Summer is the season for cooking fresh and fabulous feasts. Here at Alpine, we take full advantage of nature’s summer bounty and incorporate the juicy produce that these prime harvest months afford us. Just check out the local Farmers Markets who are now in their glory days with colorful displays and an abundance of choices.
There are many, many fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables to enjoy, but we are going to focus on The Magnificent Seven.
Delicious and versatile the tomato which is actually a fruit not a vegetable packs a punch with its flavor, versatility and health benefits. Tomatoes are high in lycopene, a carotenoid that has antioxidant properties and has shown to help prevent cancer and heart disease. Combining the tomatoes with a fat, like olive oil increases your body’s ability to absorb the lycopene. Also, tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C, folate, riboflavin and chromium.
There’s no doubt, fresh from the vine tomatoes are tastier and healthier. Unfortunately, the flavor and texture of your “garden variety’ supermarket tomatoes doesn’t remotely compare to those that are freshly picked. However, many grocery stores now stock some local farms offerings and refer to them as “ugly tomatoes”. Select tomatoes with a deep rich color and smooth skin and store them on the countertop, where they’ll keep for a few days. Do not refrigerate tomatoes as it changes the flavor and texture.
Look for tomatoes EVERYWHERE in our appetizers and main courses! From fresh applications like our Caprese Salad to our sublime sauces.
A quintessential summer favorite, watermelon is the lycopene leader among fruits and vegetables—even surpassing the amount of lycopene in our beloved tomatoes. It’s low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol making it heart healthy as well.
Easy to serve and enjoy sliced, cubed, or creatively re-imagined, which is what we’ve been doing (see below), watermelon is a superb summer fruit to enjoy. This time of year, it’s affordable and rarely do you get one that’s not perfectly sweet!
Last week we served a balsamic glazed compressed watermelon, fresh mozzarella & arugula salad with balsamic reduction, basil oil, black pepper & red sea salt.
Or another chef featured salad…Arugula, watermelon and feta salad with fresh mint & orange-honey vinaigrette.
At Alpine we would love to help you explore some creative uses of summer fruits and vegetables. Please try one of our standards or specially created Chef’s Features starring fresh seasonal finds! Follow us on Facebook to see what we’ve prepared just for you!