Posted by: DD | August 11, 2007

no. 495 – The Best of Summer

Don’t you just love Summer? It always brings back memories of days at the swimming pool, horseback riding and thistle hoeing.

We don’t get to the pool now as much as X or I would like. We don’t have a horse, so I have to rely on memory. Fortunately for me and these 10 acres of prairie, I am never at a loss for a thistle, a sandbur or a yellow sticker plant* to chop away.

I also really enjoy the abundance of fresh vegetables we pick up at the stands, which are usually nothing more than the beds of pick-up trucks covered with tarps.

Cucumbers only the size of my finger, with their prickles still intact.

Fat, red tomatoes that are as big as softballs and so ripe that if they fell out of my hands, they would split on the ground.

Sweet corn that is just a tad under prime because the kernels are smaller, softer but still as sweet.

Potatoes so fresh that the dirt still has not been washed from the eyes.

Asparagus, thin and firm and chilled so that their heads have no sign of droop.

Now as healthy as these all sound, farm fresh and all, Mr. DD and I bastardize them all with enough unhealthy condiments we probably render them neutral in nutritional value.

Here’s what happens to all those yummy veggies in preparation for the table:

I peel and slice the cucumbers into a shallow bowl, add lots of vinegar, red onion slices, pepper, salt and a little water. I can easily put away 4 whole cucumbers at one sitting this way. Easily.

I slice the tomatoes as well. Sometimes I enjoy them with some crispy bacon on a fat BLT. Other times I just take a couple of slices on a plate, coat them in sugar and eat them like that.

Is there any other way to enjoy corn besides slathered in butter, salt and pepper…and butter?

Hmmm. I just realized that butter seems to be the key to how we enjoy our potatoes and asparagus as well. By the way, I mean real butter. There’s no such thing as "spread" in our home. I’ve tried to convert Mr. DD but he succeeded in getting me to come over to the fat side when it comes to real butter.

What are your fave veggies or summer fare?

* Sorry about the image there. I have no idea what the scientific name is for the nuisance weed I am looking for and all my google searches turned up crap like that and a lot of this. Fortunately, our crop of that kind is drastically reduced from last year due to several herbicide attacks.



  1. oh you are making me hungry with all those fresh veggie you describe. What do you do with the asparagus? my fav is sautee them in red wine vinegar with little onion bits with pinches of salt and pepper. Yum.

  2. I just choked on my own drool. That’s what I miss about living back east – you could drive down any highway in Jersey and pick up the most scrumptious home-grown produce anywhere. Here in Cali, what passes for vegetables at the grocery store is a disgrace.

  3. Tubeless, your recipe sounds much better than mine: we steam the asparagus for 8 min and then throw a stick of butter (more or less) on them.

  4. Have you ever tried grilling the asparagus? It is really good. Sometimes I top it with blue cheese..

    Corn with a crumbly hard cheese (queso fresco works really well) spread on it like butter until it gives way and melts under the heat if the cob is divine also…. Although the roasted corn on the cob at the state fair has me pooping kernels for weeks because I cannot get enough.

    I make your same cucumber recipe, but before eating I drain off most of the vinegar and add cream or half and half…yes I have hips…

    Tomatoes and bacon are the best match, but I have a liking for caprese salad with alternating slices of tomatoes and mozzarela splashed with balsamic vinegar and chopped basil…

    Since we joined a CSA this year and get a weekly supply of fresh organic veggies directly from the farm (ours is Harmony Valley Farm in WI), I have developed a love for beets. Roasted, boiled, grilled – they are awesome.

    You cannot forget the melons that are coming into season now also or the fresh potatoes tossed with cream and parsley or browned butter.


  5. I’m all about corn on the cob with lots of butter and salt and pepper. Yum!

    I don’t like to eat tomatoes plain – they look good but I’m not a fan of the flavor or texture. So I have been making loads of fresh salsa and putting it on everything.

  6. All of that sounds yum except the yucky tomatoes – ew! I’ll just take the bacon, thanks.

    I am a fan of fresh corn.

    I really love the fresh fruits. Juicy strawberries, sweet peaches…making fruit salad! Not big on the melons – but most other fruit – YUM!

  7. I love tomatoes and can eat many of them in one sitting. I eat them with balsamic, a little olive oil and soem parmsean cheese. Yum.
    I love all my little farms by my home. Today we went and picked corn and peaches, cobbler is for dessert!

  8. We eat cucumbers in that very same way, although MFH introduced it to me. My mother would put them in vinegar and half and half. My only problem with all the veggies is that they come fast and furious, and then they’re gone.

  9. Your veggies are my veggies!!! I love them all. I like to add vidalia onion to my cucumbers and tomatoes. NOTHING BETTER! Tomato sandwiches are wonderful, adding bacon is even better!

    I also LOVE squash with sweet onion, olive oil and garlic. I boil the squash, then add it to onion, olive oil and salt in a pan and cook them until they are mush. SO GOOD! I can eat it all. Adding butter and cheese only make it better.

