Updated: Sep 24
Summer succumbs to autumn. Grills will still. Tomatoes and corn will soon be gone, leaving us forlorn. Before it’s too late, I make sure I enjoy all my favorite dishes. This year, I wondered if others feel as I do - so I invited three friends over for dinner, asking them to bring a dish of their favorite summer food that they will sorely miss until next summer. My guests were happy to join a farewell to the joy of fully flavored summer foods with a dinner featuring grilled meats, tomatoes, corn and fruit.
Appetizers Marinated Tomatoes Topping Toasted Homemade Sourdough Bread Honey Dew Melon and Prosciutto Figs Stuffed with Mozzarella Main Grilled Hot Dogs and Hamburgers Potato Salad Corn and Black Beans Salad Orange Melon and Feta Cheese Dessert Catherine’s Very Berry Pie Vanilla Ice Cream RECIPES
Catherine’s Marinated Tomatoes on Homemade Sourdough Bread
Catherine is a great cook and loves summer tomatoes. She cans large amounts of whole tomatoes and tomato sauce. She excels at baked goods and her homemade sourdough bread is to die for. Few appetizers will top one of her favorites made with both luscious tomatoes and her tangy sourdough bread. The tomatoes are chopped and then marinated in balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. She tops toasted slices of her homemade sourdough bread with the tomatoes. Simple and superb!
Honey Dew Melon and Prosciutto
Summer melons burst with juicy flavor; those available in winter - not so much. So when you get ready to say goodbye to summer melons, make it a great sendoff with that classic combo of prosciutto and honeydew. Also simple and superb. Just wrap small pieces of honeydew with prosciutto. Add a small leaf of basil if desired.
Figs Stuffed with Mozzarella
In a nod to late summer, I prepared another favorite Italian appetizer. Cut ripe figs in half, make a small depression in the middle of each and nestle in it a small piece of mozzarella. May I say it again? Simple and superb!
Grilled Hamburgers and Potato Salad
When I asked my friends, Pete and Mie, what they would miss - the answer was immediate - hamburgers on the grill with the classic picnic accompaniment - potato salad. Unfortunately, due to a fallen tree, the outdoor grill was not available. Catherine supplied a top-of-the-stove grill which did a magnificent job. The preparations were simple. Hamburger was mixed with some panko, egg, salt and pepper. Potatoes were dressed with vinegar, mayo, a touch of mustard and a wee bit of relish. Perfectly summer.
Corn and Black Beans
An absolute fan of raw fresh corn (see blogs on September 3, 2023, August 13, 2023, August 14, 2022 and July 24, 2022), I could not resist yet another dish with it. For this dinner, I combined the corn with black beans and red bell pepper for a colorful, healthy and yummy side dish. It’s not as simple as the previous dishes, but it is superb.
Ingredients The dressing: 3 tablespoons lime juice 3 tablespoons evoo 1 garlic clove, grated 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion ½ teaspoon cumin Salt and pepper The vegetables: Kernels cut from 2 ears of fresh corn 1 red bell pepper 1/2 cup chopped cilantro 1 finely chopped jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired (optional) Preparation Mix all ingredients for the dressing together. Add the vegetables and mix well.
Orange Melon and Feta Cheese
I adore watermelon and watermelon salad with feta. However, I was curious to see how this classic summer salad would taste if my very favorite orange melon were used. Hami melons originally came from a small town of that name in Northwest China in Xinjiang province. They have orange flesh but unlike so many melons with orange flesh, Hamis are quite crisp and their taste is not cantaloupe-like but rather richly sweet and floral. They are now grown in many places, distributed widely and found, in recent years, at my local market. However, as people from China familiar with Hamis will tell you, the best flavor is in melons grown in Hami. I’ve had the latter and agree. Nevertheless my guests and I found the salad quite tasty. Ingredients Dressing: 3 tablespoons evoo 3 tablespoons lime juice ½ small garlic, grated ¼ teaspoon sea salt Salad: 5 cups Hami melon in cubes ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled 1/2 cup mint leaves, cut into strips Salt and pepper Preparation Mix together all the dressing ingredients. Add the salad ingredients and gently mix.
Catherine’s Very Berry Pie
This utterly delicious pie is a winner. She makes these for many occasions with whatever fruits are in season. Simply superb if not as simple as her appetizer.
Ingredients 2 cups flour + 2 tablespoons Pinch of salt 1/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup sugar 1 stick butter, very cold, cut into small pieces or grated 1/2 stick Crisco Ice water 2 pints mixed berries 1 teaspoon lemon zest Juice from 1/2 lemon Preparation
In a food processor, pulse together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar and the salt.
Add the butter and Crisco, pulsing until the dough begins to come together in pea-sized pieces. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of ice water at a time, pulsing after each addition until dough comes together.
Empty dough onto a clean, floured work surface and gently gather it together in a ball, flatten to a disk and wrap with saran. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Combine berries with 1/4 cup sugar, pinch of salt, lemon zest and the lemon juice. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the berries and mix gently.
Roll out dough on a floured surface to a thickness of approximately 1/4". Place rolled dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Spread berry mixture in center of dough, leaving about 1 1/2 inches at edge. Fold the edges over the berries. Brush dough with an egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake at 350F for 45 minutes - 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.