Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: It’s fresh and it’s local

Okanagan residents are blessed at this time of year with an abundance of fresh, local fruit and vegetables

It’s a good thing to realize how blessed we are  to live in this amazing and beautiful part of the province, especially when it comes to the abundance of locally grown fruits and vegetables available.

Cherries, apricots and raspberries are on their way out now, but peaches, pears, plums, melons of all sorts, and apples are just coming in from local farmers. Right now fresh corn, a huge variety of peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and countless other locally grown vegetables are available from local markets in the area.

There is no end to the fruits and veggies you can throw into a salad so be creative.  Salsas can be super fresh right now with homegrown corn, tomatoes, peppers, green onions, or anything that strikes your fancy. Today’s salsa dish is a great one for putting on your tacos and you can make a seriously awesome meal in a very short time by just grilling some meat or fish and serving on taco shells. Now is the time to eat fresh.

Peaches & Pepper Carpaccio Salad

with Corn and Red Quinoa

(Recipe from Massimo Capra)

Roasted peppers: red, yellow and green, skinned and seeded

2 firm peaches, julienned

½ red onion, julienned

½ cup celery heart, julienned

½ cup peaches & cream corn kernels, roasted

½ cup red quinoa, cooked

Salt & pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. lime juice

White balsamic vinegar

Olive oil to taste

2 Tbsp. toasted almonds, crushed

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

To roast pepper: cut in half and place under broiler at least 10 inches from element, until skin is blackened. Remove, cool and skins will easily peel off.

Place the peaches, red onions, celery, corn and quinoa in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and a dousing of lime juice, mix well then add a little white balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Set aside for 10 minutes or so. Place one colour each of the peppers flat onto plates and leave room in the centre to add the peach salad. Sprinkle with toasted almonds, a drizzle more of olive oil and a little cilantro. Delicious!

Fresh Corn and Peach Salsa

3 medium peaches, ripe but firm, peeled and diced

1 cup corn, raw and removed from ear

1 large tomato, diced

2 green onions, thinly sliced

2 jalapeno peppers, diced (optional)

6 basil leaves, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Best when made 2 hours in advance to allow flavours to come together. Refrigerate leftovers.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday.