by Anouk Booneman
Midsummer brings us a very wide range of vegetables, fresh herbs and summer fruits. String beans, tender summer squash (not the watery large ones), juicy, crunchy cucumbers, the most delicious corn, mint, parsley, basil. Tomatoes and eggplants have started to appear in my CSA as well. Summer fruits are my favorites. Cherries, watermelon, melon (that actually tastes like a melon), peaches and apricots, I get too many of those. To avoid waste, I have started to blend overripe summer fruits into purees that will last longer and can be made into lemonades. The fruit can be blended with herbs. Peaches for example are great blended with basil, watermelon, and melon work very well with mint or lemon balm. Use one tablespoon of the puree in a glass, add juice of one lemon, ice cubes and top with seltzer water. Yes, you can add a splash of gin/vodka or tequilla.
The watermelon can be substituted with any melon.This should be enough for two glasses.
Put the melon in a blender, add the lemon or lime juice and sweetener of choice and blend. Add the mint and blend again.
Fill a glass with ice, add the watermelon mixture and sparkling water.
Works also really well with gin, tequila or vodka.
A favorite for those steamy summer days is a salad of cucumber, melon and blueberries. I have a lot of cucumbers this time of the year. I like to juice them and mix in with lime juice and basil. Since they are barely sweet, they benefit from stronger flavors. In the following recipe cucumbers are combined with melon and blueberries.
Cucumber Blueberries Melon Salad
We are lucky in Upstate New York. We can get really fresh corn. Corn season is short: so get them as often as you can. The following salad is a summer favorite using raw corn.
Summer Corn and Tomato Salad
3 cups cooked and cooled farro (or quinoa)
1 bunch scallions, trimmed on an angle
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
4 ears sweet corn, husked
1 handful of fresh mint leaves
1 handful fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried chile flakes
salt and ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil (good quality)
Place the farro in the bottom of a big bowl. Then, toss in the scallions, cherry tomatoes, and corn kernels. Toss in the mint and basil leaves. Then toss in the vinegar, chile flakes, salt and pepper to taste, and olive oil.
Click here for a safe way to remove the corn kernels.
Anouk is a master chef with degrees from around the world including the Culinary Institute of America. She is a strong believer in plant based eating. She and Daniel Maslowsky offer workshops in their Spring Into Health program.