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You know it's summer because

m
Melanie Wong Aug 25, 2001 08:01 PM

...you can have a decadent breakfast from Downtown Bakery of a scoop each of fresh apricot and wild black berry housemade ice cream in a soda made with orange-scented seltzer. Covered those basic food groups today already. (g)

What other foods mean summer to you?

  1. j
    JenniferFishWilson Aug 25, 2001 08:20 PM

    I had a perfect summer lunch today. A sandwich of Brandywine tomato/English cuke/lettuce/red onion sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper on Grace potato bread eaten outside with a big glass of ice tea with fresh mint and a chocolate lab sleeping at my feet.

    3 Replies
    1. re: JenniferFishWilson
      r
      Rochelle Aug 26, 2001 02:17 PM

      jennifer,

      my very favorite summer sandwich! crank up another and i'll be right over!!

      rochelle

      1. re: Rochelle
        j
        JenniferFishWilson Aug 26, 2001 04:37 PM

        C'mon over, Rochelle! It's 84 and gorgeous here in the East Bay Burbs. I'll even let you eat off one of my vintage California tablecloths.

        1. re: JenniferFishWilson
          r
          Rochelle Aug 26, 2001 05:53 PM

          jennifer,

          that got a little laugh right out loud, thanks, i needed it!

          rochelle

    2. r
      Ruth Lafler Aug 25, 2001 08:30 PM

      Tomatoes! (and I don't even like them)

      Fresh basil.
      Watermelon.
      Cherries.
      Chips with fresh salsa and Margaritas with lime juice

      But mostly it's not any specific food, since we can get almost everything year round these days, but the abundance of fruits and vegetables and the color and smell of sun-ripened, in-season produce.

      19 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler
        j
        JenniferFishWilson Aug 25, 2001 09:41 PM

        You're reading my mind, Ruth. Just finished mixing a margarita (recipe from a Cinco de Mayo Chowhound posting!)

        1. re: JenniferFishWilson
          r
          Ruth Lafler Aug 26, 2001 02:19 AM

          I pulled up that thread and it's very convoluted with lots of suggestions.

          Which Margarita recipe did you use?

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            j
            JenniferFishWilson Aug 26, 2001 04:34 PM

            You're right--people got very passionate about their Margarita recipes. I believe Nils contributed the one I use: he recommended 3 parts tequila to 2 parts Cointreau to 1 part fresh lime juice. Bob Brooks was similar but he prefers 1 part Cointreau.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler
              r
              Rochelle McCune Aug 27, 2001 05:01 PM

              I am a huge fan of Tommy's margaritas and am a member of their Tequila Tasting Club.
              Here is their recipe which I use at home...

              2 ounces of 100% blue agave tequila
              1 1/2 ounces of fresh squeezed lime juice
              3/4 ounces of Triple Sec or Cointreau [fancy french triple sec, basically]
              splash of sweet and sour

              Mix in a container with ice and shake well.

            2. re: JenniferFishWilson
              b
              Burke and Wells Aug 26, 2001 02:34 AM

              Summer delights for us always include a good charbroiled burger. Our best bet in the Peninsula is in Palo Alto on California Street, the original Kirk's Steakburgers. The best burger in the universe? Hardly. But it's yummy and summery.

              I also love strawberries dipped in sour cream then further dipped into loose brown sugar. If you've never tried it before, treat yourself.

              Peter
              wells@emusic.com

              Link: http://www.burkeandwells.com

              1. re: Burke and Wells
                m
                Melanie Wong Aug 26, 2001 03:15 AM

                Yes, strawberries with brown sugar and sour cream is a treat.

                I'm loving summer for the stone fruit. Picked up some beautiful Kelsey plums, the old-fashioned green ones today. An old time favorite.

                Have you ever tried grilling peaches? Fabulous when still warm served with vanilla ice cream.

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  b
                  Burke and Wells Aug 26, 2001 03:28 AM

                  Oh yes--had a grilled peach in Paris, in fact, served with lamb shank.

                  Yes, strawberries are getting harder to find. I'm whipping up a dessert tomorrow, in fact: peaches, plums, blueberries, tossed lightly in sugar and Grand Marnier, left to macerate for a little while, then spooned over very lightly sweetened underwhipped whipped cream.

                  Yummy!

                  Link: http://www.burkeandwells.com

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    b
                    Brandon Nelson Aug 26, 2001 08:48 PM

                    Grilled peaches...

