So many beautiful fruits and veggies are at the peak of their season right now so it's a great time to take advantage of the flavor and freshness of summer produce.
I tend to get very nostalgic (and a lot excited) about all the wonderful things ripening in the summer sun, partly because it reminds me of my mother’s farm garden, but also because finding a perfectly sweet, ripe watermelon or incredibly tender, fresh sweet corn is like finding treasure. Crisp cucumber without a hint of bitterness and fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes only happen once a year and now is the time to relish the summer bounty.
There are so many beautiful things to choose from, it’s hard to pick favorites but here are two recipes that I must have every year while the flavor and texture of the produce are at their best.
If you haven't tried fresh, organic heirloom tomatoes yet, don't let the summer pass by without making at least one tomato and basil salad with some good, organic California olive oil.
Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad
4 large multi-colored heirloom tomatoes, washed and dried
1 large ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
Extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Slice the tomatoes into 1/2-inch thick slices. Lightly season the tomato slices
with salt. Arrange the tomato and cheese slices on a platter, by alternating tomato and cheese, overlapping slightly. Garnish with torn basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Cooling cucumber salad is ideal when it’s too hot to cook and cucumbers are great for relieving water retention and swollen ankles.
Simple Cucumber Dill Salad
1 large cucumber or 4 Persian cucumbers
1 cup organic yogurt or kefir (goat milk is preferable)
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tbsp fresh dill, minced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
Cut cucumber into bite size chunks. Combine all ingredients, stir well. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
This refreshing salad is also great with the addition of tomatoes. Try a little freshly minced mint and/or flat leaf parsley for variety. You may also add 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric to boost the anti-inflammatory properties and add an earthy flavor.