I hate to say it, but I’m pretty sure my days of canning are over. Or at least on pause for a while.
I’m not opposed to doing it again, but I learned something pretty quickly after our big garden and endless canning motivation back in Kentucky – we can’t eat it all. Especially when it is jam, or jalapenos, or relish.
Salsa we did a pretty good job of polishing off, but the rest of it? It was just too much to have around or even to give away.
These days my time is spent making small batches of jam in a saucepan and popping it in the fridge, versus a water bath for long term storage. Same goes for pickling – it is small batch quick pickling all the way.
Growing up we always had cucumber salad in the summer made with a sugar and vinegar dressing.
I still make a similar version, but with a bit less sugar. Occasionally I throw in other veggies which is how this salad came about.
There are two things I love about summer – sweet corn and white nectarines.
Normally, I wouldn’t think of putting the two together, but lately I’ve had this thing for mixing fruits into savory foods. I’m a huge fan of the of sweet and savory and combining fruits and veggies feels like a better habit to me than, say, eating too much salted caramel.
So blueberries sometimes find their way into chicken salad and cherries often appear in my bean salads.
Given this new habit I found myself wanting to try nectarines with my corn. My first thought was a corn fruit salsa, but then I decided to skip the chips and eat this as a summer side dish.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve abruptly slammed on my brakes at the sight of fruit for sale since moving to California. Don’t worry, I’m careful. But at least one of every 10 drives involves a brake and swerve.
In this case, it was local cherries.
I’d lost track of the timing since last year, and I wasn’t quite sure what week to expect seeing trucks with them for sale parked at intersections. I was less than a mile from the house last week, when a truck came into view.
No. It couldn’t be. Is it that time already?
I was coming from behind the display so the truck was blocking my view. But just as I got close enough to see those round, glossy cherries piled high in cups lining a folding table – brake, swerve, park.
I’ve always wanted a messy garden. I know that sounds strange. Most people want a gorgeously organized, symmetrical growing plot with every veggie in its place.
Not me. I’ve always loved the look of gardens that are bursting at the seams with greenery growing in every direction. Like a forest gone wild that produces food.
This might be because I lack the skill to produce one of those perfect gardens. Maybe I’m drawn to messy gardens because they are easier to maintain. But really it’s how they look.
I’m getting there.
I totally cheated.
I was walking through the supermarket and it was about 11:15. Lunchtime was quickly creeping up on me, but I knew that I’d have to dive back into recipe work for clients the second I got back home.
I needed something quick to make, but I couldn’t get my mind off the piles of winter squash all around me in the produce section.
I wanted roasted squash. On a salad. With other fall-like things.
So I went over to that little section with all the pre-cut veggies. And there it was. Little cubes of butternut squash ready to pop in the oven.
I buy jicama once in a blue moon. I have no idea why. Every time I get it into my kitchen, I marvel at the crunchy texture and its snackability. (Technically not a word, but it should be, don’t you think?)
So in honor of not completely going all fall on you with recipes, I picked one up last week to show that I still have a little light and refreshing summer left in me. I thought I’d show you what I do with it. It’s also known as the simplest salad ever.
If you’ve been reading my blog a long while this combination won’t surprise you. I starting eating one form or another of cantaloupe tomato salad back in 2011. For those of you who might be new readers, hear me out.
I know it sounds like a strange combination, but I promise it is so good! There is something about the sweetness of both the melon and the tomatoes that is delicious when combined and then drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with black pepper. It’s a refreshing twist to most of the summer salads you’ve had so far this year.
I have some strong opinions about tofu. To be honest, I feel sorry for it. Somewhere along the lines in our food culture it got pegged as a health-nut, granola, only-vegans-eat-it kind of food.
If those are the reasons you eat it, that’s great and all, but I discovered tofu in a much different way and associate it with a very different style of eating.
Early last year I was on a huge salad hiatus. I simply couldn’t get salads to taste good anymore. They were too bland, too blah. Quite frankly, they were living up to their reputation of tasting like cardboard and rabbit food.
Then one day I was assisting with a photo shoot and the recipe editor announced that she had made us a big salad for lunch. Expecting a few leaves of romaine and bottled dressing, I grabbed a bowl and headed to the kitchen.
Next she asked if we would like a poached egg. I love poached eggs, but I’d never tried an egg on a salad. I accepted as I cast my eyes over all the delicious toppings set out on the counter next to a large bowl of mixed greens tossed in a simple miso dressing.
This salad dressing combines tangy lemon and creamy walnuts for a flavor that will bring out the best in mixed greens, pasta or grains!
Salad season will soon be here. That probably sounds a little strange coming from someone who now lives in a place that most people would consider spring and summer year round.
I always thought that my salad cravings were controlled by the seasons, but I’ve learned that this is not the case. Apparently they are controlled by the months on the calendar. Despite sunshine and vegetables being plentiful all the time, I still really only want salads April through August.