                    I've just recently discovered how versatile these are. They are heaven in a salad with a little blue cheese crumbled on top. my recent favorite has been peaches/ blue cheese/arugula/ balsamic vinegret. O.K. Who made me hungry?!?!?!?

                    Chow!!!

                  2. re: Burke and Wells
                    g
                    garçon Aug 26, 2001 03:30 AM

                    Peter,

                    While we're on the subject of strawberries, do you know a good farm in the Peninsula where one can pick the fruits? Recommendations much appreciated...

                    And which farms produce the tastiest local strawberries? Swanton's got the rep and Alice's endorsement, but the best ones I've ever had in CA where from a farm near Sta Cruz at that city's Wednesday market.

                    Finally, can "fraises des bois" be found in the Bay Area? (I'm of course refering to the small wild strawberries, very popular in France; not sure if they have a specific english name.)

                    Thanks in advance.

                    1. re: garçon
                      m
                      Melanie Wong Aug 26, 2001 03:42 AM

                      There are growers in Sebastopol that plant a cross of the wild strawberry. These are smaller and much more aromatic.

                      1. re: garçon
                        s
                        Syre Aug 26, 2001 08:28 AM

                        My rule with strawberries is: if it's not organic, avoid like the plague.

                        In case anyone is unaware, conventionally grown strawberries contain very high levels of pesticides (see the table I've linked to). To make matters worse, one can't skin strawberries as one can do with many other fruits, and the pesticides are absorbed into the body of the fruit. If I eat conventionally grown strawberries they often irritate my mouth and throat for up to two days!

                        Besides the damage it can cause to the consumer, commercially grown strawberries are a big problem to others -- since so much pesticide is used, the farmworkers who work with strawberries are routinely sick from overexposure (about 300,000 workers per year, according to the Pesticide Action Network. Also in 1998 nearly 70,000 children attended public schools that were 1.5 miles or less from fields treated with at least 10,000 pounds of methyl bromide, according to the Environmental Working Group (see www.panna.org/panna/resources/documents/mbUseInCA.pdf).
                        So anyway, my advice: buy organic strawberries!

                        Now if only we could find frutti di bosco here in the bay area!

                        Link: http://www.ewg.org/pub/home/reports/S...

                        1. re: Syre
                          m
                          Melanie Wong Aug 26, 2001 01:50 PM

                          Please be aware that "organic" does not mean pesticide-free. It just means different kinds of pesticides are used or permitted. Nearly all organic certification programs world-wide permit the use of elemental copper and sulfur as pest controls because these are considered naturally occuring minerals. Unfortunately, these are wide spectrum pesticides, meaning that not only can they kill pests but also beneficial critters and wildlife needed for the health of the soil and the environment. While I continue to be a strong supporter of organic producers, I can't help but question the environmental destruction caussed by heavy copper application for organic pest management which builds up in the soil vs. single application target sprays that hit only the specific pest threat and biodegrade quickly. If our goal is sustainable agriculture with the minimal introduction of pounds of pesticides, then the widespread copper use in organic farming should be re-examined.

                          Methyl bromide is too dangerous to use especially now that urban boundaries encroach on ag areas. It also deplete the ozone layer. Besides strawberries in California, it was also widely used by Florida tomato growers. It's use in farming was principally as a pre-plant soil fumigant, so no need to be concerned that residues remained on the fruit. As of Jan. 2001, the timetable for reducing its use in the US began with complete phase-out by 2005.

                          Strawberries that are enclosed in packaging for shipping long distances may be treated with various anti-oxidants. This isn't related to the method of farming. Again, best to buy local.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                            r
                            Ruth Lafler Aug 27, 2001 08:50 PM

                            The information on the link Syre posted is misleading in that it states that methyl bromide is applied to strawberry fields, but fails to indicate that it is used to fumigate the soil and is not used on the berries themselves.

                            Although there has been lots of speculation, I haven't seen any hard data (and some reputable scientists claim there is none) that has shown any causal link between pesticide residue on produce and significant health problems.

                            In addition, I've seen concern that by shunning conventionally grown vegetables because of pesticide residue scares (remember when they removed apples from school lunches over trivial amounts of alar?), people will not eat enough fruits and vegetables. The well-documented significant health benefits of a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables far outweigh the risks from pesticide residue.

                            I agree with Melanie that the issues of pesticides and organic farming are not as cut and dried as people on either side would have you believe ... there's plenty of propaganda to go around.

