We are in the peak of the hot weather veggies. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and corn are growing quickly in these spiking temperatures. Here are some quick recipes to beat the summer heat and use the wonderful produce available in our gardens or farmers markets.
Cucumbers with a Mediterranean flair: Tzatziki
Peel, seed and coarsely grate 1 large cucumber. Spread the grated cucumber over paper towels to a 1/2 inch thick layer and lightly salt. This helps draw some of the water out and seasons the cucumber. Gently peel the grated cucumber from the paper towels into a mixing bowl using a plastic spatula. You will not get everything but that’s fine. You should have approximately 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of grated cucumbers. Add 2 cups of strained whole milk Greek yogurt, juice from 1 fresh lemon, 4 tablespoons of good extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of fresh dill, chopped fine.(You can also use fresh mint). Add 1 small clove of fresh garlic, finely chopped. This is to taste, but don’t overpower with garlic. Add salt & pepper to taste; go easy with the salt. The cucumbers may have enough salt from the first step. Mix together and place in a small serving bowl. This refreshing appetizer is generally served with pita bread. Tzatziki is also served with grilled meat, mainly lamb and goes nicely with crumbled feta cheese, Greek olives and sliced watermelon.
Southwestern Heat: Corn Salsa
A great way to use fresh corn, tomatoes and peppers is to make a corn salsa. Use 1 cup of cooked corn on the cob, 2 cups of diced tomatoes, 1 medium sweet pepper cored and finely chopped. Optional: 1 habanero or jalapeno pepper cored and finely chopped for heat, 1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro, one medium-sized sweet onion chopped fine, juice of 2 fresh limes. To add some depth to the salsa, add a 1/2 teaspoon of dried ancho chile pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving with your favorite tortilla chips.
Gertrude Stein is my pick for the inspirational gardening thought of the day. “A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.” Relax on the patio this week and enjoy the bounty of the garden.
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