Grilled corn and tomatoes with a honey lime dressing

Roasted corn

Come Saturday morning, you’d be hard-pressed to find me somewhere other than the farmers’ market.

Given we have a stroller and adorably demanding human in tow these days, those trips have to be a bit more planned out . . . but since Oliver has been cleared for public strolls, we try to pack the little guy up and head out.

We were housebound for a while there — and the last time I made it to our local market, we had a choice of zucchini, squash and a few paltry peppers. This past weekend? Well, friends, it was a veritable smorgasbord . . . and I went hog wild.

Cherry tomatoes.
Watermelon.
Cantaloupe.
Blueberries.
Tomatoes so fat, you want to bite right in.

And after picking up half a dozen ears of corn for our little Fourth of July barbeque at home, I remembered a simple corn and tomato side dish I whipped up a few times last year. Like this cucumber and onion salad, this dish is light and fresh and comes together in no time flat.

Especially valuable when the little person inside the aforementioned stroller has a meltdown.

The original recipe calls for the addition of avocado, but I didn’t have any on hand — so I skipped it. It’s delicious without, so I’m imagining it’s even better with!


Grilled Corn and Tomatoes
with a Honey Lime Dressing

Ingredients:
1 pint grape tomatoes
4 ears of fresh sweet corn
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, or 1 tbsp dried cilantro

For the dressing:
Juice of 1 lime
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Remove husks from corn and grill over medium heat for 10 minutes. (The corn should have some brown spots and be tender, but not mushy.) Cut the corn off the cob and remove silks. Set aside to cool. Slice tomatoes in half.

To make the dressing, add all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

Combine the sliced tomatoes, cilantro and grilled corn with the honey lime dressing and mix gently until evenly coasted. Chill the dish for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Epicurious


Simple summer side: cucumber + sweet-onion salad

IMG_5147_vintage

We’ve had an embarrassment of cucumbers lately.

Our new tradition of hitting the farmers’ market on the weekend brought us three of them for $2 — a steal! — and they’ve been patiently hanging out in our new fruit bowl since Saturday. Spencer came home with two more from a friend’s garden on Tuesday, bringing our total of OMG-HUGE vegetables to five.

Martha Stewart to the rescue, it seems! With some quick Googling, my husband found this recipe for cucumber and sweet-onion salad, and it is light, refreshing summer deliciousness.

And now nothing will go to waste. Just the way nature intended it, I think.

Between you and me? Um, we didn’t exactly have fresh dill or freshly-squeezed lemon juice . . . so we improvised with a dried variety as well as lemon from a bottle. The results were still great. In case, like me, you don’t feel like hitting the grocery store.

Just don’t tell Martha.


IMG_5142_vintage

Cucumber and Sweet-Onion Salad

Ingredients:
3 English cucumbers, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper

In a large bowl, toss together cucumbers, onion, dill, oil, lemon juice, and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.

(Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food)


IMG_5125_vintage

IMG_5130_vintage

IMG_5134_vintage

IMG_5143_vintage


Dog days of summer

Dogs


The summer has been crazy. My brain is like a sieve this morning. Between getting up at 4 a.m. Saturday for a lighthouse cruise and getting up at 3 a.m. yesterday for an amateur radio flea market two hours away (I read while Spencer sold stuff), I am off to work . . . barely able to form a coherent thought. I need more diet soda. Please excuse this random post.

But I wanted to share this photo of three dogs on a raft with you. I took it last weekend on a rare day when I was actually sitting poolside, steadfastly not burying my face in dessert and trying not to freak out as Spence tried to teach me to “swim.” (Despite years of lessons as a kid, no, I can’t swim.)

They’re my sister’s fiance’s dogs. They’re cute. I totally have a favorite . . . and he definitely doesn’t like me as much as I like him. (Buster, in the foreground — and refusing to look at me. Typical.)