                            Still, I support organic farming whenever possible, mostly because I do believe (perhaps naively) that organic farming practices are healthier for farm workers (who are some of the most vulnerable and exploited members of our economy to begin with).

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler
                              s
                              Syre Aug 29, 2001 04:00 AM

                              Well... unless it's all psychosomatic, the irritation in my mouth and throat after eating conventionally grown strawberries seems to speak for itself... to me at least!

                              1. re: Syre
                                m
                                Melanie Wong Aug 29, 2001 04:07 AM

                                Again, berries that have been shipped through the distribution system from a far away patch may have been treated with anti-oxidants that can irritate some people. Organic produce that you buy directly from the farmer will not have been treated this way. This is not necessarily related to pesticide use at all.

                                1. re: Syre
                                  g
                                  garçon Aug 30, 2001 12:52 PM

                                  You might just be a tad allergic to the fruit itself, not the chemical treatment; I get those symptoms from cherries sometime, even those I picked off an unsprayed tree (though this will not stop me from indulging! =).

                          2. re: garçon
                            r
                            Ruth Lafler Aug 26, 2001 12:32 PM

                            Try Phipps ranch in Pescadero (see link below). In addition to the U-Pick berries, they have the most amazing selection of dried legumes you've ever seen.

                            And while you're in Pescadero, you can check out a couple of other chowhound favorites: the bakery at Norm's Archangeli market (artichoke bread and other treats) and Duarte's (pronounce Do-Arts) Tavern for their artichoke and green chile soups (they will give you a bowl of half-and-half if you ask) and their pies.

                            Link: http://www.phippscountry.com/

                            1. re: garçon
                              b
                              Burke and Wells Aug 27, 2001 01:33 PM

                              You've found one of the holes in my Bay Area food education, Garcon. I don't know a single place to pick good strawberries. I'm forced to rely on the markets and the farmer's markets. I could give you a great recommendation in New Jersey, but...

                              Still, it sounds like other folks have come to your call and given us both some good suggestions. Good hunting!

                              Peter
                              wells@emusic.com

                              Link: http://www.burkeandwells.com

                              1. re: garçon
                                s
                                Seth Budick Sep 29, 2001 05:09 PM

                                I saw fraises des bois at Berkeley Bowl a couple of weeks ago, I'm not sure if they still have them.
                                Seth

                        2. n
                          Nikel Aug 26, 2001 04:27 AM

                          ...i'm satisfied w/ bowls of watermelon, peach, and mango chunks for lunch, and for dinner. Also, it's mul naeng myun season.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Nikel
                            m
                            Melanie Wong Aug 26, 2001 06:15 PM

                            Yum, good. Please tell us more about m. n. m.

                            . I had corn on the cob for breakfast today. The variegated yellow and white kind. Figure that some people are satisfied with cold and mushy corn flakes in the morning, I can have hot fresh corn.

                            Used a variant of Cousin Cailin's microwave technique - stripped the silk and husk, wrap in a damp paper towel, and wave for 3-4 minutes (your mileage may vary based on your specific oven power).

                            1. re: Melanie Wong
                              r
                              Ruth Lafler Aug 26, 2001 09:42 PM

                              Microwaves are great for corn, and for most veggies, for that matter.

                              They get a bum rap sometimes, often from people who are using them for larger quantities where their effectiveness is reduced.

                              But since I cook mostly for one, it's great to be able to have corn in 3 or 4 minutes, or a large artichoke in 7 or 8, without even getting out a pot (not to mention not heating up the kitchen and wasting more energy).

                              I love that varigated yellow/white corn -- it seems like the best of both worlds.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong
                                c
                                Caitlin McGrath Aug 28, 2001 08:32 PM

                                It's hot on the fingers, but the silk pulls back quite easily once the corn is cooked. Ever since I discoverd--through word of mouth--corn in the microwave five or six years ago, I haven't done it any other way for eating off the cob. It definitely works best one ear at a time. I do asparagus and brocolli in there, too, if I'm not roasting it.

                                Now I want corn on the cob--but my kitchen, including pots, pans, and mocrowave, not to mention dishes, is packed up for my move across town. I'll have to have someone make me some!

                                Corn definitely means summer--we've had plenty of corn and watermelon dinners over the years--as does loads of fresh basil, tomatoes of course, and stone fruits, and melons that taste as they should...

