a push-back-the-fall appetizer!

It’s Labor Day, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up on summer!   I don’t know about you, but though I love the fall, I’m not ready to welcome it with open arms quite yet…

Back in July, my dear friend Arielle sent me an intriguing watermelon recipe.  I had been meaning to try it all summer, and in a scramble to relish the season today, I decided to finally throw it together.

Classy Watermelon

This is what Arielle says:

1. Chop up watermelon into bite size pieces and place in a festive bowl.
2. Sprinkle with a dash of pink sea salt.
3. Top with fresh basil and goat cheese crumbles.
4. Drizzle with a light dusting of balsamic and…

VOILA! A savory way to enjoy a sweet summer treat!

*This is especially lovely with a bandol (bone dry, from the south of France) style Rose wine. 

Happy summer!

dinner by peter!

We went over to our good friend Peter’s the other night for a lovely dinner!  This entry is somewhat of a guest blog entry… I’m writing it, but the dinner was all Peter’s work!  The meal centered around a Capture Sauvignon Blanc Les Pionniers 2009 that he had discovered recently.  Amazing.  It was crisp and citrus-y at the beginning, then got increasingly more herbaceous as it breathed and warmed to room temperature.

We brought along some good ole Humboldt Fog cheese (Whole Foods and Screwtop are both carrying it right now!), and it was a GREAT match.  Peter added champagne grapes for a perfect side spread.

Capture Sauvignon Blanc Les Pionniers 2009, Humboldt Fog, & Champagne Grapes

Peter cares a lot about where his food comes from, which is just awesome.  He gave us all the background details, so I will include them all!

The main dish was Chicken Pesto Pasta.  The pesto was made from scratch the day before with homegrown basil, store-bought pine nuts, shredded romano cheese, parsley, and garlic. Here it is being prepped…

Peter's Homemade Pesto (photo credit: Peter)

The chicken (from Magruder’s) was marinated overnight in lime juice, extra virgin olive oil, lemon pepper, and garlic seasoning.  Yum!  Then it was sautéed with a store-bought onion, pepper, and yellow squash from Biggs Riggs Farm in Romney, West Virginia.

Chicken Pesto Pasta

Dessert was amazing, in a jaw-dropping way!!  Peter sliced up some peaches from Toigo Orchards in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and paired it with Trickling Springs Ice Cream from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  He topped it all with Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Granola!

By the way: I have not been to Pennsylvania many times, but I happened to have traveled to both Chambersburg and Shippensburg before!

Vanilla Ice Cream with Peaches and Granola

Thank you, Peter!  The meal was deliciously fresh, and the Sauvignon Blanc was so memorably intriguing!  What a perfect summer meal.  :)

salmon w/dill & cucumber sauce.

I mentioned yesterday having fresh basil from a church family’s home garden.  A mom I know from the youth group was incredibly generous to me, and gave me an ASSORTMENT of fresh vegetables recently!  Fresh basil, dill, chard, a green pepper, and two cucumbers!  She suggested that I make salmon with cucumber and dill sauce, so I picked up some salmon on the way home and made it happen that very night!

Salmon w/ Dill & Cucumber Sauce

I got a little carried away with the amount of sauce, and we ended up scraping some off.  The recipe I used said to serve the salmon in a “puddle of sauce,” but maybe I interpreted that too extremely!  In any case, the meal was very fresh-tasting and lovely.  We ate on our teeny tiny balcony as the sun went down!  As Sandra McCracken once said, “Contentment is like muscle strength.  Gratitude is the exercise.”  (I think she tweeted that a long time ago actually, but I’ll never forget it!)  So the blessings count that night went like this: we were thankful for love, fresh garden produce, salmon, health, the sunset, and having more than we need — in so many ways.

little caprese treats.

These mini caprese treats don’t even need instruction!  As you can see, they simply consist of fresh mozzarella, sliced cherry tomatoes, and a bit of basil all on a toothpick!  Plus some fresh ground pepper.  So easy, and you feel like you’re in a classy restaurant when you’re eating them…

Mini Caprese Snacks

I am especially proud of these treats, because all of the ingredients are organic.  The fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes are from our farmer’s market across the street, and the basil was part of a lovely gift to us from a church family’s home garden.  Wonderful!