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Cooking with Summer Ingredients by Julia Nordgren, MD

This weekend I reached out to Julia Nordgren, MD, Chef and author of The New Family Table cookbook about how best to capture the wonderful seasonal ingredients of summer.

What are your biggest sources of inspiration for summer cooking?

Summer is one of my favorite times of year for eating! And while I love to cook, I probably spend the least amount of time cooking in the summer.

Summer is when what I eat is completely inspired by what is fresh and abundant. The fruit and vegetables are so vibrant and delicious. Just a little slicing, maybe some grilling - the best summer food needs very little fuss!

I grew up in New England, where summer is synonymous with fresh tomatoes and corn. We would wait impatiently for the first tomatoes, and once they started popping off the vine, we would eat them with reckless abandon. And every summer I’d spend time with my grandmother in New Jersey, and each day we would stop at the farm stand for the most fragrant corn we could find. 

What are your thoughts on eating seasonally and locally?

When seasons change I take full advantage of the produce they offer. So when summer comes, the many vegetables and fruits need very little help to taste amazing. If you have had the chance to eat tomatoes off the vine, or corn the same day it has been picked, you know how mind-blowing the flavor can be. While you can get these items off-season, they lose so much flavor during their long journey from vine to the supermarket. And they can also lose nutrients along the way. Getting vegetables and fruits close to the source  - a farm stand, a weekly farmer’s market, your neighbor’s garden, or your own garden - is always the best way to ensure great flavor and nutritional value!

Please share a favorite summer recipe.

This is one of my favorite salads which reminds me of summers at my grandmother's, where any leftover corn on the cob was eaten happily!

Summer Corn Salad

4 ears corn

1 ripe avocado, cubed

1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 TB olive oil, divided

Juice of 1 lime

2 Tb chopped cilantro

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut the corn off of the cob by holding it upright and slicing top to bottom with a sharp knife. Be sure to hold it firmly at the top with your non-cutting hand so you don’t cut yourself. Slice on all sides until all corn is removed.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the corn and cook, stirring frequently, until the corn is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Stir corn, avocado, and tomatoes together in a serving bowl. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings, and serve.

Julia Nordgren, MD, Chef

Dr. Julia Nordgren is a physician, an expert in childhood obesity and cholesterol disorders, and a trained chef.

She received her medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School in 1999. She is a board-certified pediatrician, and a specialist in dyslipidemias, weight management, and heart disease prevention. She is an active member of the National Lipid Association’s Pediatric Practice Management Committee, which strives to prevent heart disease through early lifestyle


She is the author of a cookbook, “The New Family Table,” a collection of recipes, techniques, and stories about making healthy family eating a reality.

Contact Information: Website: Instagram: @drjuliacooks

Book: Amazon

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