The calendar says August. The thermometer is registering 80 degrees. The humidity outside can be cut with a knife. That sure sounds like Summer to me. Yet most schools are back in session, or will be soon. The stores are filled with “Back To School” clothes and if you look beyond the Halloween displays there is the faintest hint of Christmas creeping onto the shelves. I was in retail long enough to know that is all part of the corporate marketing plan, but wait a minute (or at least a few weeks). It’s still SUMMER!!!
The air conditioning is on more than it is off in my house. There are still tomatoes on the vine, but last week I opened my mailbox and found a Fall food magazine…I’m not ready for this. I’m still enjoying the fruits of summer, and the vegetables, too. I grill out almost every night (okay, I do that a lot at other times of the year, but still…). Living in the Midwest, Fall means Winter, and that means cold and snow and ice. There will be plenty of time for hearty soups and squash gratins, so let’s put all of that aside and focus on the here and now of Summer.
Vegetables are still at their peak. We are blessed with fresh local sweet corn. Local meaning the ears were in the fields this morning less than five miles from home. I admit that I am a Midwestern corn snob. I love it on the cob, brushed with butter, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. I adore it grilled as is or off the cob used in recipes. Corn is having its heyday and that’s just fine with me.
Grilled corn is a wonderful addition to many dishes. I recently used it in a Gazpacho that featured cucumbers, peppers, and of course tomatoes. Call it a soup, call it a liquid salad, it’s a wonderful way to use summer’s vegetable bonanza. Use what you have or what calls to you at the market. This gazpacho recipe will give you a jumping off place like the diving board at the deep end of the pool.
Summer is salad time. I’ve shared lots of different kinds this season. There is a salad that provides the healthy veggies that you need and has the crunchy chew of crusty bread. I’m talking about Panzanella. Any vegetable can join the merriment and any rustic or crusty bread will provide the perfect counterpoint. Again, this recipe is a basic guideline to be played with like croquet mallets on a summer lawn.
These are two of many recipes that shout summer to me. From early June to the last harvest, the bounty of summer vegetables can bring health and tasty variety to your table. Summertime seems to fly by more than any other season. The long days and warm nights are gone far too quickly. So, I’ll ignore the sweaters and boots in the stores and turn a blind eye to the Halloween costumes…there’s plenty of time to go there when it really is Fall. I’m holding on to Summer a little longer. Love, Mama D