Welcome to the Summer Virtual Progressive Dinner blog tour hosted by Lilly’s Table! I’m excited to be the first stop on the tour and share these summertime beverages with you! Lilly selected my Peach Cucumber Basil Infused Water and Watermelon Rum Fizz for this starter course – they’re fantastic picks for leading us into the warm months when you need a refreshing cool down!
This is weird, but every time I see eggplant I think of that old 1980’s Nintendo game Kid Icarus. My siblings and I used to play that for hours. There’s a part in that game where you’re in a dungeon and you come across an eggplant-throwing monster. You have to dodge the flying purple eggplants as you pass through the room and if you get hit by one you turn into a giant eggplant with feet. I think that game was actually where I first found out about eggplants. Strange, I know. A little sad? Perhaps.
This Tuscan bread and tomato salad is exactly why summer was invented. It brings together the lovely veg that’s simultaneously in season; a harmony of ingredients and flavor. Historically, this dish spanned all classes of 16th century Italy. Though namely a peasant dish — it was a way to use up stale bread, which back then was only baked once a week — it was also adored by nobility. Poets even wrote about it. The stale bread was soaked in water and vinegar to soften then tossed with whatever vegetables came out of the garden, most commonly onions and cucumbers. Tomatoes weren’t introduced to the salad until the 1800’s.
Summer’s here! My CSA is kicking serious booty and the produce at my local farmers market is bangin! Summer is my favorite season of the year. My anniversary, birthday, and husband’s birthday all occur over the next few steamy months, but most importantly [wink]…the veggies are KILLER. And, hello!, tomatoes are just around the corner! That means my love affair with fresh bloody marys will soon begin again. Swoon.
My CSA box last week was abound with summer squash and basil (along with kale, cilantro, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, cucumbers, kohlrabi, and salad mix!). I’ve also got loads of garlic scapes from the CSA and market which I’ve been using for a lot of pestos, sauces and veggie sautees. I knew the summer squash was destined for the grill – grilled squash is superb! – but I wanted to jazz it up a bit and use up some of the basil and garlic scapes, but not in the usual pesto. I happened to have mint and lemons hanging around in the fridge, so I decided to make a gremolata to top the grilled squash.