About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Best Ingredients Make the Best Food

"Carpe Diem", is Latin for "seize the moment" and now is the time to do it if you want great,  ingredients in your meals or pantry. Summer's bounty of fruits and vegetables is at it's peak and I'm in a frenzy making Marinara, pickles, fig jam; freezing peaches and corn, blanching shelled peas for use during the colder months. Even though it's a good bit of labor, I take great satisfaction in pulling a jar of homemade Marinara sauce from the pantry in January. I feel dizzy when I visit the farmer's markets and can't decide what to choose it's all so exciting.

Now is the time to make fresh peach tarts, pepper jelly, creamed corn, gumbo or succotash with fresh okra, watermelon salad, basil pesto, tomato jam, butter beans swimming in buttery broth, pizza dressed with fig, prosciutto and goat cheese.  I know the pears, apples and pecans are coming but they are just beyond the summer limits and an introduction to the next season. I'll concentrate on baking in the winter. Right now, no other time of year has as much variety to offer as August.

Every cooking guru will always advise to use the best quality you can get and it does make a difference.  The best example I can think of is a simple vinaigrette.  Try the difference between cheaper quality olive oil and vinegar and "gourmet" brands such as Oli & Ve.  I've tried every sort of vinegar to make many varieties of vinaigrette but husband loves their Blenheim Apricot white balsamic best. It's like night and day to your salad.  I'm not really a food snob and I know we all can't afford too many pricey items but the variety of fresh ingredients available right now leave me no choice but to load up and use every peak moment for the best meals of the year.

We've had a good summer east of the Mississippi but not so for the West and I'm worried what that will do to the price of groceries in the coming months.  That's why a little effort now will help you out later.  So don't wait, grab a box of tomatoes now and get to work on the Marinara, you'll thank yourself in January.

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