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                  m
                                  Melanie Wong Aug 28, 2001 09:21 PM

                                  Speaking of summer melons, the Sharlyn I bought at Anstead's turned out to be in a state of perfect ripeness. I brought it to a dinner party Sunday night in Sebastopol. One of those rare nights in cool West Sonoma County where it was actually warm enough to eat outdoors.

                                  This dinner featured a tasting of some of the best Loire white wines made from Chenin Blanc. During the comment phase of the pre-dinner tasting, one of the guests said, "this well-aged Coteaux de Layon-Chaumes expresses a pure aromatic and flavor note of Sharlyn melon". I could hardly keep from popping with pride that I'd brought just the right thing to serve with our cheese course! That was the 1990 Domaine de la Soucherie, btw.

                                  The melon and a mild ripened cheese from the Perrin family were accompanied by 1999 Huet "Clos du Bourg" Vouvray Moelleux and 1995 Dom. Baumard Quarts de Chaume dessert wines. The 1995 was fantastic, one of the best Florent Baumard has made, yet the Huet was a better accompaniment to the fruit.

                                  Dessert was also summery, a beautiful tart of Pink Pearl apples harvested from a friend's yard in Healdsburg. The base of the filling was apple sauce of Pink Pearl with some spices and a bit of apricot preserves, then topped with overlapping slices of apple. Both these notes were amplified by the accompanying dessert wine, 1983 Ch. Doisy-Daene Barsac-Sauternes.

                            2. b
                              Brandon Nelson Aug 26, 2001 11:42 AM

                              ...the most work you have to do for an elegant appetiter is wrap a slice of pancetta around the fresh figs you are about to grill. Sweet, salty, and rich all in the same 2 bites!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                m
                                Melanie Wong Aug 28, 2001 09:32 PM

                                You did inspire me to check my neighbor's fig tree on Sunday. But the second crop of Missions aren't ripe yet. I adore grilled figs wrapped with pancetta!

                                If you want to turn it up a notch in flavor intensity for a room temp appetizer, try adding a dab of Spanish cabrales blue cheese and wrapping with Serrano jamon. That will blow your socks off!

                              2. c
                                Celery Aug 26, 2001 05:22 PM

                                Definately tomatoes - sandwiches with Duke mayo (yes, I mail ordered mayo!) on Acme herb bread, slices with fresh mozzerella (3 or 4 tomatoes for dinner), bread salads with tomatoes, gazpacho, just saw a grilled tomato soup I'm hoping to try, and cherry tomatoes as snacks. We get a basket delivered from Eat Well every other week and in the 4 block walk home I usually eat most of the cherry tomatoes.

                                14 Replies
                                1. re: Celery
                                  m
                                  Melanie Wong Aug 26, 2001 05:27 PM

                                  Oh, Celery, I've always wanted to taste Duke mayo. My friends in the South swear by it but never send any. :(

                                  Could you post the info for East Well?

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                                    c
                                    Celery Aug 26, 2001 05:33 PM

                                    Am getting an Eat Well basket Tuesday - come on over and I'll make you a sandwich with Duke Mayo! :)

                                    Duke's has a nice flavor - not as sweet as Best Foods. You can mail order it from Lee Brothers Boiled Peanuts Catalog - link below. Lee hates mayo and thought I was nuts for mail ordering it (also got creesy greens and hot pepper sauce) - but I'm tempted to do it again when I run out.

                                    Link: http://www.boiledpeanuts.com

                                    1. re: Celery
                                      j
                                      JenniferFishWilson Aug 26, 2001 05:48 PM

                                      (also got creesy greens and hot pepper sauce)

                                      Ok, I'll bite (so to speak)--

                                      What are creesy greens?

                                      And what hot pepper sauce do you buy?

                                      1. re: JenniferFishWilson
                                        c
                                        Celery Aug 26, 2001 05:55 PM

                                        They are a southern green that comes in a can - John T. Edge raved about them in his Southern Belly book so I was curious - they taste like canned greens - not my cup of tea (so now they are in the earthquake supplies (see it is about SF food....)

                                        Can't remember what the pepper sauce was - basically it was that vinegar with hot peppers in it that is a southern staple (esp on greens). I didn't realize the order was for 4 bottles.... maybe I'll bring some as gift to the next Chow dinner?!

