Summer has finally arrived, which means there’s more daylight for all of our favorite warm-weather activities: bike riding through the mountains, refreshing dips in the lakes and streams, live outdoor music, and, of course, dining alfresco. Enjoy the beautiful summer nights by sharing an outdoor get-together with family and friends— one of life’s simple pleasures. Plan a menu that includes summertime favorites, especially the food you miss the freshness of through the colder months. Indulge in the brightly colored summer produce.
cucumber tomato salad
Start off with our family’s summer favorite vibrant and refreshing tomato, cucumber salad.
Heirloom Tomatoes • 4 or 5
Fresh Cucumbers • 2
Red Onion • 1/2
Olive Oil • 4 Tbsp
Basil & a pinch of Salt
At their ripest in mid-July to early October, locally grown tomatoes can’t be beat. In beautiful shades of red, yellow, orange and purple, Heirloom tomatoes are packed with vitamins A and C. Pick up a few from your local farm, being sure to pick a tomato that looks just about ready to burst with ripeness. A perfect summer tomato should be tender to the touch but not mushy. You should be able to breathe in its sweet perfume that comes with ripeness. Pair with fresh cucumbers, red onion, olive oil, basil, and a pinch of salt for the ultimate salad starter. Begin by cleaning, de-stemming and slicing four or five good-sized heirlooms into wedges. Peel two cucumbers and slice into quarter-inch-thick circular disks.
Combine the cucumbers and tomatoes in a mixing bowl with half a sliced onion, four tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, freshly chopped basil, and a pinch of kosher salt. Serve with a basil leaf for garnish. Our family eats this salad as often as possible through the summer, as it is sorely missed in the winter and no shipped-in tomato can ever come close to just-picked and local.
Fire up the grill and throw on your favorite cuts of local grassfed meat, and fresh local vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, and, of course, our perfectly sweet corn. Plate with grilled corn on the cob and slices of summer squash and zucchini that have been tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary and grilled to perfection. You can grill the corn right inside its husk. This combo will be sure to satisfy everyone’s appetite for proper summer grilling.
Finish the meal off right with watermelon and berry pie. Just slice the watermelon or cut in cubes and toss with lemon juice, a few tablespoons of honey, and fresh chopped mint. Garnish with a dollop of homemade honey sweetened whipped cream and sprig of mint for the perfectly refreshing summer dessert.
Summer is a time for vibrantly blooming gardens, the freshest produce, and leisurely days outdoors. It’s a time for family, and a time for friends, the time to celebrate the flavors of summer with those who are dearest to you.