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Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Summer Night


Wallace Stevens once penned, “The summer night is like a perfection of thought.” So on these warm summer nights, whether you’re off for a sunset picnic or attending a weekend barbeque, what makes that summer night perfect is an easy salad/side dish to pack for the excursion. So without further ado, here’s the perfect salad recipe from the Patricia Wells cookbook; Salad As A Meal – Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season.
Smoked Bacon, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
3/4 cup
Fresh corn ears, shucked
2 ears
Multicolored heirloom tomatoes, cored, quartered & chopped
Greek Feta Cheese, crumbled
1⁄2 cup
Avocado, peeled and cubed
1 large
Scallions, white part only, cut into thin rings
Yogurt & Lemon Dressing:
Plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tblsp.
Fine sea salt
1/4 tsp.
Lemon zest
14 tsp.

1. In a large, dry skillet, brown the bacon over moderate heat until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to absorb the fat. Blot the top of the bacon with paper towels as well.

2. Cut off the fat ends of the ears of corn, stand the ears on the flat end, and use the chef’s knife to cut off the corn kernels. Place the kernels in a large bowl.

3. Add the tomatoes, bacon, feta, avocado, and scallions to the corn. Toss with just enough dressing to coat the ingredients lightly and evenly. Season generously with pepper. Serves 4.

This recipe is one to try. Here are a couple of things you might do differently. One, we grilled the corn rather than use it raw. We also served it on a leafy lettuce. And if you do like hot peppers or even sweet peppers, you could swap them for the tomatoes or why not use both. And if you need it to be vegetarian, you can make the scallions crispy in a fry pan and it will add a similar crunch as the bacon. I could forgo the bacon bits. As much as I love bacon, it’s the feta cheese I couldn’t live without. 

But speaking of one thing I could live without and something that makes these summer nights less than perfect. It’s that batch of mosquitoes that never show up in pictures. The bad thing about these mosquitoes – they seem to be out at all hours of the day or night. So do you use Citronella candles for terraces and outdoor spaces? Unfortunately, these nasty buggers seem to fight through even rounds of DEET. I’m at a loss for a remedy but for atmosphere and casual fun, I love the tall Citronella torches. They add an ambiance to the summer night even if one must watch from indoors. On a summer evening, any hints of subtle light that don’t conflict with what’s already in place can enhance those little pockets of succulents or growies coming from a terrace wall. Citronella may not be optimal but we still buy them because it’s a familiar summer scent. There are mosquito repellant lamps and bulbs but mosquitoes seem to know when it’s time to eat and they seem to know what they like - us.

But it’s time to wrap up this salad mix and I couldn’t resist adding one more quote from Buddha. “Three things cannot be long hidden: The sun, the moon and the truth.” So on this overcast Thursday, if you can’t find the sun or the moon, remember to be truthful in all that you do.

Image of a summer night by Ann Bilowz ©  

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)