                                        1. re: Celery
                                          j
                                          JenniferFishWilson Aug 26, 2001 06:00 PM

                                          Cheryl has mail order canned creesy greens in hers. I thought I was doing a great job of keeping my supplies up to date but when I checked last there were diapers! (My son turns 13 Thursday!) Supposedly I was updating the supplies on the anniversary of the Loma Prieta but obviously I missed a few. My earthquake food is very boring and needs some spicing up (even tho I hope we'll never need it).

                                    2. re: Melanie Wong
                                      c
                                      Celery Aug 26, 2001 05:39 PM

                                      Eat Well Farms is one of many organic farms that have CSAs (community supported agriculture). They deliver once a week (or you can get it every other week as well) to a central drop off point - usually someone's front porch. They also sell at the SF Farmer's Market - they are the lavender people (or sunflowers sometimes).

                                      They deliver a bushel basket of fruits and veggies from their farm (and sometimes other farms near them as well) that they've picked like the day before.

                                      We actually subscribe to 2 CSAs and love the convenience and the food - altho it does cut into my trips to the farmer's markets (it also saves me money cause I can go thru every penny in my pocket at a farmers market!).

                                      Costs around about $19 a basket - I'll link to their website if anyone is interested.

                                      Link: http://www.eatwellfarms.com

                                      1. re: Celery
                                        j
                                        JenniferFishWilson Aug 26, 2001 05:46 PM

                                        Do you have any sayso in what's in the basket or is it whatever is fresh?
                                        Do they deliver to your home?

                                        1. re: JenniferFishWilson
                                          c
                                          Celery Aug 26, 2001 05:51 PM

                                          No say in what's in their baskets - but it's just made me cook stuff I normally wouldn't (or find friends who like the things I don't). They only deliver to drop off points - luckily their Berkeley one isn't too far from me.

                                          The other farm - Farm Fresh to You - offers delivery to your home w/a delivery fee ($5 more than regular delivery) - slightly bigger box - and you can tell them if you don't want something - I keep getting boxes that say "no asian pears - yes tomatoes"

                                      2. re: Melanie Wong
                                        l
                                        Lise Aug 28, 2001 05:26 PM

                                        Melanie, no worries. A good friend from Virginia usually sends me 6 large jars on a regular basis. I usually keep 2 and supply my friends (who swear that it is a huge improvement over Best Foods for salads--I agree!). I'll put aside a jar for you in thanks for all your Chowhound guidance.

                                        1. re: Lise
                                          m
                                          Melanie Wong Sep 3, 2001 01:46 AM

                                          Wow! That's an offer I can't refuse. Thanks so much.

                                          and had another thought about an only in summer food...one of my friends makes a wonderful salad of raw corn kernels, black beans, red onions, red bells, and other goodies. It requires the absolutely sweetest, just picked that morning corn to carry it off.

                                          1. re: Melanie Wong
                                            j
                                            JenniferFishWilson Sep 3, 2001 01:10 PM

                                            I finally found a sweet as sugar melon! I've had terrible luck with melons so far this summer. But the Galia I bought @ Andronico's Saturday was perfection! (I seem to remember that Galia's are usually from Israel--does anyone know?)
                                            I know you aren't going to schlep to Danville but summer Saturdays are the best of both worlds. There's a very good Farmer's Market in the Andronico's parking lot and then you can fill in the blanks in the store.

                                      3. re: Celery
                                        j
                                        JenniferFishWilson Aug 26, 2001 05:30 PM

                                        Tell me about Duke mayo--I've never heard of it.

                                        1. re: Celery
                                          t
                                          The Thacherite Aug 28, 2001 02:30 AM

                                          The Better Boys that my dad grows in the backyard. Cut them up, put on a little salt, pepper, and lemon olive oil. It's one of the best things I've ever tasted.

                                          1. re: Celery
                                            k
                                            Kev Aug 30, 2001 12:47 AM

                                            Yes! Tomatoes!! I'm a LA native and LA Board regular. I was just in the area this weekend, stopped by Berkeley Bowl, and had to bring home a bag of the lovely heirlooms found there. Early Girls, Lemon Box, and others I couldn't remember the names of. I've never found such a variety in the Farmer's Markets back at home (of course, I go to the smaller ones in South Pasadena and Santa Monica).

                                            Today, I made a beautiful tomato salad with one of each tomato, some home grown basil, olive oil from Napa, and some Fleur de Sel given to me from Paris. Yum! Easily $8 a plate from a haute cuisine restaurant.

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