Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Love

Here are some of the foods that I look forward to all winter long. Corn on the cob, peaches, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes...okay basically everything. So here are a few of my favorites that make the most of summer's fresh abundance.

One of my favorite things from the garden in summer is cucumbers. I can remember carrying 5 gallon buckets filled from Grandma's garden, grabbing the salt shaker and eatting as many as I could. I preferred fresh over pickled, and still do except the refrigerator pickles. These are more like a sweet bread and butter pickle which I am told can be frozen and canned but they don't last long enough so why go to the extra work?

Refrigerator Pickles

7 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced onions
1/2 cup salt
 Layer in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let stand 1 hour then pour off the brine
In the meantime, find a large pickle jar and mix in:
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. mustard seed
Put lid on and shake to mix, then add your pickles and onions.
Store in the refridgerator up to two weeks. Enjoy over sloppy joes on sandwiches or by themselves.
Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

Optional Additions:
My mother-in laws mother used to make Chrismas pickles which were the same only added red pepper and cauliflower. Add these if you like them, it does make a pretty mix.
My brother adds jalapenos to everything (which, by the way, really works good in pickled eggs), it will give it a bit of heat!

I am also really excited that so far my tomato plants are looking really nice(we'll see how excited I am when it's time for canning in hot August!). I have some heirloom varieties this year, a stripey, yellow pear and the usual sweet 100's. I do look forward to making my peach tomato salad all winter. The balsamic vinegar does something magical to the peaches and tomatoes. Ultimate tastes of summer right here, be brave and try it, you'll be glad you did.
Peach Tomato Salad
3-4 Peaches
3-4 Tomatoes depending on size
1 tsp. fresh Basil, juliened
1 tsp. fresh chives, chopped
1/2 to 1 tsp. sugar
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Make vinagrette with all ingredients except peaches, tomatoes and chives.
Layer sliced peaches and tomatoes alternately on a platter.
Pour vinagrette over and sprinkle with chives. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.

* I usually "wing it" with the seasonings in my vinagrette, feel free to do so to your tastes.*

Alright gals time to don your vintage aprons and serve these to your loved ones, ....if you can share!

1 comment:

  1. Peaches and tomatoes? I never would have tried that. So pretty though!