I recently discovered Eventbrite and decided to join their Summer Food Bucket List project. It was a bit serendipitious as I just discovered a food swapping group here in my area that does their event planning using Eventbrite. Try checking out Eventbrite event management tools or sell tickets on their site. It’s free and easy. I’ll be looking into that food swapping event this summer.
I have used Eventbrite before, both to host parties (Thanksgiving, birthdays, baby showers etc) and to RSVP for other parties I’ve been invited to and for school events. But what really caught my interest was when I found (and I really don’t remember how I came upon this) a food group here. Midlands Food Swappers is a group that hosts food swaps, kinds obvioius isn’t it. They have a monthly meeting where people can bring in their homemade and/or homegrown food items and swap. What a thought, why hadn’t I heard of this group before. I could take some of my tomatoes, we certainly have enough for an army, and trade them for fresh eggs. Or how about some of homemade jams for meat? The possibilities are endless. So this goes onto my summer food bucket list, try to attend one of these swaps.
So what else is on my summer foods bucket list? Lots of produce! As many of my regular readers know we have a good sized garden. That means lots of fresh produce from my very own yard. It doesn’t get any better than that. So for me tomatoes are first on the list.
This year we have about half the plants we had last year, but fear not. That still means somewhere near 25 tomato plants, who really counts them all?! I’ll be eating tomatoes any which way I can get them this summer. Cherry and yellow pear tomatoes right out of the garden. San Marzano roasted and made into sauces to freeze for year round use. Diced and on bruschetta. In salads. Caprese salad. My mouth is watering just thinking about it all. My tomatoes aren’t ripe just yet but I could still make fried green tomatoes!
My next favorite summer food is blackberries. We have some bushes in the back of the garden and the empty lot across the street from us has some wild blackberry bushes as well. I also have a hidden location where we forage the wild berries, my little secret! Does summer fruit get any better than this? I eat them plain, with whipped cream, make jam. The boys love to have blackberry cobbler (just swap blackberries for peaches in the recipe), I can’t blame them, I love it too! Or how about a blackberry cocktail.
Next on the list might have to be blueberries. Last year we picked blueberries for the first time and it will now be a summer tradition. We ate some, froze some and made a few different kinds of jam. We also planted several blueberry bushes in the yard, but this being the first year it won’t nearly be enough to feed us. Especially after the birds or other critters get their share!
Another must have summer food is zucchini. We grow them in the garden as well. Jack still isn’t a fan, well other than zucchini bread, but the rest of us love it. I had every intention of getting some new pictures of the zucchini bread as that was one of my first posts and looks horrible! Then Ewan decided to get sick today and it’s been overcast nearly all day so there goes that plan. Instead I give you a picture of Jack and Sean eating zucchini bread in the garden, during brief sunshine!
Besides zucchini bread, roasted zucchini, sauteed zucchini, grilled zucchini…the list goes on, I love to make pesto sauce and pour it over the zucchini. It makes a great side dish or is a magnificent bed to lay a piece of grilled salmon on. Basil and zucchini in the garden, you can imagine I’ll be making this a lot this summer!
This year is a first for eggplant. I never really have cooked eggplant much but after recently making an eggplant dip decided it was time to grow our own. Ewan picked out the plant and is proud of it! Not looking so hot, remember he is sick in this photo!
I’ll lump the rest of the garden goodies together. Cabbage, great for coleslaw or fish tacos. Cucumbers go great with all the tomatoes! Spaghetti squash and butternut squash, so full of fiber and flavor. We also grow watermelons, great with feta cheese.
Cantaloupe makes a great jam, who knew?! Honeydew melon, so juicy and refreshing. This is our first year trying okra. If that works I’ll be pickling it, yum!!! Let’s not forget fresh herbs, great for seasoning veggies, meat, adding to salads. Mint, the item that spreads everywhere, makes a great addition to fruit salad or how about a mojito.
How could I possibly forget Dolly’s Dairy Bar?! This is a summer must! Located in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina this is the best way to cool off after a long hike in the forest. The boy love the superman flavor, Josh is partial to black cherry and I like sampling through all the camp flavors. See, we do balance all the fresh produce with a nice wicked indulgence!
What are your favorite foods for the summer? I can’t say I do too many summer festivals, too bloody hot here in South Carolina. The Gilbert Peach Festival does offer some tasty peach treats though if you can survive the heat!