What’s Cooking – Local Food at Its Peak in August

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Photo: Katieagthekitchendoor.com

Photo: Katieagthekitchendoor.com

The last time we talked about cooking with food at it’s peak, we were enjoying some late-spring treats. Now that summer’s winding down, its time to take advantage of the best flavors the month of August has to offer! With the peak-season map as a starting point, we’ve rounded up the perfect recipes to enjoy the freshest food in your region. Let’s get cooking!

 

Northeast: Corn

Since the first settlers learned of maize from Native Americans, corn has been a staple of summer and the American diet. As a source of fiber and carotenoids, it also has some solid health benefits to pair with the adaptable taste. Since you’ve probably had your fill of grilled and steamed corn at barbecues all summer, it’s time to get inventive with your cooking.

Photo: Food52.com

Photo: Food52.com

Breakfast: Enjoy a savory corn and basil muffin topped with ricotta and tomato jam with your cup of coffee – tons of summer flavors in one dish!

Photo: Jennyshearawn.com

Photo: Jennyshearawn.com

Lunch: Pair some fresh corn chowder with a slice of crusty bread for the perfect light lunch.

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Photo: Zaikazabardast.com

Dinner: When you’re cooking corn, go all the way. These fresh corn cakes are filled with a black bean and corn salad, giving you a double whammy of deliciousness.

 

Southeast: Tomatoes

Growing up with Italian-American grandparents has made the humble tomato near and dear to my heart. But this superstar of health benefits (everything from antioxidants to cancer-fighting properties) is so much more than pizza sauce! If you’re up to your elbows in tomatoes, never fear South-Easterners: it’s about to get delicious.

Photo: Relish.com

Photo: Relish.com

Breakfast: Packed with protein and a burst of tomato-y goodness, this caprese egg breakfast sandwich will keep you satisfied until lunch.

Photo: Food52.com

Photo: Food52.com

Lunch: “Easier to make than gazpacho,” this raw tomato and basil soup will really let the tomato’s flavors shine.

Photo: Twopeasandtheirpod.com

Photo: Twopeasandtheirpod.com

Dinner: Dig into a big bowl of orecchiette with roasted tomatoes and artichokes, your stomach will thank you.

 

Midwest: Summer Squash

With ‘summer’ right in the name, you know Midwesterners are hitting the seasonal flavor jackpot right now. As an umbrella term that includes veggies such as zucchini and yellow squash, the variety of summer squash provide some great options for switching up your cooking. Load up on some vitamins and fiber while keeping your taste buds happy!

Photo: Maebells.com

Photo: Maebells.com

Breakfast: Sausage, cheddar and summer squash waffles. Yes, all of those delicious sounding things are packed inside. Mind blown.

Photo: Barefootinthekitchen.com

Photo: Barefootinthekitchen.com

Lunch: Try some herb and lemon quinoa sautéed with fresh summer squash as a light lunch or great side dish at a dinner party.

Photo: Food52.com

Photo: Food52.com

Dinner: When your pasta is made from fresh summer squash noodles and pesto, you know you can confidently go back for seconds.

 

Northwest: Cherries

Along with watermelon, cherries are the quintessential hot-weather snack. While known for being eaten right out of the bowl or starring in a dessert, cherries offer some star power in savory dishes as well. Packed with health benefits and with a variety of types, you can feel good about eating them all summer long.

Photo: Itwasjustright.com

Photo: Itwasjustright.com

Breakfast: Brimming with yogurt, instant oats and toasted hazelnuts, the addition of fresh cherries into this breakfast bowl make for the perfect finishing touch.

Photo: Insockmonkeyslippers.com

Photo: Insockmonkeyslippers.com

Lunch: As the author says, “delicious healthy farro, sweet juicy cherries and toasted walnuts dressed in a tangy dijon mustard vinaigrette is the perfect summer salad!”

Photo: Iowagirleats.com

Photo: Iowagirleats.com

Dinner: Tangy cherries and balsamic mix well with crisp red onion, making this chicken entree a bold (and healthy) new twist on dinner.

 

Southwest: Peaches

Finally, we’ve arrived at the sweet summer peach. When you’re not enjoying a juicy iron-booster raw as a snack, consider working this fruit into dishes in creative ways! Of course, all you South-westerners can feel free to finish off the meal with a slice (or three) of homemade peach pie.

Photo: Brightyoungfood.com

Photo: Brightyoungfood.com

Breakfast: Fresh peaches and melon are the dynamic summertime duo in this nutrient-rich breakfast smoothie.

Photo: Katieatthekitchendoor.com

Photo: Katieatthekitchendoor.com

Lunch: These peach and avocado summer rolls are bursting with seasonal flavors (and not half bad to look at either).

Photo: Aasquaredblog.com

Photo: Aasquaredblog.com

Dinner: We’re sorry in advance if you were planning on there being leftovers of this hearty grilled chicken and peach salad with champagne vinaigrette.

 

We hope you’re ready to enjoy the freshest foods in your region! If you have another peak-season recipe you’d like to share, let us know in the comments!