Summer sunflowers

in a field of sunflowers


Much as my mom and I make an annual pilgrimage to document the cherry blossoms in Washington each spring, finding a hidden field of these bright sunflowers has become a project in the summer. This was our second year driving up to McKee-Beshers and, I’m pleased to note, they were much easier to find than last year.

The heat and humidity were oppressive and, honestly, I’m not much fun to be around when hot and sticky. I whine — like, a lot. Thankfully only parents were around to hear my nonsense because, you know, they’re used to it. I don’t want to tip my annoying hand in front of Spencer mere months before the wedding.

(Kidding — he’s totally used to my crankiness! He gives me a Diet Coke and it goes away. Miraculous.)

So the sunflowers this year were definitely in full bloom, soaking in the sunshine and hosting a million bees. We snapped pictures for 45 minutes before the bug infestation was threatening to give me a conniption and, admitting defeat, we headed off to dinner. The storm clouds that had threatened all day finally rolled in on our drive home — but we made it!


IMG_9380_vintage

IMG_9468_vintage

IMG_9427_vintage

IMG_9483_vintage


What’s the big deal about sunflowers? They’re cheery. Happy. Vibrant. Seeing such a cluster of them is enough to elicit gasps from the most stone-hearted in any group, and “cluster” is a bit of an understatement at McKee-Beshers. As we wandered around with our cameras, other families and photographers filtered into the open area.

I think it’s in our DNA to feel upbeat in a field of flowers.

Minus the bees.


IMG_9477_vintage

IMG_9385


The promise of peach wine

Peaches


I like lazy days.

They don’t happen very often. Especially in light of wedding prep (four months to go! Holy cow), so many weekends brim with schedules and plans and checklist items that must be marked off. I’m not spontaneous, preferring my days to maintain a sort of predictable order that might be off-putting to some, but . . . I don’t know. I like knowing what I’m going to do before I do it.

Sometimes.

On Saturday, Spencer and I left relatively early to go check out a local Amish farmers’ market (photos coming tomorrow). I say “relatively” because, you know, early to my fiance means 5 a.m. and early to me means . . . oh, maybe 8:30-ish? I get the sense that our marriage will be one long negotiation on when and how much to sleep, but I’ll work with it. Relationships are all about compromise, no?

So, we left “early” to check out the local produce and came home with all sorts of goodies. I couldn’t resist the allure of green tomatoes — and can’t remember ever actually seeing them in person before. I sliced one, gave it a healthy dash of pepper and salt and promptly fell in love with its firm texture and fresh taste. Way better than those common ol’ red ones, especially given how mushy they become. Love at first bite.

I took my camera with me because, once upon a time, Spencer and I often spent lazy Saturdays wandering around Southern Maryland just looking for places to stop and snapping pictures. I’ve missed that aspect of our relationship — mostly because, as the years have gone on, we’ve gotten busy and life is chaotic and weekends once spent getting to know each other and wandering around holding hands have morphed into photography club meetings, wedding vendor meetings, scheduled events, family functions.

I love that — and I love our lives, and our life together — but it’s nice to have a down day, too. So this rare Saturday was not one to be missed.

So we looked at pies (but didn’t buy — victory!), bought zucchini, admired bunches of sunflowers with the light hitting them just so. The sky was unusually clear for a late June day around here and the humidity, miraculously, was low. Now that I’m 25 pounds down and fully committed to healthy eating, I was entranced by all the vegetables and fruits just ready to come home in our eco-friendly green bag (what grown-ups we are). I felt . . . at peace. Adult. Happy.

And the cartons of peaches Spencer bought from one of the Amish families will, in a few months, morph into some of his sweet, delicious homemade wine.


Peaches 2


Peach wine. My 28th birthday. A double bridal shower. Finishing three major work projects. A visit from my soon-to-be mother-in-law. My first dress fitting, stamping our invitations, getting ready for my sister’s wedding in three short months . . .

So much to look forward to — and how sweet it will be.