A week ago a dear friend sent out an email to a few friends saying they had an abundance of fresh produce from their New Roots CSA & her brother’s Tiny’s CSA who was out of town. Simple gathering, bring some meat or fish to grill, beverage of choice and hang out on a Friday night. When I arrived with my Wild Alaskan Salmon steak in tow and a chilled bottle of Pinot Gris, I realized she wasn’t kidding, a plethora of fruit was on the counter waiting to be transformed. Red cabbage, carrots, summer squash, zucchini, dragon lingerie beans, a variety of cucumbers, peaches, plums, apricots and nectarines.
Our host stated she had no specific plan or recipes for the fruits and vegetables, however she had some ideas. We discussed a coleslaw for the red cabbage, she was out of mayo, I said no problem, we’ll do a vinaigrette based one. I started to slice into the extremely crisp cabbage contemplating ways to make it pop. Asian inspired was perfect, light and simple. I shredded carrots into the slaw, the vibrant colors already coming together. The dressing was easy, a culmination of basic ingredients: sesame oil, peanut oil, cider vinegar, peanut butter, garlic, salt, pepper, Siracha for a kick and honey for a bit of sweetness. The dressing came together beautifully, no specific measurements or recipe, all to taste. Added some chopped up cilantro and sesame seeds to the slaw. Just a bit prior to serving I mixed in the dressing.
I’m actually not a fan of zucchini nor summer squash, so it may have been my first time cooking the summer vegetables. Instinct told me, grilled is best with lots of olive oil, a few different kinds of salt, heavily doused in Herbs de Provence and some Thyme. While I prepared the coleslaw the squashes marinated.
The vegetable that was completely new to all of us, the dragon lingerie bean. A cream colored bean with flecks of purple, I had to ask the experts what to do with them. Thanks to Alice of Sweet Savory Life she suggested pan sauteing them with a bit of garlic, salt, pepper and butter, finishing off with a squeeze of lemon. These were one of the big hits of the night since not only were they novel to all of us, but also incredibly delicious.
The fruit was turned into two different desserts; one gluten/dairy free for my friend Devon. I decided a crisp would be perfect, a combination of white nectarines and plums. The topping was super basic: quick oats, flour, brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Baked for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees, it turned out as it should, golden brown with fruit bubbling away. Topped with some freshly lightly sweetened whip cream. The other dessert to me is the epitome of a summer BBQ, grilled peaches lightly dressed with some brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and vanilla, grilled to perfection.
Friends, good food, wine and an amazing sunset, really could not of asked for a more perfect evening. Summer is coming to a close in less than a month, I honestly hope to have more nights like this one. Cooking for friends, it fuels my soul.