    Now I am SO HUNGRY!

  10. I have a balsamic vinegar glaze recipe for asparagus that I got from Cooking Light magazine that I LOVE. I also love to take some squash and zucchini, toss them into a pan with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and saute away. I also love tomatoes sliced with salt and pepper on them. I can eat whole peppers plain, especially if I’ve cut and stored them in ice-cold water in the fridge for an hour first.

    I’m still waiting for my first cucumbers from my little plants (late start, but they’ve got another 6-8 weeks of growing season down here) but I can’t wait for them. I’ll use them in cucumber-dill sauce for salmon and in gazpacho and all sorts of other dishes.

    And no, there’s no other way to eat sweet summer corn. None.


  11. I’ve been eating bunches of elongated French radishes, all creamy pink, shading into white. I eat them plain, though I try to at least wipe the dirt off and pinch off the leaves. They’re nothing like any radishes I’ve ever had at home.

  12. I am soooo with you on the cucumbers in vinegar. I can’t get enough. Cukes with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper are lovely, too. lately I’ve been adding avocado and sour cream to get a higher fat content. I actually prefer them without the sour cream, but you do what ya gotta!

  13. I love homegrown tomatoes, squash, zucchini (sp?), and onions on a quesadilla. First cut up and steam the veggies (except the tomatoes, just cut them up), pile them on a tortilla and cover with a bit of feta and mozarrella cheese. Cover with another tortilla and bake for about 10 minutes. Yum.

    I just got done eating freshly sliced tomatoes with a bit of balsamic vinegar pu under the broiler with a piece of salmon.

  14. Yummmmmmmmm, I so miss the produce in Nebraska. It’s very hard (and we must travel far) to get decent produce here.

    We eat cucumbers the same way, so don’t feel so bad. I like tomatoes with just salt & pepper, or I can eat them like an apple without even slicing them. I could live on tomatoes. Oh & sweet corn. Mmmmmmmmmm. I’m on a damn diet or they’d be slathered in butter, salt & pepper. I like zuchini just sliced (not cooked).

    Ok, now I’m hungry….

  15. That cucumber/onion/vinegar salad must be a staple around here, because my mom had a tupperware container of that in the fridge all summer every summer when I grew up. When it started to get low she’d throw in more – and it just pickled away all summer.

    Like Erin said – I roast my asparagus with balsamic and a bit of olive oil – LOVE that.

    We grew our own tomatos this summer – not sure why, but those taste even better than the farm ones. Next year I’d like to get ahold of some heirloom tomato plants though.

    My husband usually thinks we need meat with dinner, but there was many a summer night in the past when my daughter and I had nothing but corn on the cob, tomatos, and maybe some melon for dinner, and were perfectly happy with that.

  16. Half the fun of reading others, blogs is to get that “regional flavor” (thistle hoeing?). I loved this post because I also like to buy produce off of the back of pickups. As for my favorite summer food, definitely WATERMELON. In Texas during the summer it’s very common to see trucks on the side of the road selling watermelons. I never buy one without asking where in Texas it was grown. You look at the stem for a hint of green. Not too much because it will taste too.. what I call “riney” (like the rind). I can go seedless or with seeds. We usually cut the watermelon into eight pieces and eat it off the rind with a little salt. It’s pure summer.

  17. MMMMMMM Fresh corn. Nothing says “summer” to me more than a nice, sweet, crispy, ear of corn slathered in butter.
    I will NEVAH give up my beloved butter.

    As for tomatoes, sliced with a sprinkle of salt. As kids, we used to eat tomatoe sandwiches. Sliced tomatoes, white bread with mayo, salt & pepper. Cucumber the same way. We used to have cherry tomatoe plants & those we would pick a pint or two, then sit on the front porch listening to a Phillies game & eat them like candy.

    Me & the kids love our veggies. Joe, not so much. He says that if it’s green, that means its gone bad.

  18. Like Catz, I eat tomato sandwiches. I just ate one today for dinner!! I grill my corn on the cob and will only buy it from ONE corn stand around here because no one else’s are as good! I make the cuke salad too. My mom sent home kholrabi, cukes, tomatoes and peppers today with me from WI. I’ll eat it all this week….YUMMMMMM

  19. I am a big corn on the cob fan as well. You are totally right in thinking that corn without butter just isn`t corn. I am loving being back in the UK and having real butter as Japanese butter just tastes different/ weird!! My favourite summer food is strawberries and cream.

  20. We grill our corn on the cob, too. We got some local bicolor corn that was SO sweet that it tasted like candy. For cucumbers, I like cucumber sunomo,

    I’m planning a BBQ for my daughter’s birthday this weekend and I can’t wait. Lots of local, fresh veggies. Yum!

  21. I love corn on the cob and “real” tomatoes. Winter tomatoes are so depressing that when you get your first real summer tomatoe you just can’t believe you ate those pretend tomatoes all winter long.

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