by Susan Fleming
Since Memorial Day marked the end of the vernal freshness of spring, the beating sun of the middle months has been pretty relentless; we summer haters have had plenty to dread. Crowds, broiling heat, and astronomical electric bills are just the beginning.
Summer is not without its charms, however. Warm, clear waters, blue, cloudless skies, a bright, golden sun against a backdrop of luscious greenery- it is the poet’s season of romance. Scented air, cool breezes, the rush of the ocean’s waves: there is a reason they write about the beauty of the interconnection of summer and young love. Romance may not be in the cards for you this season, but there are plenty of other reasons to embrace summer:
- Cocktails on the deck. There is something inspiring about a well-crafted, sour, cold aperitif outdoors with a pink and gold sun setting behind you. Classic margaritas or something more exotic is always a great pairing with a warm evening outdoors.
- How wonderful are the fresh salads and dips? Crisp, cold greens with ripe fruit or maybe fresh, homemade guacamole with salty chips (perfect with that margarita!) are satisfyingly summer.
- Picking peaches with children and eating chilled desserts: making homemade ice cream filled with farm-fresh fruit on the back patio could be a summer tradition in the making.
- Grilling out: We all love throwing some steaks or shrimp skewers on the grill. The extra heat pairs nicely with an icy beer or a frosted glass of lemonade.
- Sun dresses & blooming flowers: clipping roses while wearing one of this season’s trendy & comfy, flowing tent dresses can bring out your inner Jane Austen.
- Lazy days, rainy days: school’s out and sometimes lounging is the best activity during the languid warmth of late summer. And the impromptu storms are the perfect excuse for staying indoors.
- Having friends over and chilled white wine: Catching up with loved ones over long-stem-glasses of crisp Pinot Grigio is the most relaxing of ways to celebrate (and beat) the heat.
- Camping or going to the mountains: who doesn’t appreciate a cool blue ridge breeze in the dead of summer?
- Pontoon boating on a crystal lake or dolphin sighting on the Atlantic: fun in the water always feels like the perfect companion to fun in the sun.
- Feeling sun on your face: wear sunscreen but don’t miss the opportunity to feel like you’re soaking in the rays of the warmth that sustains us. Feel it going into your pores…nourishing and wholesome.
Summer’s charms are plentiful with its casual and shiny, vitamin D-rich excited easiness. And I am looking forward to a new appreciation of her magic.
Susan’s Summer Guacamole
4 ripe avocados
3 cloves minced fresh garlic
¼ cup sweet onions, finely chopped
2/3 cup chopped fresh tomato
1/3 cup sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt
Cut the avocados in half and remove seeds. Scoop out the pulp into a medium bowl and coarsely mash (or add to food processor if the avocados are not ripe enough.) Add all remaining ingredients and combine. Do not over-mix. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Susan Fleming is a local home economist and food columnist. You can check out her blog at www.tastefultales.com