* Fresh tomato blender soup: When the tomatoes are so red and ripe they are about to burst, peel a few (plunge them into boiling water for a few seconds to loosen the skin), halve and seed them, then put the pulp in a blender with herbs right from your garden (plenty of basil or dill or a light touch of tarragon), a big grinding of pepper and a dollop of sour cream, yogurt, cre me frai che or even buttermilk. Whirl till smooth, then serve in chilled soup bowls or drink from glass cups that let the pink show through.
* Grape juice: The fresh kind. Fill a saucepan with grapes and an inch of water. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer just until the skins begin to burst, not more than a few minutes. Strain and press the grapes through a sieve to leave the skins and seeds behind. Stir in sugar to taste, and chill. Serve diluted with water or club soda to your taste, or even champagne.
* Silver Queen corn on the cob: The tender, sweet, white kernels barely cooked. Either soak the ears (in the husk) in ice water for an hour and then grill over an open fire, at the back of the grill, turning frequently, for 10 minutes. Or husk the ears and then wrap them loosely in plastic wrap with a sprinkle of water, then cook for just a minute or two in a microwave oven. The corn, of course, must have been picked within 10 minutes of being cooked (or at least kept chilled between field and pot).
* Watermelon daiquiris: For two servings, cut 1 1/2 cups watermelon into cubes and seed it. Freeze until firm, then whirl it in a blender or food processor with 3 ounces rum, a pinch of salt, 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon or lime peel, and if you wish, a dash of orange liqueur. Blend or process for a full minute until the mixture becomes a smooth slush, and serve with a spoon and straw in stemmed glasses.
* Reeves strawberry pie: The open and the baked versions sell about 50-50, but older customers (those with the experience to know there is none other like it) prefer the two-crust baked pie. What makes it outstanding is not only 90 years of experience, but that it is baked at a high heat for a short time so that the crust browns but the berries retain a fresh, nearly raw taste.
* Cantaloupe filled with ice cream blended with ginger and lime: Soften vanilla ice cream and fold in plenty of grated fresh ginger and lime peel, then spoon it into cantaloupe halves.
* Beet greens: These most flavorsome greens are often to be had for free, after some foolish person has bought just the roots. Wash them very well, for they collect sand. Steam them in the water that clings to the leaves, then drain well and chop coarsely, including the colorful red stems. Finally, season the greens with salt and pepper and stir them in a hot skillet with butter until the butter has permeated the greens.
* Peach ice cream: On the way to his University Pastry Shop, 3234 Wisconsin Ave., George Andracsek picks up the ripest, softest peaches from his neighborhood produce stand two or three times a week. He mashes them into his 17 percent butterfat ice cream, about three bushels of peaches per 50 gallons of ice cream. Then he sells it every day but Sunday and Monday, a single-scoop cone for 80 cents, but you'll probably need a double, for $1.35.
* Lemonade: It must be fresh, but can be kept convenient by squeezing lemons ahead and combining the juice with a simple syrup made by boiling sugar in water until it dissolves, then letting it cool. Throw in the lemon peels, but fish them out after a few hours, lest they turn the lemonade concentrate bitter. Then, whenever you need it, stir a few spoonfuls of concentrate into a tall glass of ice water or club soda. And never forget the sprig of fresh mint to poise halfway in the glass when you serve it.
* Strawberry preserves: The new crop is at Homespun, 2102 18th St. NW. But we would wait -- or at least return -- for tomato preserves with ginger or hot tomato relish in July, along with cantaloupe and peach conserve and spiced blueberry preserves. And in August we would be heading for the peach chutney, made with white peaches, which are undeniably the best. Homespun is growing its own tiny yellow pear tomatoes and gherkins for pickling, and is hoping to get local peppers for the fiery pepper jelly it calls Riggs Bank Jelly.
* Summertime Peach Melba: Drop peaches into boiling water for a few seconds to loosen the skin, then peel and halve them. Top each half with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (preferably made at home) and top with a sauce of fresh raspberries smoothed in a blender with a dash of kirsch and sugar to taste.
* Pesto -- with everything: Basil from your garden, blended or processed with freshly grated parmesan, plenty of garlic, pine nuts or walnuts and olive oil, stored in the refrigerator with a coating of olive oil to seal it from air, livens and seasons everything from pasta (tossed with a couple of spoonfuls of boiling pasta water and the pesto) to mushroom caps (fill the centers and bake or broil) to vegetable soup (stir in the pesto as you serve it) to warm vinaigrette potato salad.
* Tomato salad: Italian style, sliced and fanned out, the slices alternated with sliced mozzarella and leaves of basil; or German style, diced and left to marinate for a few hours with oil and vinegar and chopped onion.
