Get produce while it lasts, then cool off with a slushy drink

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2016

By Deirdre Parker Smith

Summer vegetable season is winding down. Vendors at the Salisbury Rowan Farmers’ Market still have corn, cantaloupes, peppers and lots of tomatoes, among other items.

It’s been a tough growing season, with frosts, a late freeze, near drought conditions, you name it.

Even Spring Lake Farms, which uses aquaponics to grow its lettuces, greens and herbs, suffered from the heat.

Tomatoes have been very good this year, quite flavorful, even if they are a little bit smaller than in years past. The grape and cherry tomatoes in all their variety have been sweet as candy.

Make the most of it while you can — have a dinner of fresh corn on the cob and tomato sandwiches. If that’s not summer, I don’t know what is. The Farmers’ Market is held Saturday and Wednesday from 8 a.m.-noon at the corner of West Fisher and South Jackson Street, a Wednesday evening, 4-7 p.m. behind the Gateway Building on East Innes Street.

A little punch

While the weather has cooled down a few degrees, it’s still very muggy, and the nights are too warm.

Something about punch says summer, and bourbon punch says a sultry evening on the veranda.

This recipe, from, adds another element — slush. And it has tea in it, too.

This recipe makes 8 cups, and was adapted from a recipe in Garden & Gun magazine.

Bourbon Slush Punch

1 cup water

2 tea bags (whatever you like for iced tea)

1 cup bourbon

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups orange juice (about 3 oranges)

6 Tbsp. lemon juice (about 2 lemons)

16-17 ounces (about 5 cups) ice cubes

Mint sprigs or lemon slices, for garnish

Boil 1 cup water for tea. Add the tea bags and let steep until cool. Discard the tea bags. Pour tea into a pitcher. Add bourbon, sugar, orange juice and lemon juice and refrigerate. After 30 minutes in the fridge, the sugar will dissolve; no need to stir.

To serve: Shake or stir punch base to ensure ingredients are evenly distributed. To make two liters of punch, add base and all the ice cubes to your blender, blending until the ice is crushed and slushy.

For each glass of punch, pour in the blender 1/2 cup of punch base and a 1/2 cup of small pieces of ice and blend until slushy. Add a cube of ice to glasses if desired. Garnish with a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon.

Milk Street

There’s no shortage of food magazines, but this one promises to be different. Christopher Kimball, now former host of “America’s Test Kitchen” and “Cooks’ Country,” had a parting of the ways with the group.

He’s starting his own restaurant, cooking magazine and more — Chris Kimball’s Milk Street Kitchen. He was also previously involved with Cook’s Magazine, which contains tested recipes, techniques and more, all without advertising.

The same is true of his new endeavor — he won’t accept advertising, so he can use what he wants, promote what he wants and not feel beholden. His new place is on Milk Street in Boston.

Kimball says he’s taking all the information he learned in the past and focusing on simpler, more flavorful recipes.

He points out in his pitch to try the magazine that Americans typically use just 13 spices, while Southeast Europe and the Middle East use up to 88 spices.

He’s going to promote a new style of cooking that draws from the many different cultures around the world. It is supposed to be reflective of the way America is changing.