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August Harvest on Shelter Island

Wildflowers for Sale on Shelter Island

Three weeks after my shoulder surgery, I am finally back in the kitchen–just in time to take advantage of the summer season’s peak harvest. August has so much to offer, and warm weather dishes practically cook themselves with ingredients straight from the farm-stand.

Cooking with one arm in a sling has proved to be quite challenging, so I’ve been sticking mainly to simple dishes, and lots of salads. Heirloom tomatoes are available and are tasty enough to sprinkle with salt and pepper and eat alone, or paired with basil and mozzarella cheese. Also, chopped with cucumbers, red onion, parsley, mint, with a little lemon juice and olive oil, a tomato salad is a great cold veggie side dish for grilled meats, or fish.

Sylvestor Manor Farm on Shelter Island has had some of the sweetest yellow cherry tomatoes I have ever tasted. They are so ripe and flavorful they make a delicious snack by themselves, or could be tossed into any salad or pasta dish. I roasted some with a bit of ground pepper, kosher salt, and olive oil just until they burst. Mixed with a tablespoon or so of fresh pesto, I put the mixture over chedder-dill buttermilk scones, and a poached egg (from Sylvestor Manor’s variety of chickens). Who needs hollandaise when you have pesto straight from the garden? For the scone recipe for this sweet and savory brunch dish, see the bottom of this post.

Carla shopping for squash and peppers at the Manor farm-stand

Besides tomatoes and cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, summer squash, zucchini, green beans, potatoes, onions, carrots, radishes, beets, corn, watermelon, and peaches are all in season.

I bought two baskets of peaches from Davis Peach Farm on the North Fork of Long Island (561 Hulse Landing Road, Wading River, NY) and have experimenting with different peach-berry crisps and pies. I have also been making simple salsa, and hope to jar a few bottles of chutney while the peaches are so amazingly ripe and widely available. I have never tasted peaches as sweet and juicy as those from Davis Peach Farm, and they were great for cooking with– they were so ripe the skin peeled right off (with less ripe peaches you can always boil them for about 30 seconds to make this easier).

Now that I am feeling much better, expect many more updates!

For the scones:
(Yields 8 ) (Unless you’re cooking for a large group, scones get stale very quickly, and I prefer making them in small batches to ensure freshness)

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks cold diced butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 lb extra-sharp cheddar cheese (I used a 2 yr Vermont cheese)
1/2 cup minced fresh dill

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine dry ingredients, and with a mixer add butter and mix on low-speed until the butter is pea-sized. Mix buttermilk and eggs separately, then add to dry mixture. Add cheddar and dill to dough. Knead for about one minute on well floured surface, and roll until dough is just less than 1 inch thick. Cut into triangles, brush tops with egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water). Bake on baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes. Line sheet with parchment paper for easy removal.

Also try this recipe with other savory ingredients (cheddar and chives, basil and sun-dried tomato…) and enjoy!

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