Here are a few recipes that use summer produce whether its rhubarb, blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries; or cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, and/or zucchini. These fresh items will enhance the recipe with their crispness and flavor.

Here are a few recipes that use summer produce whether its rhubarb, blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries; or cabbage, tomatoes, green beans, and/or zucchini. These fresh items will enhance the recipe with their crispness and flavor.


Pork Chops with Blueberry Sauce

1 2 - 3 pound boneless rolled pork loin roast

2 cups blueberry sauce (recipe below)

cup granulated sugar

cup blueberry juice

teaspoon Dijon mustard

Pinch of ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons cold water

cup fresh blueberries

Place pork in a 5-quart slow cooker.

In a bowl stir together blueberry sauce, sugar, blueberry juice, mustard, and cinnamon. Pour over pork, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender. Remove roast and keep warm.

Skim fat from juices; pour juices into a 2-cup measuring cup, adding water if needed to measure 2-cups. Pour into a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth, whisk into pan juices; bring to a boil; cook and whisk for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste. Add cup fresh blueberries to gravy and use for pork loin. Slice pork and serve with blueberry sauce.

Blueberry Sauce

2 cups fresh blueberries

cup granulated sugar

juice of one lemon

2 tablespoons rum or brandy (Optional)

Wash and drain blueberries. In a blender combine blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, and rum. Blend until coarse blueberries appear.


Strawberry - Rhubarb Salad

This is a delightful combination of sweet strawberries and tart raw rhubarb.

cup toasted pecans or walnuts

2 fresh rhubarb stalks, leaves removed entirely, thinly sliced on the diagonal

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon orange liqueur or fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and quartered

cup torn fresh baby arugula leaves

Toast pecans in a 350 degree oven on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally until a golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool, and set aside.

In a salad bowl toss rhubarb, sugar, orange liqueur or orange juice, and lemon juice. Let it sit until rhubarb is slightly softened and releases its juices about 30-40 minutes, do not soak for more than an hour or rhubarb will be too soft. Toss in strawberries and arugula. When ready to serve toss in toasted nuts.


Blackberry-Strawberry Chutney

1 cups blackberries

cup finely chopped Vidalia onion or sweet onion

juice of lime

2 tablespoon brown sugar

Pinch of salt

cup fresh strawberries, coarsely chopped

Over medium heat in a saucepan cook, stirring, blackberries, onion, lime juice, brown sugar, and salt, until berries break down, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes then stir in strawberries. Serve with pork, chicken or shrimp.


Parchment Baked Fish and Tomatoes

Parchment paper

1 8-ounce package thin green beans (haricots verts), cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small Vidalia onion or sweet onion, thinly sliced

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed and chopped (Optional)

2 large tomatoes, chopped

4 4-ounce fresh white fish fillets (flounder, grouper, tilapia, or snapper)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 fresh lemon, cut into 4-slices, trim ends off

1 tablespoon dried sweet basil, chopped

2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Make four 17-inch squares of parchment paper. Lay on top of a rimmed baking sheet.

In a bowl toss together green beans, onion slices, tomatoes, and peppers. Divide this equally placing on squares of parchment. Top each one with a fish fillet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle with olive oil. Squeeze juice from lemon over fish, place one lemon slice on each fillet.

Bring parchment paper sides up over mixture; double fold top and sides to seal, making 4-packets.

Place pan with packets in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until a thermometer registers 140 degrees when inserted through paper into fish. Place each packet on a serving plate and cut open. Sprinkle fish with basil and parsley. Serve immediately.


Creamy Coleslaw with Raisins

1 small green cabbage, finely shredded

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sour cream

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

2 large carrots, coarsely grated

cup raisins (I use the light raisins.)

cup Vidalia or sweet onion, coarsely chopped (Optional)

In a bowl whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, mayonnaise, and sour cream; add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

In a large bowl toss together cabbage, carrots, onions (optional), and raisins. Pour in chilled dressing and toss thoroughly to coat. Refrigerate, covered until slaw begins to soften about 2 hours or up to 2-days, before serving, toss coleslaw again.


Zucchini Salad

2 pounds fresh zucchini, thinly sliced as coins

3 tablespoons EVOO, olive oil

cup fresh lemon juice (from one lemon)

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

cup grated Parmesan cheese

cup toasted sunflower seeds

Place zucchini slices in a large bowl and gently toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and sunflower seeds. Serve immediately.


Blueberry-Pecan Coffee Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cups granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

1 stick room temperature butter, half a cup, cubed

cup pecans or walnuts, chopped

cup rolled oats

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

teaspoon baking soda

1 cup milk

1 large egg, room temperature

3 cups fresh blueberries

teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into tiny pieces

Butter and flour a 9-inch square pan and set aside.

In a bowl whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add butter cubes, and mash with a fork.

Transfer cup of mixture to another bowl and stir in cup chopped pecans, rolled oats and brown sugar. This is for the cakes topping. Set aside.

Stir together baking powder and baking soda. Stir into flour/butter mixture, stir in milk and egg. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Sprinkle 3 cups blueberries evenly on top of batter then sprinkle with a mixture of 1-tablespoon sugar and teaspoon cinnamon, spoon topping over batter and dot with 1-tablespoon butter pieces.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 55-65 minutes, until a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes.


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.