When delectable, seasonal produce begins to pile up in the stalls at the farmer's market or the local co-op, use these quick tips for inspiration. These fast fixes range from light and healthy to rich, and, at times, even unconventional.
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Sugar Snap Peas
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Sugar snap peas are a sweet, bright way to enhance any meal. For the simplest way to serve them, and showcase their oh-so-sweet flavor, steam them or sauté them in a hot pan with equal parts butter and olive oil. If you have any leftovers, the make a great additional to any salad, whether it's a chopped green salad, pasta salad, or a mélange of summer vegetables. To add an unmistakably summery flavor to any vegetable-based soup, add snap peas whole, or coarsely chopped.
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Strawberries are synonymous with the beginning of summer. Sweet, juicy, and ruby red, they make a striking addition to fruit-based and savory salads alike. Fill a bowl with strawberries to augment a European-style cafe au lait and pastry breakfast, and splash a little heavy cream onto the berries, for a luxurious touch. A more healthful spin on a bowl of strawberries, drizzle them with premium quality balsamic vinegar or a balsamic reduction. Balsamic berries make a great addition to grilled chicken.
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Bundles of fresh mint leaves are popping up in CSA produce boxes and at the farmer's markets in June. Chop it up and add it to fruit salad with a drizzle of honey. Muddle it into lemonade and cocktails, being sure to give the leaves a good, hard crush to release the mint oil for heavenly scent and flavor. The most old-fashioned way to enjoy fresh mint is brewed in tea. For centuries, mint tea has been used to aid digestion. Bring steeped mint up-to-date for summer by adding it to refreshing, classic iced tea, or by chilled mint tea.
Blueberries are a favorite end-of-June staple. Aside from tossing them in fruit salads and cereal, which never loses its fresh appeal, try layering them in verrines, also known as parfaits, with strained yogurt or pastry cream. Berries lend themselves to savory dishes quite well. Reduce a few handfuls of blueberries and a splash of red wine into a sauce, season it with salt and pepper, and serve it with poultry or pork.
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