Summer Lunch

Summer has been cooler here than in prior years. So while tomatoes are really just starting to ripen and yield – finally!!!! – for real (a good 2 weeks past my usual tomato target date though), cabbage, kale (kale!!! in July! edible!) and lettuce greens are doing just well. On the other hand, the sweet potatoes are looking anemic, and the okra… well, we won’t talk about the okra. Frankly, there isn’t much to talk about!

Let’s talk instead about the colorful lunch (or dinner) plate that one can make from the garden at the moment . Everything can be cooked, days in advance, and assembled just a few minutes before serving. Perfect for when one feels lazy or is hurried. For example, today’s lunch:


First, spread a variery of lettuce leaves on the plate; in this case, green oak-leaf type and (ahem! I think) ‘Rouge Grenobloise’ from the garden; ‘Rhodos’ endive and the lettuce blend I planted are also doing very well.

Then slice a few beets also from the garden. I boiled them whole, with a little of the top left on (so the color would not bleed in the water) until tender and then peeled. Tossed with olive oil, and kept in jars – in the fridge – until ready to use. They’ll keep for 10 days or so, that way.

Add some farm cheese, homemade using milk & buttermilk from Pennsylvania & cream from the Shenandoah Valley, drizzled with a little olive oil.

Pickled carrots. Thanks you Marisa for the good idea. We are harvesting carrots at the moment, so that’s a great – and new to me – use of them.

Beef Salad: left over round steak (an inexpensive cut, already cooked – from Rappahannock County Belle Meade Farm), sliced on the bias, very thinly, and tossed with Thai basil (garden), thinly sliced red onion (garden – yeah – onions from the garden. It’s a big deal for me), and green coriander seeds (need to enjoy them while they last), all tossed with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Add some homemade flat bread, and it’s quite filling.

Dessert: Buttermilk ice-cream (cream & buttermilk from Trickling Spring Creamery in Pennsylvania), and berries, some from the garden (rasp & blue) and some from the hedgerow (black & wine)

And this is this week’s contribution to One Local Summer 2009 organized by Farm to Philly. Check out other ideas for local meals on her blog. How about you: any great meals from the garden recently? Share?

6 thoughts on “Summer Lunch”

  • Same here on the cooler summer and late-to-ripen tomatoes. I love the color of your salad, which, incidentally, is what I was planning to make for dinner tonight. I’ll be sure to pick up some beets and cheese at the grocers today!

  • Sylvie, we have tons of tomatoes, but also a bit slow to ripen. On the other hand, we recently made our first haul from our okra bed. The plants are a bit stunted, but they are making pods. I feel a bit sill, bending down to harvest okra. Nothing better than smothered okra made with freskly picked okra, our home-grown tomatoes and green pepper.

  • Cooler here, too (eastern Kansas). WAY cooler than usual, but tomatoes are beginning to ripen in friends’ gardens. Yesterday’s local food meal: roast chicken (roasted beets at the same time for later use), cucumber-and-tomato salad (bliss!), grilled summer squash, watermelon. Not nearly as pretty as yours, but delicious!

  • I realized this morning that I haven’t taken the featherbed off the bed yet, that’s how cool it is here!

    This looks quite lovely, and great for drop-by guests. I have some people coming to help out in the gardens this weekend and was scratching my head about what to possibly feed them because I want to spend my time gardening not cooking when they’re here and this looks like just the thing! Thanks, Sylvie.

  • Its been cool and rainy here too in CT, and that has put a damper on the gardens… but the colors you show in your post are inspiring that we’ll get there too. Pickled carrots, I’d never have thought of that. How do they taste? More on the tart/sour side, or sweet? Crunchy?

  • Rowena – interesting to get everybody weather reports…

    Ed – well, I’ll be lucky if I get any okra…

    Janet – watermelon… it’s warmer in Kansas, isn’t it?

    El – I am glad that I got to inspire you for once. I certainly get plenty of ideas from you.

    Magochild – They are mildly tart and remain crunchy. I used cider vinegar (which – while acid – taste mellower than white vinegar) and added some spices including turmeric, and keep them in the fridge since I did not can them. They are really nice as a counterpart to cold meat or chicken.

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