Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ode to Summer........Part I

For the love of Mike, is anyone out there????????

Anyway............for anyone out there who might be listening, the days are already getting shorter here and the evenings are already showing their early chill, so I can can definitely tell that fall is here and summer is, well, on its way out.  So I thought I would dedicate my next two posts to lady summer.  Now let it be said that summer is not my favorite time of the year, sweating like a dog in heat while squeezing myself into a swimsuit (my child happens to be a water bug) is really not my idea of a good time.  I especially looked Shamu-rific this summer, so the thought of finally being able to disguise myself in over sized sweaters is especially appealing.  However, summer does bring out the best produce and therefore the most variety in fresh food available.  So I had to think about what sort of food epitomizes summer.  Of course barbecue came to mind (coming soon to a blog near you), but so did a great salad, using locally grown, very fresh produce.  But I didn't want to put together something involving lettuce, because let's face it, you can get great lettuce in the fall.  Then I remembered that I do love to add fruit to my salads and on one of my foodie outings (which I will tell you about later) I found some great nectarines and these wonderful locally grown Persian cucumbers.  Then light dawned on marble head, and I realized that quite possibly nectarines and cucumbers might be great bed fellows, and a recipe was born.............

Nectarine and Cucumber Salad with Fresh Mint

4-5 large nectarines sliced
1 large cucumber thinly sliced
1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons fresh mint chopped

In a small bowl whisk the vinegar and olive oil together until well emulsified.  Add the sugar, salt, and pepper and set aside.  In a large bowl combine the nectarines, cucumber, and red onion.  Drizzle the dressing over the nectarine mixture and toss gently to coat.  Sprinkle the chopped mint over the salad and toss again.  Let it sit for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to combine before serving. 
Honestly, I ate this for dinner, all by itself, with a good piece of crusty bread smeared with great brie while I watched the sun go down in my backyard.  It was heavenly, and reminded me about all the things I love about summer, and will miss in the dead of winter! 

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