Who can have enough summer salads? The season is so short, the bounty comes in and then the next thing we know we are furiously trying to preserve putting vegetables, herbs and fruits away in the pantry and freezer. Our menus at the farm have been laden with fresh foods from our own gardens and this year is a first for being able to supply as much as we do. We have not have not had enough help in the past to harvest nor space to grow all the vegetables required for larger events until this year. This year we have Ellen and Kris at the helm working tirelessly at tending the flower and vegetable gardens.
The gardens are simply beautiful. Seeds sown and beautifully maintained, it is a pleasure to see and walk through them. We’ve all been waiting patiently for tomatoes to come…just a little warmer and sunnier.
This past weekend I was away for one of my favourite times of the year – the annual canoeing trip in Algonquin park with my friends. The last few years it seems that I am only able to make it out for the first night dinner and not the actual trip. It’s a busy time for me and hard to take those few days off. But the dinner with friends is something that I don’t want to miss. The weather was beautiful, the evening cool and we started out with charcuterie on the lake and wine.
It couldn’t have been more perfect. The next morning I watched (and helped) my friends preparing the food barrel for the several day journey. Salads were being made and bagged into zip-locks. Beet salad, beans, tomatoes, it was all so delicious and the kitchen smelled like fresh herbs, garlic, onions… it was absolutely dizzying.
My friends brought be back to the landing for my lonely venture back to the farm but I couldn’t wait to make up some summer salads at home for whoever was waiting for me. In our busy summer event schedule, it sounds crazy but our family on many occasions just eats leftovers. I often come in from a heavy schedule of meetings and events and wonder what is in the refrigerator to make for supper and realize there is basically nothing. But our garden has been full these past two weeks, producing a vast amount of greens, beets and squash. Enough is enough – time to pick and actually do some cooking myself!
There are really no recipes that I use for summer salads. The freshness of the vegetables is centre plate. What I add just enhances the flavours.
For my summer tomato salad I use fresh tomatoes, basil, Ontario boccocini, olive oil, salt flakes, pinch of fresh garlic.
Summer beets: peeled cooked beets sliced, fresh corn kernels, red onion, balsamic vinegar, vegetable oil, salt and pepper… delicious.