Fresh & New: July 17-23, 2014

Alex Jones, Farmstand Product Manager
My third-floor apartment feels like a sauna these days. So rather than pitting my window AC unit against my oven, I do as much cooking as I can in one evening and try to keep most of my meals at home heatless (besides microwave, of course -- they do come in handy this time of year).

 

A sweltering evening earlier this week found me cooking some Oak Grove Mills Farro, making caldo verde with Country Time Farms' Mexican-style chorizo and Country Hill Produce's New Yukon Gold Potatoes, and baking up Joy Manning's unbelievably crisp and easy homemade crackers with Daisy Flour - and contemplating firing up the canning pot. (I came to my senses before I could start that batch of pickles.)

 

But when leftovers run out (or I tire of them and throw them in the freezer for later), I find myself assembling meals out of items that are happy raw, cold, or at room temp. Luckily, the season that brings the most heat also brings a bounty of fresh, crunchy, and/or juicy fruits and veggies that need almost no prep to be delicious, substantial, and -- if you're having people over -- impressive.

The go-to weapon in any heat-averse cook's arsenal is caprese salad, that colorful, delicious, and above all simple dish that relies wholly on the strength of its

ingredients. Build yours out of Taproot Farm's heavenly heirloom tomatoes and Green Basil plus a new product: Fulper Family Farmstead's new Fresh Mozzarella in Brine. Pick up a tub from our fridge!

Once you've got your ingredients together, get creative with your presentation. Or, if you're tomato-averse, try this golden beet caprese (and show off those microwave cookery skills by zapping your beets rather than heating up your house). And there are lots of ways to keep salads interesting and (mostly) cooking-free, too: Steam some Sunny Harvest Green Beans in the micro, then toss with red onion, herbs, vinegar, olive oil, and Hidden Hills Dairy's Boltonfeta. Grate up some carrots and toss with a garlicky dressing (this one does require a few minutes on the range). Or make one of my favorites for any time of year, Heidi Swanson's lime-peanut cabbage slaw -- a sublime accompaniment to tacos. And don't forget that one of the easiest and quickest ways to cook ears of corn on the cob is to nuke them.

Few foods require less prep than a cheese plate - pick up a stash of your favorites from our all-local cheese case (the largest of its kind in PA!) and serve them with nuts, No-Spray Blueberries, Low-Spray Red Raspberries, Epic Pickles, and/or one of our delicious varieties of Wildflower Honey.

If you're prepping for meat eaters, look to our meat section for fine grillables like grass-fed Delmonico Steaks and pastured Chicken Legs from Meadow Run Farm, or Griggstown Farm's Chicken Sausages. If you don't have a grill - much less a yard - get that slow-cooked, saucy flavor from Stryker Farm's frozen Pulled Pork in one-pound packs that are ready to go. And don't forget to finish your meal with a pint of something cold from Little Baby's ice cream or one of Weckerly's sorbets.

  

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