Use fruit in your cooking

In these early weeks of summer, I find that the local produce is sometimes hard to handle – lots of rich deep greens, and only a tease of all the wonderful fruit yet to come. It leaves me itching for the veggies of late July – tomatoes, onions, peppers, carrots and corn! Please hurry up!

I do my best to cook what’s in season, which sometimes means a bit of improvisation. Strawberries in your salad? Sure. Cherries in your salsa? Why yes.

Here are a few posts from the (way-back) archives that use fruit in untraditional ways.

Cherry salsa

fruit salsa


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Waste not, want not

Yep, those are broccoli stalks sautéed in with my summer squash.

Sometimes it takes a little creativity, but it’s pretty satisfying to use up every last piece of your fresh ingredients rather than toss them in the trash. Not only does it save you money but also helps you put off a trip to the grocery store by another day or two!

Some other “creative” ingredients that I repurposed this week:
- Soft strawberries: blended them into smoothies
- Stale bread: roasted to make croutons
- Beet greens: diced them up to make the based of a salad
- Wilted arugula: Sautéed it in olive oil and created a warm side dish for pasta

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Fresh herbs make all the difference

Tonight I made a quick “kitchen sink” “salad-less” salad. Which means I tossed in lots of ingredients and left out the main thing that makes a salad a salad – lettuce or greens of any kind.

It consisted of breaded chicken, golden beets, red and yellow bell peppers, and cubed feta cheese. Yup, I basically cleaned out all the remnants of leftover meals from my fridge. Then to spruce it up a bit, I grabbed some fresh basil and flat Italian parsley from my herb garden (oh, and I drizzled on a quick balsamic glaze).

The herbs really pulled the whole meal together, adding an amazing fresh flavor.

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Cooking for the season (CSA bounty)

For the summer months, I am a member of my local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) which means I get a weekly box of local, mostly-organic farm-fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, bread and cheese.


While I love getting all of this wonderful produce, it can prove to be a challenge fitting these fresh ingredients into my meal plan. Especially since most of what I get in my “share” are ingredients I would usually not choose at the grocery store (like turnips, garlic scapes, and so much cabbage!!!)

So, I pickup my share on Thursdays, make a plan on Friday, pickup any remaining items I need on Saturday at the Farmer’s Market or the grocery store, then start cooking! So, a Thursday CSA share usually lasts me through the following Friday/Saturday.

The trickiest part of the whole thing is “making a plan” – it includes checking my pantry, searching for recipes, and making creative substitution so I can use all of the fresh ingredients.

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