Summer cooking in Ohio's Amish Country
by Lee Ann Miller
Taste buds are seasonal. Nothing says, SUMMER! like fresh, red strawberries, green garden lettuce and crimson red watermelon. Summer is complete when we find ourselves standing in the yard spitting watermelon seeds and discovering who can reach that record distance.
Summer is a season that makes the taste buds dance with fresh, vibrant flavors. When it comes to the foods and recipes of summer, I tend to lean toward the tossed side of things. I toss salads, I toss fruit, and I toss stir-fry, adding either pasta or rice to those plump, ripe vegetables. Whatever is in season and fresh, you’ll find me in the kitchen tossing during those sultry summer months. It’s the perfect time of year to use what is fresh and ready right in your neighborhood.
Something I discovered some time ago is broiling fresh vegetables. I simply wash and cut up whatever is in season, including broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash and all kinds of peppers. I allow them to air dry and lightly coat them with olive oil. I season them with garlic salt, Lawry’s seasoning or just plain kosher salt. I also love to grind some fresh pepper across their delicious cut-up pieces. I pop a heavy gauge cookie sheet in the oven (on the top rack) and broil the veggies until they are a dark caramel color- sometimes the broccoli even appears burnt! But don’t let that fool you; it is rich, full-flavored and unbelievably tasty.
Some of our favorite dessert recipes in the summer are cobblers and layered puddings. Blueberry Betty is a quick, delicious treat and at our B&B, The Miller Haus, we top this recipe with a spoonful of real whipped cream. It’s a perfect starter for a breakfast meal. Or it’s lovely for a finish to a nice supper. I love the cobbler recipes this time of year because as the weeks fly by, the fruit varieties change. We often know how close summer is to ending by the fruits and veggies that are in season. By the time the apples are ripe and the orchards are buzzing with business, school has started and summer has waved its final goodbye. Oh the puddings! For layered puddings, I love to use a plain Angel Food cake- terrific for layering and keeping it light. Puddings are simple and impressive for summer get-togethers. Quick tip- try to find a sturdy, deep dish, glass pedestal to layer your puddings in, they look beautiful that way. There are a few really wonderful recipes for fruit dessert and pudding dishes on the recipe page. Find it at Recipes.ohiosamishcountry.com. The Heavenly Strawberry Torte is to die for, not to mention the Double Dutch Chocolate Layer dessert!
Simply put, summer is a fun time to cook and eat. Corn on the cob dripping with real butter, grilled homemade burgers, crispy fresh salads and summer is here. Summer is a taste bud carnival for sure!