Next Monday, May 28, is Memorial Day and the official kickoff to summer. Whether you’re celebrating with a barbeque or summer cocktails, CMB has all the ingredients for you to make hosting look easy! All season long we’ll be sharing great ideas and products meant for summertime and we would love for you to share your thoughts about summer food and entertaining items you can’t live without.
No one knows better how to handle the heat and humidity of summer like natives from the coast of South Carolina and Georgia: the Lowcountry. According to John Martin Taylor, author of Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking, the Lowcountry encompasses the southern coast from Pawley’s Island to the Savannah River. The most famous communities and most popular travel destinations on this stretch of waterfront are Hilton Head Island and Beaufort, and some guides include Charleston in the Lowcountry region.
The food from the Lowcountry reflects the saltwater marshes and rich aquatic life that keeps local kitchens stocked. Seafood, rice, grits and fresh produce are integral parts of true Lowcountry dishes. CMB has helped bring these coastal flavors to New York City this summer with a great line of products from Lowcountry Produce. We are proud and thrilled to be carrying this small vendor’s product at CMB because they support local farmers and are committed to traditional southern food production.
To speed up Memorial Day prep, put a jar (or two if you’re expecting a houseful) of the Garden Tomato Gazpacho ($10.95) in the refrigerator and serve thoroughly chilled with a dollop of sour cream and, for a heartier meal, cold peeled shrimp. Made with tomatoes that were packed at the height of ripeness and taste of sunshine and rich loam, crisp green bell peppers and onions, the gazpacho packs a flavorful burst of summer and cold soup will help keep everyone cool when the temperature starts rising (you don’t want to end up with “hot-zapacho”).
If you’re grilling up a storm, either the Artichoke Relish ($7.95) or Corn Relish ($7.95) make unusual, but delicious pairings with meat! Don’t be deceived by the nomenclature: Lowcountry Produce’s Artichoke Relish is actually made with Jerusalem artichokes, or sunchokes, which resemble a potato or root vegetable more than a Mediterranean artichoke. The sweet and tangy combination based on a long-standing family recipe more than holds its own with a grilled chicken breast or hamburger, and is one of the reasons this relish is a best selling product at CMB.
For a pork tenderloin or catfish, Lowcountry Produce’s suggestion of topping with Corn Relish sounds delicious, but you could serve it straight out of the jar with black beans as a hearty vegetarian side dish, too!
For simple summer snacking, you can’t beat the Peach Salsa ($7.95). Cilantro livens up peaches in a dip that is sweet without being cloying. Like many of their other items, you can use this as an ingredient or on its own: serve with scoop-friendly chips, there are full pieces of peach that you’ll want to claim, or heat and spoon over your favorite white fish just before serving.
One last note- while not necessarily a summer food, there is one product from Lowcountry Produce that CMB especially endorses, regardless of the season: Sweet Potato Butter ($7.95). Use it on toast and pastries in the morning, mix into cheesecake filling for a Thanksgiving dessert twist- we love this product so much, we’ve actually mentioned it before on the blog and Tina has offered several other options for using it.
Summer is nearly here, and beginning with Lowcountry Produce we’ve offered a preview of what’s to come as we taste our way through some favorite summer products! We look forward to hearing about your go-to ingredients for summer, and sharing our adventures in grilling, baking, and cocktail making in the coming months. See you at the store!