As a family of four, it’s fair to say we eat a lot of snacks. And since our two and four-year-olds can be a bit picky, we knew we’d have to get creative when we committed to eating only locally produced food in July. Luckily, these recipes delivered on the local, nutritious, and kid-approved requirements.
Our garden has not failed to disappoint when it comes to delivering cucumbers this summer. In fact, as I write this, I’m remembering that there are at least three cucumbers that were ready to pick before I left for work this morning and have surely gotten even larger after another day in the sun. While I could eat these straight off the plant with just a touch of salt or sliced and added into a glass of water, my kids are not as easily convinced.
Luckily my husband had seen an awesome video from Gordon Ramsay on Facebook. The recipe he shared, originally from Ramsey’s cookbook Ultimate Home Cooking, featured celery, but we substituted cucumber with no problem. Water, sugar, peppercorns, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, salt, and white wine vinegar are all you need, besides some fresh slicing cucumbers and canning jars. Sue’s Seasonal Palate does a great job of laying out the steps, which are easy and fast — we were done in no time. Beware: your family may eat these so fast that you’ll need to head to Tractor Supply for more mason jars before the day is done. True story.
Seasonal Berry Yogurt
This next summer snack idea is so simple, there’s no recipe required. No recipe required is my kind of cooking, by the way. Thank goodness my loving husband does all the cooking in our household or we’d all be doomed. My son congratulated me for making a bag of microwave popcorn a few months ago. No joke.
Have you ever had yogurt produced in a small batch by a local dairy farm? I hadn’t until yesterday. We discovered Wholesome Country Creamery at a recent trip to Let It Grow Produce. A half hour away, in Hamptonville, North Carolina, John Hostetler raises grass-fed cows and produces delicious dairy products from milk to yogurt to ice cream. If you’re like me and had never experienced artisan dairy products like this, make it a point to try to — I promise you won’t be disappointed.
When we moved to our new home, we were delighted to find that the previous owners had planted a blueberry bush. We pick blueberries off the bush in the mornings and they make a tasty addition to the yogurt. Strawberries are my daughter’s favorite, but they are headed out of season and we weren’t able to find any this weekend, so she settled for blackberries. She’s got a tough life. Whatever fruit you choose, just add a pinch of sugar to your taste, and serve!
Goat Cheese, Tomato & Basil Crostini
This next one is almost too beautiful to eat, but just wait until you try it. They’ll be gone before you know it. This one features another item I had never experienced before: goat cheese. When we went to visit Buffalo Creek Farm & Creamery a couple weeks ago, I was pretty sure we wouldn’t be taking any goat cheese home. But, after sampling it, their marinated feta found its way to our fridge. Even though it’s amazing on its own, our favorite way to eat it is on top of a homemade crostini with sliced cherry tomatoes and basil fresh from the garden.
How’d we make the crostini? We bought a French baguette from a local bakery, sliced it thinly the next day, and then placed in the oven on the lowest setting until they were crisp. Store them in a container and they keep for several days (if they aren’t devoured sooner).
I hope you enjoy these simple summer snacks that are easily made with all local ingredients. If you try them, let me know what you think!