Summer Food

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                                                                                                    Summer Glow

July 31, 2010

That time of the year has arrived when, in Alberta, we can reacquaint ourselves with how vegetables are supposed to taste.  What a treat.

Most noticeable are vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower, beans, and all the fresh herbs.  The tastes of these are somehow subtle, yet bursting with flavour.  The sad news is that I can only realise their proper taste for about three months of the year.  For the other nine months the produce is often such that I might fail a vegetable tasting blindfolded test.

I am a prairie boy at heart, so I like most root vegetables any time of the year.  Yet what a sensational taste when I bite into carrots, cooked or raw, that are no more than one week out of the ground, unsprayed, and from no more than 50 kilometres away.  Carrots transported from California don’t stand a chance in comparison.  Mind you, I don’t think the Californian carrots are a problem.  I’m sure those taste good right after they are picked.  The problem is the transportation, handling and dead time that they have to make it through before they arrive on my table.  Goodness knows what chemicals have been used in their growing and transportation.

I have a few other favourites.  One is fresh corn, a common favourite, but the other….wait for it….is fresh beets.  Really.  No one else in my family can stand that vegetable, but when I mix slices of perfectly boiled, newly picked beets in with creamy béchamel sauce and a touch of coarse pepper, I can’t help myself; I keep coming back for more until they are finished.

Let’s live it up for a few months.  The barbeques are great, but pile on the fresh vegetables, simply cooked with the herbs and sauces that make them a standout on our palate.