The days are getting shorter as the calendar points to Labor Day weekend and the unofficial end of summer.
So let’s take advantage while it lasts and put the grill on fabulous for the holiday weekend ahead.
The wonderful products currently available at farms and farmers markets contribute to the joy of the farewell to summer. Most farmers don’t remember a harvest season with such extraordinary bounty, so there are plenty of fresh and tasty ones for Labor Day weekend and beyond.
The state’s Agriculture Department is excited about the current crop, using words like “great,” “beautiful” and “excellent” to describe the quality in the weekly uptime report. Not all cultures benefit from the hot weather we have experienced recently, but many of our favorites are thriving.
This year’s sweet corn, tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, eggplants, potatoes, peppers and melons are excellent, while zucchini and yellow squash are good quality and plentiful. Farmers also harvest beets, kale, cabbage, arugula, okra, turnips, onions, green onions and winter squash in good quality and quantity.
All of this generosity can be used to make exceptional salads, soups and side dishes. In addition, you will have the pleasure of going to a farm or a farmers market.
If you’ve ever wanted to trample on grapes with bare feet like they did a long time ago, this opportunity is here.
Four Sisters Winery in Belvidere sells tickets for its Grape Stomping events, Saturdays August 28 and September 11 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
You can pay $ 42.50 to trample grapes, just like Lucille Ball did in the iconic TV episode of “I Love Lucy”. The event includes a formal wine tasting and dinner with food and wine pairings.
For tickets, call 908-475-3671 or visit the website foursisterswinery.com.
DiMatteo Vineyards in Hammonton will be hosting their own grape trampling event on September 18th. From noon to 5 p.m. there will be trampling and food from food trucks. The cost of the stampede is $ 35 and includes a t-shirt and a bottle of wine. Tickets can be purchased at dimatteofamilyvineyards.com.
BaconFest at Laurita Winery in New Egypt has been postponed to August 29 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Eight food trucks will offer their best bacon dishes at the event, which has been postponed due to bad weather. Tickets cost $ 12 online or $ 14 at the door. Children 20 and under are admitted free. See lauritawinery.com for more information.
Eat a local club at La Cabana
The Trenton Eat Club will hold its next gathering at 6 p.m. on August 26 at La Cabana Bakeshop and Restaurant. The event will feature a variety of Latin American foods, as well as specialty coffee, pastries and cakes. See the Facebook page Facebook.com/groups/50736285826/ for more information.
Fresh peach cake
Use local peaches or nectarines in season for this easy dessert for a Labor Day picnic. The recipe is from foodnetwork.com. Nuts are optional.
- ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cup of sugar
- 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
- ½ cup chopped pecans
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square pan.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the dough is smooth. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the dough and mix until combined. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup of the sugar and the cinnamon.
3. Distribute half of the dough evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the rest of the dough on top, place the rest of the peaches on top and sprinkle with the rest of the sugar mixture and the pecans.
4. Bake the cake, 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Seven-tiered pasta salad
Vary the meat, cheese and vegetable ingredients to suit your taste for the foodnetwork.com recipe which can be attractively presented in a clear glass bowl.
- Kosher salt
- 8 ounces of farfalle (about 2 cups)
- 2 stalks of broccoli, cut into florets
- ½ cup of mayonnaise
- ½ cup of buttermilk
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Juice of 1 lime
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 avocados, diced
- A 12-ounce piece of deli ham, diced (about 2 cups)
- 8 ounces of grated yellow Cheddar cheese
- 1 small head romaine lettuce, sliced
- 2 tomatoes, diced
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (about 2 minutes less than indicated on the label), adding the broccoli during the last 4 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta and broccoli and rinse with cold water; shake off the excess. Remove the broccoli and pat dry.
2. Whisk together mayonnaise, buttermilk, ¼ cup of chives, parsley, half of lime juice, ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste. Combine the pasta and a few tablespoons of the dressing in a medium bowl.
3. Assemble the salad: Toss the avocados with the remaining lime juice in a large glass serving bowl and season with salt; arrange in an even layer. Top with layers of ham, broccoli, pasta, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. Pour some of the remaining dressing on top and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of the remaining chives, or cover and refrigerate the salad and dressing separately for up to 6 hours. (Bring to room temperature before serving.)