Thursday, June 30, 2011

summer simple

Easy outdoor entertaining is what summer is all about. Nature has already done all the decorating. All you have to do is show up with some food.
Light some candles for a little extra ambiance.

Backyard dining doesn't mean it has to be all about paper plates. Make it an occasion and set the table with pretty glass ware and table settings even if its just for hot dogs!
Pick some flowers and stick them in a vase for the table. Lilies are in full bloom in my yard right now. I am a very pale pale pale green thumbed gardener. The lily bulbs I bought a few years ago have been a great addition to my challenged garden. I barely do a thing to them and they keep growing!
Keep the food simple and seasonal with cold soups and sauteed vegetables. I got this bunch of mizuna, a mild Japanese mustard green, from a farmer who grows it hydroponically. My cooking plan was to just barely wilt the greens, but still add an impact of flavor.
The best way to add flavor is by seasoning the cooking oil. For the aromatics I sauteed up some garlic and fresh oregano in extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil is fragrant the mizuna goes in and cooks in minutes. For a little extra twist I chopped up a ripe nectarine and tossed it into the saute, allowing the fruit to warm up and infuse the greens with a summery brightness. The dish can be finished with a splash of white balsamic vinegar and lots of salt and pepper.
Sauteed Mizuna with Nectarines
Ok, not the prettiest dish, but it tasted great! The rich deep flavor of the greens were well balanced by the tart surprise of the nectarine. I am going to try this recipe with different combinations of summer fruits and greens as the summer progresses. 

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