My spring plot is coming to its end. I have pulled all but three of the broccoli plants and all the carrots. Only the shallots are left. Soon I will be converting this plot into the pumpkin plot for our Big Max 100 lb pumpkin plant. I tried to grow one last year, but it was eaten as a seedling. I am hoping for more luck with this one. With all the falcons hanging around the backyard little animal pests are too scared to feast on my garden, even the little sparrows are wary.
Its not all peaches & cream however. Vinny, the Harris hawk was bored the other day and a little too close to some of my seedlings. He destroyed the watermelon and cucumber seedlings before I caught him in the act. Now I have to start those over.
I have been overjoyed to go back to my summer diet of fresh fruit and veggies from the farmers market and my garden. My favorite lunch is a summer salad. Pasta, rice, potato, it doesn't matter as long as its homemade and there is not a speck of mayo anywhere in sight! Vinaigrette is much better! Any kind will do.
The above picture shows a penne pasta salad with tomatoes, marinated artichokes, cubed mozzarella, purple onion, fresh basil, salt and pepper with a Parmesan vinaigrette. In case you are wondering what is on the other plate, its a Caprice salad with sliced tomato, cucumber, mozzarella, basil, spinach drizzled with Parmesan vinaigrette. There are also slices of turkey and salami with a bowl of seasoned olive oil for dipping bread. This is my typical summer lunch until October when I want something warm and cozy instead.
Below is another pasta salad made with penne pasta, leftover tuna chopped up, broccoli, yellow squash, mushrooms, basil, tomato, and mozzarella with a vinaigrette.
It is the simplest lunch to make.
1. Pick your pasta or rice. I use penne, bow-tie, shells, orzo or elbow. Follow the directions for 4 people. Cook until al dente. Drain and cool in the fridge.
2. Meanwhile, grab whatever veggies you have in the fridge that need to be used up. Chop and saute them with some olive oil, salt and pepper. When they are done, dump them on top of your pasta and put it back in the fridge.
3. Cut up chunks of cheese and some meat or beans. I use all kinds of cheese, but my favorites are Mozzarella, Gruyere, or Parmesan. For proteins I use beans, black are my favorite, or meats like salami, prosciutto, leftover chicken, steak, fish, or thin slices of good quality deli meat. Cut into bite size chunks and dump on top of everything else.
4. Add about 1/2 cup of your favorite vinaigrette and some fresh chopped herbs. I use basil, thyme and rosemary the most. Stir gently until combined. Add more vinaigrette to taste. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and refrigerate until cold and the flavors blend a little.
I make a big bowl of this twice a week for lunches and snacks. I am not even sure I have made the same one twice. Its always depends on what is in the fridge that week.