Labor Day is creeping up, the kids are back in school, and Valencia Street's baristas have decamped for Burning Man. By San Francisco's calendar, this means, finally, that summer's on its way.
Of course, when it comes to the growing season of the farms surrounding us, summer has been in full hot, sunny swing for months. All the time we were shivering under the 5 o'clock onslaught of wind and fog, tomatoes were reddening, corn kernels were filling out, milky and plump, and melon were getting sweeter by the hour. Which means, now that it's warm enough to picnic, at last, it's also the perfect time to make the most of summer's bounty. Here, Bay Area Bites' selection of delectable late-summer recipes for your patio-dining pleasure.
Tomato Pie by Stephanie Hua
Stephanie Hua missed her favorite Philly-style tomato pie, which she describes as "a simple pleasure of thick, soft crust, and sweet, tangy tomato sauce." This cheeseless pie is just the thing for vegans or the lactose-intolerant, since it's just a springy, focaccia-like crust topped with a thick slather of summery red sauce. Her secret? Roasting fresh tomatoes for 30 minutes to concentrate their flavor for the sauce.
Early Girl Tomato Sauce by Stephanie Hua
Now's the time to get great deals on tomatoes, whether you pick your own, get extras from your CSA farmer, or buy by the flat at the farmers' market. This Early Girl tomato sauce is Bay Area favorite for canning and freezing. For extra-intense flavor, look for dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes. We especially like those grown by Tomatero Farm in Aptos. Sign up for their CSA veggie-box program, or look for them at the Alemany and Grand Lake Farmers' Markets on Saturday,or at the Temescal and Marin Civic Center Farmers' Market on Sunday.
BLT with Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
B, L, Oven-Roasted Cherry T by Michael Procopio
What's the big deal about cherry tomatoes? Michael Procopio didn't know until the day when a chef colleague grabbed a double handful of tiny tomatoes, tossed them in a pie pan with salt, pepper, butter, and thyme and popped them in the oven. "When they emerged," he wrote, "They were heat-burst, saucy, and very, very tomato-y." Prepared like this, the tomatoes, not the bacon, get the spotlight for a change.
Melon and Proscuitto Risotto
Melon Proscuitto Risotto by Stephanie Hua
Love melon and proscuitto? Now you can have the same taste sensation in an fast and delicious entree.
Melon Gazpacho by Shuna Lydon
Is it a salsa? A soup? A dessert? When Shuna Lydon worked in the kitchen at Citizen Cake and Aziza, she served it as all these things. However you use it, this heady, fragrant mix of melon, tomato, stone fruit, mango, and cucumber captures the essence of summer. Top it with a scoop of fruit sorbet for a cool vegan dessert; tumble its colorful dice atop grilled shrimp or fresh sardines for a fresh take on outdoor barbecue.
End of Summer Squid Salad by Stephanie Rosenbaum
Three kinds of melon, plus stir-fried squid, star in this refreshing Asian-inspired summer salad, sparked up with lime, chiles, cilantro, and Thai basil. And squid, which swims happily in Monterey Bay, is a particularly sustainable choice for local seafood.
DIY Watermelon Slushie by Denise Santoro Lincoln
Better than anything at 7-11, this summer cooler goes down easy on a sunny afternoon. Add a shot of tequila and a splash of Cointreau to make it into a grownups' frozen watermelon margarita, colorful as an Acupulco sunset.
Summer Corn Salsa by Stephanie Rosenbaum
Throw some fresh Pacific salmon or arctic char on the grill, and top it with this fast Summer Corn Salsa. Serve with grilled polenta squares flecked with sauteed red peppers for a double corn delight.
Roasted Cream of Corn Chowder with Parsley Pistou
Roasted Cream of Corn Chowder with Parsley Pistou by Denise Santoro Lincoln
When the sun goes down and the temperature drops, keep the taste of summer going with this rich and delicious Roasted Corn Chowder dotted with parsley pistou, a perfect August supper alongside an heirloom tomato and avocado salad.
Corn Pudding by Stephanie Rosenbaum
Before autumn's shorter days and longer nights flip the switch on your backyard chickens' laying habits, make the most of summer's bounty of fresh eggs with this delectable savory pudding, studded with sweet fresh corn. Add a handful of fresh basil or a few fresh thyme leaves before baking to capture the scent of summer for your table.