All this terrible heat and humidity may have been bad for us, not tomention extremely uncomfortable and unhealthy for some.
However, my vegetable garden and all my flowers, except the pansies, just love it!
The cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli are formingheads. I can practically see the corn grow.
Beans are ready, as are the dill, basil, parsley, and of course, all thegreens. In fact, it’s time to plant second crops of spinach, pak choi and lettuce. The onions are supremely delicious, and all my tomato plants have clusters of growing green fruit on them.
I even found a few ripe blackberries today, and many, many more to come. I love this season! I so much enjoy going to the backyard garden to pick much of our supper. The cucumbers, squash and pumpkins have a ways to go, but I can be patient.
The garlic is ready for picking, cleaning and drying. In a few weeks, it will be ready to add to sauces, dressings, and best of all, roasting with a little olive oil, then freezing until the winter months.
Harvesting each fresh vegetable as it is ready is a pure joy. I don’t believe there is anything better than this.
Some of the tiny “gourmet” red potatoes will soon be ready to dig, boil, then combine with fresh chopped parsley and a little butter. Super yum!
The perfect summer meal, using some of these wonderful gifts from the garden, is a cold pasta salad, a tall, chilled glass of iced tea with a few sprigs of freshly picked mint, and some ice cream for dessert. Such a meal definitely spells summer.
Here are a couple of pasta salads I make quite often. I prepare them a few hours ahead of time, so the flavors will have a chance to permeate throughout the dish. Both salads make for great dishes to bring to a potluck supper, or just to have on hand for a quick lunch or supper.
Chicken, in all its preparations and cuts, is a wonderfully light protein to add to a salad.
Chicken and Rotini (6-8 servings)
About one pound chicken tenders, cooked, chilled and cut into bite-sized pieces
12 ounces dried rotini or some other short pasta
One-quarter cup or so olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
One-half cup sharp cheddar cheese, cut into tiny pieces
1 medium, or two or three cherry tomatoes, chopped
Finely minced garlic, or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
Small bunch of fresh basil, chopped
Optional, any other fresh vegetable ready for the picking, such as beans or red bell pepper, cut small
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, then immerse in cold water. Drain again, then place in the refrigerator to chill.
Place chilled pasta in a large salad bowl. Stir in the chicken pieces, cheddar, chopped tomato, and any other vegetable used. Combine the oil, garlic, basil, and parsley. Pour over salad and stir well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let chill.
Bowties (farfalle) and Pepperoni (5-7 servings)
8 ounces dry bowtie pasta, cooked according to package directions
one-third cup vegetable or olive oil
one-quarter cup red wine vinegar
1 package dried Italian salad dressing, or 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1 cup chopped tomato
1 small zucchini or other summer squash, sliced very thin
1 3-ounce packaged sliced pepperoni
one-quarter cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cook, drain and chill pasta.
In a large salad bowl, combine the oil, vinegar and salad dressing mix. Toss with chilled pasta, then stir in all remaining ingredients except the cheese.
Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour. When serving, top with grated cheese.
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