#ChewOnIt: Fruits of Summer

My love for tomatoes, peaches, cherries, and cucumbers runs deep - and while frozen fruit is always great for smoothies, a fresh tomato out of season is just not the same. And I’m pretty certain I’ve never seen out-of-season fresh peaches. So I’ve been doing my best to savor the season and figured you might enjoy these summer time goodies.

 

Coconut Chocolate Cherry Smoothies: These came about because I had an entire pint of cherries that I had somehow not eaten yet and because I had a carton of chocolate cashew milk that needed to be finished off.

That being said, if you really feel like pitting an entire pint of cherries for the purpose of smoothies, I suggest doing so while watching a movie. Otherwise I encourage you to use frozen cherries. And, no, I don’t expect you to use chocolate cashew milk unless you already have some. Just use chocolate milk or add more cocoa and regular milk or event water. (For those interested, the chocolate cashew milk is quite tasty.)

The spinach coconut layer is the same as last time. The secret to getting the benefit of spinach without tasting it is to use really ripe bananas. If you don’t want to get coconut water for this layer, use regular water or juice - just be mindful of flavor combinations and any color effect juice could have.

On that note, because the chocolate cherry layers are already brown, this one really wouldn’t be ugly if it was all blended together. Logistically, though, to make enough smoothie for five large portions, I don’t have enough room in my blender to do it in one batch. But if you don’t want to wait on the layers to freeze, feel free to divvy up all of the chocolate cherry mix and then just pour the spinach coconut layer on top. It’ll mix in a bit, but that really won’t hurt anything.

These freeze well and are a filling breakfast-on-the-go. Just as last time, I got a large tub of FAGE yogurt, made a batch all at once, and stuck them in the freezer. The day before you want one, transfer a smoothie to the fridge to defrost. If you forget, just remove the metal lid from the jar and pop it in the microwave at level 2 for 30s - 2 min, depending on how soon you want to eat it or how fast you need to get out the door.

Summer Caprese Salad: I will restrain myself from writing entire love letters about heirloom tomatoes and freestone peaches here. Instead, I will just say that since I ended up with four pounds of heirloom tomatoes from Armstead Mountain Farm and 3 pounds of freestone peaches from Drewry Farm & Orchards this week, I knew they would be a match made in heaven.

If you’re not familiar, a traditional caprese salad is tomato, fresh mozzarella, balsamic vinegar reduction, and fresh basil. There are a ton of variations on this salad, but my favorite summer twist is to add peaches. That sweet and savory combination is absolutely delightful to the tastebuds. I probably had four of these salads in just as many days and I still haven’t gotten enough of it.

Cucumber Basil Smash: Gin & Tonics fall shortly behind heirloom tomatoes and freestone peaches on my list of things I love about summer. However, the other day I tried this cucumber basil smash and it’s almost hard for me to admit that it may have (at least temporarily) surpassed the traditional G&T.

This cocktail takes the two main accompaniments from my favorite variations of G&T, lime and cucumber, and adds basil. There’s a small amount of simple syrup, but no tonic water, so it makes a smaller cocktail that just begs to be sipped out on the patio.

If you want to take it to another level, make ice cubes using coconut water. For the non-gin-lovers, this cocktail is also delicious with vodka.

As always, I hope you’ll eat as much local goodness as you can - and let me know if you try any of my recipes! For locally grown produce and meats, please check out the “Market Update” for when, where, and what details.

Coconut Chocolate Cherry Smoothies

Serves: 5

Active Time: 15 minutes

Passive Time: 3 hours

Chocolate Cherry

1 pint fresh / 16 ounces frozen cherries

3 ripe bananas

1 tablespoon chai seed

½ cup cocoa powder

⅛ teaspoon roasted cinnamon powder

2 cups FAGE 0% Greek yogurt

2 cups chocolate cashew milk

Green Layer

3 ripe bananas

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

4 cups spinach

1 cup coconut water

2 cups FAGE 0% Greek yogurt

Method:

Blitz chocolate cherry layer ingredients until smooth. Divide half among 5 3-cup capacity, freezer-safe cups or jars.

Set in freezer for about an hour.

Blitz green layer ingredients until smooth. Divide among containers. Freeze for another hour.

Divvy remainder of chocolate cherry layer over the green layer.

Cover with lid and return to freezer.

Transfer each smoothie from freezer to refrigerator about 24 hours before you intend to drink it.

Summer Caprese Salad

Serves: 1-4

Active Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 large heirloom tomato*

Fresh cracked pepper

Sea salt

1 peach*

4 ounces fresh mozzarella

1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar reduction**

3-4 basil* leaves

Method:

Wash, dry, and core tomato. Slice and cut into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper and sea salt, set aside.

Peel peach and slice into thin pieces.

Wash basil and pat dry. Stack leaves and roll into a thin tube. Chop to make ribbons.

Slice mozzarella and cut into bite-sized pieces.

Layer or toss tomato, peach, and mozzarella.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction and sprinkle with basil.

Enjoy as a meal or share with others.

*Indicates locally sourced.

**Either purchase as a reduction or make your own. To make, simmer balsamic vinegar until it is reduced by half. Pour into a jar to store any remainder.

Cucumber Basil Smash

Serves: 1

Active Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 ½ parts Rock Town gin*

¾ part freshly squeezed lime juice

¾ part simple syrup

small bunch of basil*

3-5 cucumber* wheels

Optional

coconut water ice cubes

Method:

Muddle basil, cucumber, and simple syrup in a mixing glass.

Add gin, lime juice, and ice. Shake well.

Strain into an iced tumbler.

Optional: add coconut water ice cube(s).

Garish with cucumber wheel and basil leaves and enjoy!

 

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