* Crabs: We are, after all, the Chesapeake Bay's neighbors. Spread a table with newspaper and get out the mallets and picks, and the beer, of course. You can buy crabs already steamed at any crab house, but if you don't like yours peppery, try buying them at Morgan's on the Maine Avenue Wharf, where they are steamed without seasoning, which is added afterward to your taste.
* Carpaccio: Don't grind your raw beef into steak tartare, slice it paper-thin (more easily done if it is partially frozen) and fan out on a plate as an appetizer to serve with a sauce of oil, vinegar, capers, anchovy, onion and dijon mustard, blended until thickened and nearly smooth.
* Corn fritters: After a summer of sweet corn -- as we would have it -- morning, noon and night, you might crave some variety. Here are the most unusual and delicious corn fritters we know, from a well-aged page of Gourmet magazine:
INDONESIAN CORN FRITTERS (4 to 6 servings) 4 ears of corn, uncooked 2 tablespoons grated onion 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 tablespoon finely chopped leek 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley 2 eggs 1 ounce finely chopped cooked shrimp 2 tablespoons flour, or more Salt to taste Oil for frying
Grate the corn into a bowl, and with the back of a knife, scrape off all the milk remaining on the cob. Add all the ingredients except the oil. If mixture is too moist to hold its shape on a spoon, add a little more flour. Drop batter by tablespoons into 1/2 inch hot oil in a skillet. Fry fritters until golden, turning to brown them evenly. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
* Cold cherry soup: Using fresh sweet or sour cherries, stew them in water with cinnamon and lemon peel until they are soft. Add a little sugar if sour cherries were used, perhaps a squeeze of lemon if sweet cherries were used. Thicken with a little cornstarch or arrowroot and serve hot or cold, with or without a dollop of sour cream.
* Hamburgers grilled with roquefort: Tuck the roquefort -- or any other cheese you like -- inside thick hamburgers before grilling them, taking care to seal the meat well around the cheese.
* Chicken salad made with fresh tarragon and lemon: And remember that the chicken tastes even better if it is marinated in a vinaigrette while still hot.
* Cantaloupe with blueberries & mint: Cut the cantaloupe into balls and combine with blueberries in a syrup of 2 parts sugar and one part water, boiled until sugar dissolves and then cooled, with a few sprigs of fresh mint chopped into the syrup. Let the whole thing blend for several hours in the refrigerator before serving in glass bowls.
* Swordfish grilled over charcoal: The fire should be an ashy gray, the fish cut thick and cooked just until the pink in the center begins to turn opaque.
* Cold rockfish with caper mayonnaise: Or any leftover fish, whole and coated with the mayonnaise or mashed together into an hors d'oeuvre spread.
* Strawberries romanoff: Or strawberries anything, just as long as they are locally grown and a fully ripe red.
* Vegetable salad: Diced cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes and scallions folded into yogurt or sour cream. Crunchy and cooling.
* Tabooli: Raid your neighbor's garden of mint and your nearest Middle Eastern grocery of bulgur, and combine both with oil, lemon, chopped onion and tomato.
* Herring-apple salad: Sharp and cool and addictive, a combination of diced pickled herring, apple, cold cooked beets and cold cooked potatoes, spiked with onion and dill, dressed with sour cream and lemon or vinegar. Tossed until well combined, it turns a fetching pink.
* Blueberry muffins: Sholl's cafeterias will be making them with fresh berries as soon as they ripen.
* Baby lima beans and freshly shelled peas: The Montgomery County Farm Women's Cooperative, in Bethesda, among others, will have them; and remember that the Bethesda market's raspberries may be the cheapest in town.
* Plum cake: For two months, starting around mid-August, the DeLuxe Bakery in White Oak will be selling its plum cake made with fresh Italian plums -- 15 pounds of them per sheet of cake -- and apricot glaze on a thin and flaky bottom crust, an old family recipe brought from Germany and now a Washington tradition.
* Wild blueberry jam: We've never tasted better than the intensely fragrant and runny, not-too-sweet jams from the American Spoon, sold at the five Garfinckel's stores that have food departments. The stores at the moment also have black raspberry and peach, selling for $5.50 to $6 a jar. But we will be waiting at the end of the summer for the new crop -- vintage dated, no less -- of wild blackberry, strawberry, red raspberry and the brand new apricot jams produced under this label by New York's River Cafe restaurant.
* Iced tea: Not from a can, not spooned out of a jar, but true iced tea, made from cold water brought to a boil and brewed with loose tea for three to five minutes in a warmed teapot, then strained and poured over ice. Preferably ice cubes made from leftover iced tea.