In my home, summer announces itself as a familiar soundtrack: the sweet song of crickets humming at night, splashes in the pool, ice filling up coolers stacked with delicious snacks, and the sizzling of something scrumptious on the grill.
Summertime and cooking are plentiful and there’s no better way to enjoy a warm Texas evening than with friends and family, dining on fresh produce cooking with seasonal ingredients.
So where do I seek inspiration for summer family dinners? It comes from all sorts of influences; my garden, the farmer’s market, and even places I travel to all over Central Texas.
While Mother Nature is working hard, there’s no time like the present to fill your plate with these healthy, delicious seasonal eats.
Watermelon: Nothing beats a cool slice of watermelon during hot summer Texas days. Watermelon is more versatile than you may give it credit for. Try a few refreshing watermelon recipes this summer, from watermelon salads and salsas to cocktails and other drinks, plus watermelon desserts.
Peaches: Who knew there were over 300 varieties of peaches. Heading to Fredericksburg any time soon? There are over fourteen peach farms that produce thousands of bushels every year. You and your family can put that basket of farm-fresh peaches to work with savory peach recipes that perfectly balance sweet and savory. From curried chicken and peach salad to peachy pork tenderloin to barbequed shrimp and peach kabobs.
Summer Squash: Your local farmers market will have plenty of summer squash for you to experiment with. Enjoy zucchini bread, casseroles, quesadillas, and even ratatouille! You can put a unique twist on just about any dish with summer squash.
Tomatoes: You’ll get a thumbs-up approval with so many fun recipes, whether using cherry tomatoes or bursting-with-flavor beefsteak. A caprese salad is a great dish to make when the tomatoes are peaking the farmers’ market. Or try a healthy and easy recipe like grilled halibut with tomatoes. A summertime gazpacho starts with ripe and flavorful tomatoes.
Beans: When summer beans are in abundance, they can add color and crunch to summer pasta, sides, and salads. Try a roasted potato salad with green beans, feta and mint, or saute the beans in garlic and olive oil and serve as a side to your favorite grilled meat.
Summer is a wonderful season– a time to get out of your regular routine and enjoy summer family dinner time with some mouthwatering seasonal foods!