Janet's Notebook
Enjoying the Last Tastes of Summer

Gazpacho Macaroni Salad

I’ve always loved summer. As a child, my perfect afternoon was swimming with friends and playing tag with the neighborhood kids. Now that I’m older, my summer afternoons have slowed down a bit. It’s about enjoying a glass of sweet tea and taking in the beauty surrounding the deck in my backyard.

Most every Southern girl loves their sweet tea and Debby DeRousse’s Southern Sweet Tea is one that’s done right. This classic brewing technique really takes me back to my Southern roots. But enough about sweet tea (I could go on for days!).

While sitting outside one afternoon, I noticed my garden had bursted overnight with summer vegetables and berries now ripe for picking. So that got me thinking. Could I create a meal that included items from my garden in every dish? I always love a good food challenge, so I took this one on. As I set out on my recipe search, I found out that I am not the only one who loves to cook with their garden and looks for ways to use up their summer bounty!

Billy Haze's Gazpacho Macaroni Salad quickly caught my eye (and my taste buds). “[This recipe is] a bountiful refreshing salad, chock-full-of veggies, fresh parsley and wonderful vinaigrette,” says Billy. “[It’s] a great way to use up the bounty of your garden!” When I made this I omitted the green pepper he mentions in the directions (I was saving mine for another dish). But, if you want to include the pepper a medium-sized one will do the trick.

Basil and tomatoes are so abundant (and delicious!) during late summer and Belinda Ramsey's Basil Tomato Salad piqued my interest. Belinda says this recipe “tastes yummy [and] is extremely easy” – and she was right. Super light and delicious and perfect for a summer evening.

There really is nothing better than a tomato picked right off the vine. So flavorful and juicy you could almost bite right into them. Kim Phillips-Randolph agrees. “I love tomatoes; my husband loves bacon. So I concocted Bacon Tomato Pie. Served with a salad, it hits the spot on a warm summer day.” We all know that bacon makes anything better, and this dish had all the savory flavors of a BLT (one of my favorite summer sandwiches!).

I have picked pints and pints of berries. Jackie Garvin's Blackberry Cobbler, I found, is a great way to use up my precious blackberries. This dish will satisfy any sweet tooth and the smell of this cobbler baking epitomizes one of summer’s special gifts.

And let’s not forget about strawberries. Bela Gaytan's Strawberry Blackberry Jam with Lavendar means I can use all my wonderful summer berries now, but enjoy them throughout the year when the weather cools down.

You don’t need a backyard garden to enjoy these recipes. Take the family and explore a farmer’s market or see what’s in season at your local grocery store. Whatever you do, make sure you enjoy the last tastes of summer.

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Lori McLain - Aug 24, 2013
Sorry...I cannot type well teenie !
Lori McLain - Aug 24, 2013
Man ! I bet you are not missing the Texas heat...although it is way too hot there also ! Sure have become accustmed t he sweet tea,or at least a half cut version ! Loving all the squash here...tomatoes aout had it, but had a great canteloe with vanilla ice cream in the center :0) I miss you and cannot wait to see you and the whole crew in November ! xxo-Lori