I decided to re-post this recipe from 2 years ago, it is the perfect solution to what must be happening in gardens all over right now. Squash and tomatoes coming on at an alarming rate right before your eyes. I love this easy, no cook salad, it's unusual, beautiful, seasonal and just right for entertaining.
My good friend Annie left a basket of summer produce from her garden on my front step the other day. It's fun to use these gestures as inspiration for my blog but I wondered what I could come up with that would be interesting and different enough that involves summer squash and tomatoes? Hasn't it all been done before? The answer came last night when I went to have dinner with my friend Carol. She was making a warm kale salad (she is always trying some new recipe!) and invited me to join her. I brought my garden offerings and at her suggestion, came up with this fabulous rendition of the classic Caprese! How refreshing to create such a simple salad with these 'all too often' over abundant summer garden ingredients! I hope you agree.
Summer Squash & Tomato Caprese
1 large, red garden tomato, sliced
10 small, gold cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 raw zucchini or trumpet squash, sliced on a mandoline
1 raw yellow crook neck squash, sliced on a mandoline
fresh mozzarella balls
fresh basil, torn into pieces
sea salt & freshly cracked pepper
good olive oil to drizzle
Arrange the tomato slices on a platter. Tuck the thinly sliced squash in between. .Place the golden tomatoes around the outside of the platter with the mozzarella balls, however many you feel is enough and still looks balanced. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the torn basil, sea salt and pepper. Serves 4.
My friend Sandra grows beautiful cucumbers, practically in one day! My favorite are the Armenian variety. They are so snappy and crunchy and the light green color is so cool and soothing. I like to cut the ends off, slice thickly and eat as a snack with only some good sea salt but I had purchased a melon the other day and I got to thinking about the combination of melon and cucumber. Here is the delicious result, an easy, refreshing summer salad that is a great side with any grilled meat or as a main dish just by adding some poached shrimp, You could even sprinkle with a bit of Feta cheese if you like. After I made this salad yesterday morning, I packed it up and took it to the lake! THE perfect picnic salad for a hot day.
Melon and Cucumber Salad
juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tsp honey
pinch of salt
1 T olive oil
1/2 Armenian or English cucumber or a combination, chunked
1/4 of an orange fleshed melon such as cantaloupe or orange honeydew, chunked
2 T red onion, sliced very thinly
generous pinch of hot pepper flakes
6 - 8 mint leaves, chopped fine
To make the vinaigrette, whisk the lime juice, honey and salt together in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in the olive oil to emulsify.
Put the chunked cucumber and melon in a bowl and add the lime zest, pepper flakes and red onion. Toss with the vinaigrette and chopped mint. Chill and serve within the next few hours. Serves 4 as a side.
Last Monday was a bookclub night for me and my 'bookies'. We always make an evening out of our meetings with decor, drinks and food in the spirit of the book we have read. We just finished reading a book about a Mexican-American family living in L.A. so the theme for dinner was Mexican. I decided to make the Mexican street corn known as Elote. Corn on the cob is shucked, grilled and then slathered with a mayo-sour cream mixture with garlic, cheese and cilantro, and is a beloved street food all over Mexico. It is usually presented on a sturdy stick for eating while strolling around town. This recipe is so easy and delicious, I predict that you will be eating your corn this way all summer long.
Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elotes)
1/4 c Best Foods mayonnaise
1/4 c sour cream or Mexican crema
1/2 c finely crumbled Feta cheese or Cotija
1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder (any chile powder will work but the smokiness of the chipotle is wonderful)
1 medium clove garlic, finely minced (about 1 tsp)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
pinch of salt and pepper
6 ears shucked corn, cut in half or left whole
1 lime, cut into 12 wedges
Preheat a gas grill or get your charcoal started.
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream or crema, cheese, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper and cilantro in a large bowl. Stir until blended and set aside. When grill is hot, place corn directly over hot side of grill and cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and charred in spots on all sides, about 8-10 minutes total. Transfer corn to bowl with cheese mixture and use a large spoon to evenly coat corn on all sides with mixture. Sprinkle with extra cheese and chili powder if desired and serve immediately with lime wedges.
Summer just isn't summer without ice cream. If you're like me, this simple indulgence usually means a trip to the grocery store or the local artisan ice cream parlor. Here's another idea...make it in minutes at home in your food processor! A simple blend of whipping cream, sugar and some frozen berries will have you enjoying this treat in minutes without leaving the house. Another tasty recipe from my friends Peter and Tari and their Roaring Camp Cafe Cooks, cookbook. Too good not to share. Let's all scream for ice cream.
Frozen Berry Cream
1/3 - 1/2 c sugar
1 c whipping cream
1 lb frozen fruit, unsweetened (I used a bag of mixed berries or freeze your own)
2 T liqueur (optional) Triple Sec or Cointreau
Whip cream with sugar in the food processor. When cream is almost firm, start dropping in pieces of frozen fruit. Continue to run the machine until all the fruit is blended in. Add the liqueur if using. Pour into a storage container and refreeze until ready to use.
Press between two chocolate cookie wafers for an ice cream sandwich or put on a sugar cone or in a parfait glass with a few more berries.
Note: Any of the frozen berries work well in this recipe, or a combination of berries. Try with frozen peaches or apricots. Add sugar depending on the sweetness of the fruit.
I never used to be much of a fresh apricot fan, but now I find them irresistible! Available in stores and Farmer's Markets for the next few months, these little darlings of summer are a sweet-tart, beautiful fruit with their happy, orange, sun kissed color. Use them in salads, wrap them in prosciutto or make them into salsa. High in antioxidants, iron and beta-carotene they are super good for you too!
1/2 lb of mixed baby greens, including arugula
1 5 oz chub of goat cheese
1/4 cup toasted, salted sunflower seeds
2 fresh apricots, cut in half and sliced
2 green onions, sliced thinly
Toss all ingredients with the vinaigrette and serve. Make sure the lettuce and the goat cheese are nice and cold, the cheese crumbles better when it’s cold. Serves 8.
2 t Dijon mustard
1/4 c Blenheim apricot balsamic vinegar (available at Marisolio in Murphys & on line)
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
pinch of kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
Whisk the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper together well. Slowly add in the olive oil, whisking to emulsify. This may make a bit more than you need but it’s great to have on hand for the next salad!
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"