What's in Season for June? Bonus: Bruschetta Recipe

Woohoo! Summer fruits and vegies are on their way to a market near you! So, here's my version of Frida Kahlo's watermelon in Viva la Vida. There is an exhibit of her work at the SFMOMA starting this month. We were lucky enough to go to her house in Mexico City last August and be wowed by the art, the torturous devices she wore for her polio, and the brilliant colors inside the house and out...reds, blues, greens, yellows...just gorgeous.

All those colors have me thinking about the shades of summer fruits and vegies. Maybe you've noticed the first of the yellow corn showing up in your grocery store. It's still not at its peak yet but I have to admit I couldn't resist getting a couple of ears and testing out my new toy. It's the Kuhn Rikon Corn Zipper from Sur la Table and it's very cool. The monster teeth on this kitchen tool make stripping the kernels off the cob a breeze.

You should also be seeing green beans start to show up as well as cucumbers, those beautiful purple eggplants, your summer squash and even juicy red tomatoes are making an appearance. Those tomatoes look pretty right now but by July you'll get that great flavor that goes with those good looks. Yes, we already bought some of those too. I like the ugly heirloom ones. Dylan chopped them up and made some bruschetta for a great after work before supper treat. I'll let you in on her recipe below.

We are in fruit heaven as we move from strawberries to blueberries, raspberries, apricots, early peaches and nectarines and the first of the melons. Now, maybe I'm old fashioned but I still like the watermelon with the black seeds. I just don't think "seedless" watermelons taste as good...and anyway they're not really seedless, the seeds are just white and a little softer/smaller than the black ones. Remember growing up and spitting those seeds as far as you could while the juice was running down your fingers? Are we going to deny a whole generation of kids this thrill by feeding them seedless watermelons? Pffft. Let's not forget the grapes are coming out as well as black mission figs and of course you've seen those delicious deep dark red cherries or even the yellow-red rainiers. Now are you seeing that summer color palette?

So, on with the Bruschetta recipe.
Dylan emailed this recipe and it's dated 08/09/2001. I taped it to my refrigerator and would make it every year when tomatoes came into season. She tells me she got the recipe from a book entitled Vegetarian Cooking of the Mediterranean.

Getting Ready for those Tasty Tomatoes Bruschetta
1 medium tomato, diced
6 sundried tomatoes, chopped (I used the ones in oil, you can also used dried ones that are soaked in water until soft)
1/2 bunch of basil, cut into thin strips
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and drained, optional (I'm not a fan of them so I leave them out)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 French Baguette, sliced on the diagonal about 1/4 inch thick

Mix together all ingredients except bread. Let the tomato mixture sit so the flavors will marry while you toast the bread. Set over to 350 degrees F. Place bread slices on a baking sheet and bake in over until golden, 3-5 minutes. Turn bread over and repeat. (Note: We have been known to slap slices of bead in the toaster and "cheat".)


Red Potato Slices Roasted with Lemon and Olives

I know this sounds really weird, in fact it sounded so weird I had to try it! And guess what, it was really good. You can eat the lemon slices, rind and all, which I liked but dylan did not so she picked them out. The flavor here is wonderful and refreshing and quite spring like.

Red Potato Slices Roasted with Lemon and Olives
from The Best of Fine Cooking Fresh Spring/Summer 2006

2 lb. medium or large red potatoes (about 5 medium), scrubbed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 Tbs. olive oil; more for the pan
1 lemon, very thinly sliced (discard the ends and seeds)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (I used sea salt)
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup pitted olives (Recipe called for oil-cured olives, didn't specify the type. I used water packed kalamatas because that is what I had on hand and it turned out fine).

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Generously oil a large baking dish (9x13, oval gratin, or you can use a cast iron skillet like I did).
In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, the 3 Tbs. oil, lemon slices, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper; toss well. Spread the potato mixture in the baking dish so the potatoes are evenly layered (it can be rustic looking). Roast, turning the potatoes with a spatula every 20 minutes, until most of the potatoes are crisp and golden and the lemon skins are shriveled and caramelized, about 1 hour. Scatter the olives over the potatoes for the last 3 to 5 minutes of cooking.

I served this with sauteed chard. Enjoy!