|Fun & Food
HOTTER THAN JULY!!
This is summer! Gather fun things to enjoy on the beach. For starters, try a great, romantic, summer read, True Season of Love, by yours truly.
I suggest a wide-brim hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, CD player, iPod, large beach towel, and other accoutrements to keep you comfy.
My tote has a hodgepodge of the above, including damp wash cloths in a plastic baggy. I will not leave home without sunscreen, lipstick, mints, Rolaids, aspirin, and Hand Wipes.
Stave off the hot sun under a giant umbrella. Lie back and relax. Inhale and exhale (Awareness of the breath is the essence of mindfulness—Thich Nhat Hanh); focus on the calm; waves crashing against the shore, a gentle breeze caressing your skin, and the scent of the sea. Hold your love's hand, and enjoy.
Let loose at twilight! Find a restaurant with good food, happy people, toe-tapping, live music and a dance floor.
Enjoy the rhythmic beats of a saucy salsa with your love! Feel invigorated; swing your hips to a naughty salsa or rumba, and shuffle and sway to the cha-cha.
There is plenty of time to think about climate change, the ozone, air pollutants, man-made and natural disasters. I am not suggesting you forget these issues, or other worldly concerns. But I do hope you find time to have a glorious, fun summer.
All the best,
P. S. Below are some great recipes for backyard barbeques and/or picnics.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup of honey
1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon natural liquid smoke flavoring
¾ teaspoon crush dried red pepper flakes
1 center-cut salmon fillet (about 2 pounds), skin on, in 1 piece
2. Combine butter, honey, brown sugar, lemon juice, liquid smoke, red pepper flakes in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until smooth, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
3. Arrange the salmon in a dish, just large enough to hold it. Pour the cooled marinade over it, and let it stand for 30 minutes, turning once.
4. Prepare hot coals for grilling. Oil the grill well (it prevents sticking), and cook the salmon, skin side up, over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. Then turn it over and cook until the fish flakes easily, another 5 to 7 minutes. (Don't overcook!)
5. Transfer the fish to a platter, and serve immediately. 4 portions.
Options: Serve with grilled eggplant. (Dab olive oil, salt and pepper over sliced eggplant before grilling). Add sweet corn grilled in aluminum foil. Serve corn with butter. Add oregano, dill, etc. to spike up your butter.
Wine: Fume Blanc or Summer Rose Sangria (recipe below)
Tomato Feta Salad
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes, red or mixed colors
- ¾ cup small-diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons good white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar
- 3 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ¾ pound feta cheese
Cut the tomatoes in half and place them in a large bowl. Add the onion, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, and parsley and toss well. Dice the feta into a ½- to ¾-inch dice, crumbling it as little as possible. Gently fold it into the salad and serve at room temperature.
Middle Eastern Vegetable Salad
- 10 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded, cored, and Â½-inch-diced
- 1 hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded, and Â½-inch-diced
- 1 can or jar (12 to 16 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1/3 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (4 lemons)
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup good olive oil
- 8 ounces good feta cheese, Â½-inch-diced
- Toasted pita bread, for serving
Place the scallions, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, parsley, mint, and basil in a large salad bowl and toss to combine.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing gently to coat all the vegetables. Add the feta, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss gently. Serve the salad with the toasted pita bread.
Desserts: Strawberry shortcake, peach cobbler, or fresh fruit
Summer Rose Sangria
1 (750 ml) bottle good rose wine
1/2 cup Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
1/4 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy
Water and ice, plus extra ice for serving
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
8 large fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 red plums, pitted and sliced ¼ inch thick
Combine the rose pomegranate juice, lemon juice, sugar, Grand Marnier, Cognac, 1 cup of water, and 1 cup of ice in a large glass pitcher. Stir in the raspberries, strawberries, and plums, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
When ready to serve, fill wine goblets or highball glasses halfway with ice. Pour the sangria over the ice, spooning some of the macerated fruit into each glass. Serve ice cold.