It definitely feels like summer is right around the corner in New England. In fact I even wore a skirt today. Even though the garment has been kicking around my closet for years now it felt incredibly refreshing to not put on the same revolving array of black outfits I’ve been leaving the house in for the last five chilly months.
I have lots of dreams for this summer involving growing bountiful basil plants and shiny red tomatoes at our apartment. I even purchased Gayla Trail’s new gardening book Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces in preparation for the great gardening experiment of 2010. Hopefully I’ll be able to follow through. Right now I don’t even know when you’re supposed to start putting plants outside in Massachusetts. Are we done having frosts? How big do the containers have to be? Do I need to feed the plants? I bet it would help if I actually opened that book instead of just leaving it on the coffee table as a living room accessory, right?!
My other big dream is to take a page from one of my favorite blogging heroines, Marisa McClellan, who writes the incredible site Food in Jars. Food in Jars breaks down the perceived intricacies involved in canning and preserving and then presents completely manageable projects that leave you feeling as though you could probably can anything in the world.
At some point I’m hoping to try my hand at putting up some food. I imagine having a shelf of tidy glass jars, pasted with pretty labels, and filled to the brim with tangy and sweet Bread and Butter Pickles to serve at dinner parties this fall. Admittedly, in this fantasy I’m also dressed as Laura Ingalls Wilder and sporting a jaunty pink calico bonnet. I find it helps to create a bit of ambiance when attempting to tackle tasks that are completely out of my comfort zone.
In the meantime, aka until my cucumber-pickle train comes in at the local Farmer’s Market, my friend Randi has shared her delicious Cucumber Salad recipe with me. This ridiculously quick and easy dish is the perfect picnic pairing and the color is so bright and festive that guests will instantly be drawn to it. So plate up a hefty portion beside your freshly grilled burgers and veggies and enjoy the return of the sun.
I suppose I better start researching all of those gardening questions…If you have any sage advice to offer me please feel free to let me know. I predict that it’s going to be an interesting few months.
Randi’s Cucumber Salad
2 English Cucumbers; thinly sliced
1 small red onion; thinly sliced
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
Fresh Dill; roughly chopped (approximately 3 tablespoons or to taste)
Bring the vinegar, water, and sugar to a boil in a medium sauce pan, and then pour the liquid over the prepared sliced cucumbers & onions. Sprinkle fresh dill over the top. Cover the dish and let it marinate at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. For best results allow the cucumbers to marinate overnight.