You say tomato…
Every year my now 88 year old grandfather grows tons of his favorite vegetables (and fruits) in his garden in Philadelphia. You can always find a tomato, tons of lima beans, string beans, cabbage or collards. He was raised on a farm in North Carolina during the 1930s & 1940s a time when many families had to grow their own food to survive.
Today the farm to table movement is booming with a whole new generation leading the charge.
Tomatoes have long been considered as a beginner gardeners friend, especially grape and cherry tomatoes. In fact, when I was in the 3rd grade one of our projects was to grow cherry tomatoes (luckily, my grandfather was able to revive my almost dead plant before it was due). And even though my gardening skills leave much to be desired, there are numerous farmers around the country with tons of tomatoes this time of year.
And such a versatile fruit that is treated like a vegetable deserves a box.
Eating them raw in salads and gazpacho or roasted in a hot soup or tomato sauce, tomatoes are great for large dishes that you can freeze or can.
All the recipes this month may call for a specific type of tomatoes but feel free to swap out your favorites or what is abundant at the markets. Maybe even branch out and try the many heirloom varieties easily found these days.
It’s HOT out there!
The month of July is a great one in America. There’s an abundance of red, white, and blue spirit, baseball, and laid back Saturdays at the park along with grilling burgers and hot dogs with your family.
While growing up in Philly, we had a lot of block parties. Kids would play in the fire hydrants (local Fire Department approved) and Independence Day would mean sparklers, late nights, and fireworks.
July was amazing!
And in my family, July was filled with TONS of seafood, so much that I started a fish market about a decade ago. It’s the perfect summer meal option. It’s healthy and you can cook a lot at one time, invite family and friends over, turn the radio up loud, and a party will ensue.
And there are so many wonderful family owned small businesses making great seafood seasonings. One of our favorites is JO Spice. If you’ve ever had steamed blue crabs at a restaurant in the Maryland area more than likely they use JO Spice.
Great shellfish is messy and social. So this month, we’re encouraging you to lay out the newspapers, roll up your sleeves, and chow down on some amazing local seafood. #unlockhomemade.
If I had to think of one recipe that always makes me think of my grandmother aka ‘mom-mom’, fried corn would have to be it. Every summer she, my mother and myself would make it over and over again. It was my saving grace the 2 years I had braces and the orthodontist told me corn on the cob was a no-no. And now it’s a hands down favorite for my 4 year old, who spends too much time explaining why ‘real’ food shouldn’t be on the menu today.
I remember telling my husband about it when we were dating. He kept saying that I was describing creamed corn. And I emphatically told him that no it was FRIED corn. It’s a simple dish and uses a lot of butter 🙂 and everyone I make it for loves it. Because every time I make it a little bit of Ella Belle, Michele and Thembi are in every serving.
Things to note:
- I always use a cast iron pan. A 12 inch one like this one from Lodge Cast Iron.
- I’ve never made this with corn I personally didn’t cut off the cob. Can’t say how any other corn might turn out.
- I always make a large batch. My family will eat fried corn with anything. So we usually do.
A simple way to enjoy the bounty of summer corn.
- 8-10 ears fresh corn
- 1 stick butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- kosher salt
- fresh ground pepper
- sugar (optional)
- Husk corn
- In a large bowl and using a sharp knife cut the kernels off the ears and make sure to capture all the "milk"
- In a 12 in cast iron skillet melt butter over medium heat
- When melted add corn and 1 tbsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper
- Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Add flour and stir to coat kernels
- Add enough water to barely cover the corn
- Reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Keep stirring so corn doesn't stick to bottom of the pan. add water if it's too think and burning.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar, if using
- I can not say what this dish tastes like if you don't use fresh corn straight from the cob. That's why we only make it when it's plentiful in the summer time.
- *If it's early in the season and the corn isn't sweet enough to stand on it's own add 1 tbsp of sugar at a time
Tasty Tin http://tastytin.com/
It’s Grilling Season!
Summer is here! In the south, we start getting hot weather (90°+) in April. But by now, everyone should at least be getting grilling weather, which for me is anything above freezing!
This month, we celebrate the start of summer with all the great fathers and father figures in our lives. So when thinking of this box, I simply asked my husband (and the father to our 4 year old daughter) what we wanted me to grill for him.
Grilling is my second favorite way to cook (steaming edges out the win because of my love of blue crabs). When it’s hot and I don’t want to do dishes, we grill. When I’m craving local veggies, grilling them is the first thing that comes to mind.
And grilling is simple! Any basic charcoal grill can work for the summer. I live by 4 grilling rules:
- No lighter fluid! Pick up a $15 chimney starter from your local hardware store like here. You won’t have to worry about the chemical taste that lighter fluid can leave behind.
- Always build a 2-zone fire. After your charcoal is lit and ready, pour all the coals onto one side of the grill, leaving the other half empty. The zone with the coals is called direct cooking, and the side without the coals is indirect cooking. Having an indirect area allows you to save meat or veggies from flare-ups and it’s a great place to cook things more slowly, like bone-in chicken or ribs.
- Clean your grates before cooking. I use a $5 grill stone, which can be found at your local hardware store. After you set up your zones, put your grate on for 5 minutes with the lid down. Then clean the grates with your stone. All of the caked-on food from your last meal will come off.
- Cook to temp not time. This is a rule for all cooking, but we’ll help you out this month with a handy-dandy meat thermometer.
Check out our YouTube page for some helpful videos on my 4 grilling rules to live by.
And remember to post pictures and tag us #UnlockHomemade
Happy Grilling Season,