I went a little peach crazy this summer. The harvest in the Northeast seemed particularly good this year. The peaches were exceptionally juicy and full of flavor. Perfect for jam, punch, and pie. I’ve never shared this pie recipe before even though my mother has been making it since before I was born. It is from her friend Sandy and there is a small secret ingredient that sets it apart from all the other peach pies I’ve ever tasted. The ingredient elevates the peach flavor without overshadowing it. Once you add it to your peach pie you’ll never make one without it again.
I haven’t done as much summer reading this summer as I would’ve liked. Running around after two kids, working on the next book, and keeping up with the house has taken up almost all my time. However, I had the good fortune of getting a copy of my friend Kathleen Flinn’s latest book, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family, and I read the whole thing cover to cover in just a few days. I’ll admit, I pushed aside work in favor of reading and it was so worth it.
I’ve been canning up a storm in Cooperstown this month with my Dad. As I’ve outlined before, we love canning fruits and vegetables each summer. It is a time for us to bond, plus we get to reap the rewards all winter long. I also give a lot of the preserves we make away for holiday gifts. I am excited to work with my friends at Ball Jar for the second year in a row to celebrate International Can-It-Forward Day. It is coming up this Saturday August 16th and you don’t want to miss it if you are a canning enthusiastic, or a novice who is eager to learn.
Last weekend some good friends visited us in Cooperstown. When they came in on Friday night we had a big feast to welcome them. It was all about easy, homey, summery food that we all could enjoy at the big table. My mom made one of the salads from my cookbook, lots of corn, and a salad. I contributed these Greek chicken skewers my friend Caroline had made for us last month. They marinade couldn’t be more simple and their bright, garlicky flavor is ideal for a summer meal.
Every summer I fold a new selection of recipes into my repertoire. But I also spend a lot of time revisiting old favorites. It is kind of like that saying “make new friends but keep the old.” I spend all winter looking forward to our summer classics just as much as do trying new recipes. Here are some of the tried-and-true family favorites I’ve been making this summer. They deserve another go ’round in the spotlight in case you missed them the first time:
Summer vegetables are always my inspiration when I start composing salads for friends and family. This time of year, they are so fresh and bursting with flavor that I am always sure to include as many as possible whenever I prepare a bowl. Lately, I’ve been trying to take my salads up a notch, making them even more flavorful and exciting. This summer, my trick has been to add a generous shower of creamy, natural Arla Dofino Havarti with Dill. The cheese has a delicious, mild dill flavor which adds a wonderful dimension to the salad.