From the Summer Garden to Your Dinner Plate
July 27th, 2011

summergardenThink back to those past summer days, and then warm memories flood in of a bountiful summer garden. That rich, earthy aroma of soil and vegetation is deeply embedded in many people’s thoughts of summer meals. All members of the family participate in one way or another—preparing the ground, planting, nurturing or harvesting.

Bonds were formed while getting good wholesome exercise and fresh air. Bountiful was the table with the fruits of labor not only in the summer, but throughout the year with all of the vegetables and fruits canned or frozen.

Your family also can enjoy the health benefits of home-grown produce, whether you grow it in your garden or purchase it from your local farmers market. Featured here are recipes using familiar standby vegetables, but with some exciting twists to spark fresh enthusiasm to eat the recommended 3 to 5 servings of vegetables per day.

Classic Tomato Flavoring Partners
When creating your own tomato dishes, keep these great flavor partners in mind:

  • Basil
  • Black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Chili peppers or powder
  • Curry powder
  • Garlic
  • Orange zest
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Tarragon

Grilled Vegetables and Ginger Citrus Mayonnaise

Source: Courtesy: Chef Cat Cora and Palmolive


  • 2 each crookneck or summer squash, baby zucchini, large whole carrots, large fennel or 3 medium fennel bulbs
  • 5 to 6 shallots
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Ginger Citrus Mayonnaise
  • 3 juicy citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits or lemons, cut in halves
  • 3 tablespoons regular mayonnaise
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger


  • Preheat grill for vegetables, then start the mayonnaise sauce.
  • To make the mayonnaise, squeeze all the juice out from 5 of the 6 citrus halves into a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. When juice begins to boil, lower heat to medium-high and reduce juice until thick and syrupy, being careful not to let it burn.
  • Remove from heat. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool slightly. At this point, you can grill the vegetables.
  • Whisk in mayonnaise, ginger and cayenne pepper until smooth. Squeeze in juice from last remaining citrus half, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Cut all veggies in half lengthwise. Rub all sides sparingly with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Grill, cut side down first, for 4 to 6 minutes if small, 5 to 8 minutes if large pieces. Flip so skin side is down, and grill all an additional 1 to 2 minutes, until all veggies are firm, but easily sliced with a knife. Serve on a platter alongside a bowl of ginger citrus mayonnaise or drizzled on top of vegetables.

Serves 6 to 8

Arugula and Mozzarella Spiked Tomatoes With Basil Vinaigrette

Source: Courtesy: Florida Tomato Committee


  • 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh arugula (or basil)


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


  • For vinaigrette: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, basil and garlic until completely emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning with kosher salt and fresh pepper.
  • Rinse tomatoes under cold running water and pat dry with clean paper towels. With a sharp serrated knife, cut each tomato into an even number of wedges. Then make a horizontal cut near the tip of each wedge, being careful not to cut all the way down. Set aside sliced tomatoes.
  • Cut mozzarella into slices that will fit into the slices made in the tomatoes. Insert a slice of mozzarella into each tomato wedge. Top with arugula or basil leaves and garnish with basil vinaigrette. Season with kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.

Serves 4

Turnips With Parsley and Lemon

Source: Courtesy: Taste the Place


  • 1 bunch turnips, about 1 pound
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Salt


  • Turnip greens can be sautéed and served alongside turnips. Cut turnips into wedges and steam until tender, about 10 to15 minutes. Toss with olive oil, parsley and lemon zest. Salt to taste.

Serves 4