The beautiful bounty of summer

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You may not be able to tell by the weather, but summer is winding down.
All those gorgeous fresh vegetables at farmers markets and roadside stands are dwindling. Oh, you can still find some things, like tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, even cantaloupe and watermelon. Okra loves this time of year and is still available. But the fall crops are a little ways off.
Retired Salisbury Post photographer Wayne Hinshaw is also an avid gardener. He makes okra look like a stunning work of art or some sort of interesting scientific discovery.
All the photos were a project that Hinshaw worked on all summer a couple of summers ago. As things would ripen in his garden, he would photograph them. He bought the melons and some of the peppers, since he didn’t grow them. Post Photographer Jon Lakey gave Hinshaw some of the hot peppers, but Hinshaw grew the corn, grapes, okra and some of the peppers.
The grapes are Concord grapes, which were developed in Concord, Mass., in 1849. The grapes are great for snacking, for making juice and jellies or jams. Grapes, frozen in a single layer on a sheet tray, make excellent snacks, like tiny popsicles.
Below are a few recipes to make use of late summer jewels.
Few recipes could be simpler than this.
Whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon hot sauce, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 grated garlic clove, 1/4 cup chopped parsley and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in a bowl; season with pepper. Thinly slice 2 green bell peppers and cut 3 plum tomatoes into wedges; toss with the dressing.
— Food Network Kitchens
3 fresh jalapeno peppers
2 onions, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. white sugar
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 (7 ounce) can diced green chili pepper (or fresh green chili, roasted and peeled)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 limes, juiced
7 (15 ounce) cans canned tomatoes
1 habanero pepper, seeded
Roast jalapenos over a grill or gas burner until completely blackened. Seal in a plastic bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap, and allow to steam until skins are loosened. When cool, remove skin, stem and seeds.
Place jalapenos, onions, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Pulse to chop and blend, then pour into a large bowl, and mix with the can of green chiles, cilantro and lime juice. Pulse the tomatoes in batches to desired size, and add to green chile mixture. You could also use fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped.
Return one cup of chopped tomatoes to the blender along with the habanero, and puree well. Strain the puree to remove any large pieces of habanero, and add to the tomatoes. Mix well, cover and chill in the refrigerator at least one hour to allow flavors to blend. Makes 10 cups.
1 1/2 cups self-rising yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. salt
1 pound fresh okra
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Peanut oil
1 head Bibb lettuce
1 large tomato chopped (about 1 cup)
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
1 medium size green bell pepper, chopped
Lemon dressing
3 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
Combine cornmeal and salt. Dip okra in buttermilk; dredge in cornmeal mixture.
Pour peanut oil to a depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven or deep cast-iron skillet; heat to 375 degrees. Fry okra, in batches, 2 minutes or until golden, turning once. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels.
Arrange lettuce leaves on a serving platter; top with tomato, onion slices and bell pepper. Add Lemon Dressing, tossing to coat. Top with fried okra, and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.
Lemon dressing
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Add first five ingredients to bowl, then whisk in oil.
— Southern Living
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups fresh corn, cut from the cob
1 1/2 cups fresh sliced okra
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
Salt to taste
!/4 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
In a large skillet, saute green pepper and onion in oil until tender. Add corn and okra; cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, salt, pepper and pepper sauce, if desired. Cover and summer for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 4-6 servings.
— Taste of Home
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 strips orange zest
2 cups cubed, seeded watermelon
3/4 cup white tequila
1/4 cup lime juice
salt or sugar for rimming glasses (optional)
1 lime, cut in wedges
2 cups ice or as needed.
Bring 1/2 cup sugar, water and orange zest in a small saucepan to boil, stirring constantly. Simmer until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes. Remove simple syrup from heat and allow to cool completely.
Place watermelon in a blender or food processor. Pulse until pureed.
Stir watermelon puree into a large pitcher with simple syrup, tequila and lime juice.
Place a small amount of salt or sugar into a saucer. Rub edge of margarita glasses with a lime wedge to moisten. Lightly dip the rim of the glass into the saucer to rim the glass; tap off excess salt or sugar.
Fill rimmed glasses with crushed ice; pour margarita mixture into glasses and garnish with lime wedges to serve.
For a non-alcoholic version, leave out the tequila and use a lemon-lime soda.