists some dishes from different restaurants that include the particular food item. I love this section because it shows you ways professional chefs are utilizing the ingredients around the world!

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Phew… thank you for bearing with me in that long-winded description! I am passionate about this book and the mission behind it, so it wasn’t easy shortening the description to even just that! Feel free to ask me all of the questions you have, but for cooks old and new, this book is a must have.

On a separate note, I’d also like to mention Page’s dedication that reads, “For Andrew, who – even after twenty-nine years – still continues to surprise me.” If that isn’t relationship goals, I don’t know what is.

Happy hump day!

-K


The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs*

The Vegetarian Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity with Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, and More, Based on the Wisdom of Leading American Chefs*

 


*We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.