Summer Cheese Board

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I know, I know, it’s September, but it is technically still summer. I’ve been wanting to do a summer cheese board for some time and also show the grapes we grew! We were so excited to see them grow this year since we only planted them two years ago. It’s a pretty productive vine and I have no idea what to do with so many green grapes other than cheese boards and snacks. They were a challenge to photograph, mostly hiding behind the leaves, and being on the northern fence, it was almost always bad lighting. When light did reach the grapes, it was like a giant spotlight, and when it didn’t, it was all so dark. And green. But hey, here they are. After 6+ years creating on this blog, this is the first blog post without a recipe! I’ll post a list of what I have here for fruit and cheese because the Humbolt Fog with peach on a slice of baguette is amazing! I had fun arranging the cheese board with the end of summer fruits. I know strawberries don’t produce much into the summer in some areas, but in my backyard they just keep going and going, it’s one of those every-bearing varieties. The plums and peaches are truly reaching the end of the season here, when I was buying them the clerk said get them while you can because this is it. So this is it. End of summer folks, Autumn begins September 23rd. Soups are on the horizon!

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Summer Cheese Board

Lemonade

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Is it summer yet? Ah tomorrow is the first day (I asked Alexa). We had a preview of it last week with a couple days reaching close to 100° so I decided to make some Lemonade. It’s so refreshing and nothing matches fresh squeezed lemon juice. This is my favorite time of year here in Portland. The garden beds have been planted with four kinds of tomatoes, zucchini, three kinds of peppers, radishes and butter crunch lettuce + 2 kinds of basil. And, I put some potatoes in a bucket to see if I could grow them. Oh and pickling cucumbers, I’m super excited about that. A couple years ago we planted regular cucumbers and it produced so many cucumbers we couldn’t keep up, we offered some to our neighbors and they’re like no, no more cucumbers! lol. Ah! So it was 2015 not a couple years ago, I made a salad, a soup, Sesame Noodles with Cucumber and infused them in Vodka. I’ll call that the year of the cucumber. I hope this year will be the year of the tomato, for some reason our tomatoes didn’t do so well last year, very strange because they are usually the easiest to grow. We will see how it all turns out. The raspberries are just starting to ripen, and it looks like a good year for them, many many berries with more still blossoming. So you can count on a raspberry recipe soonish. Lemonade recipe below, I didn’t do any fancy infusing or anything, this is just your basic Lemonade, I used 3/4 cup of simple syrup but I think I could have gone with 1/2 cup, but it’s up to you and what you like. Enjoy!

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Lemonade

  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice. about 6 lemons

  • 3/4 cup simple syrup

  • 3-4 cups water

Add lemon juice, simple syrup and 3 cups of water to a pitcher, stir and taste, add more water or simple syrup as needed. I didn’t use a whole cup of syrup and I thought it was sweet enough. So best to build up the flavors and taste to your liking. I ended up using 3.5 cups water.

Watermelon Cocktail

I love summer and I love the heat, but it has been a bit crazy these past few days here in Portland with temps reaching 105°. This Watermelon Cocktail is perfect for these warm evenings, it’s so refreshing and one of the nice things about this cocktail is that you don’t need to add simple syrup because of the sweetness of the watermelon. One thing I want to mention is that the flavors (watermelon, lime and mint) seemed to get better as it rested, it might be a good idea to add the lime juice and mint to the watermelon juice before refrigerating it. I made it right in the glass but I could see this being made ahead of time so all you would have to do is add the vodka. I chose vodka because that’s what we had on hand, but I think this would work great with rum as well. Enjoy and stay cool folks!

Watermelon Cocktail

  • 4 oz Watermelon Juice
  • 1 shot of vodka
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • a few mint leaves
  • Makes one cocktail

Cut up the watermelon into chunks and place in blender a few chunks at a time and blend high speed until liquified, then continue to add the rest until you’re done. Pour Watermelon juice into a container and refrigerate.

Tear the mint leaves a bit and Muddle them in a rocks glass with the lime juice. Add the vodka and watermelon juice and stir well, add ice and enjoy.

10 Summer Favorites

It’s summer! I love summer even when it’s scorching hot. I’ve put together ten of my favorite-make-again summer recipes. Below is a mix of salads, desserts and keepin’ kewl iced drinks. Picking berries, shucking corn, drinking bourbon iced tea - oh yeah!

Berry + Cherry Galette

Berry Clafoutis

Margarita Ice Pops

A Summer Salad!

Watermelon with Feta + Basil

Cherry Tomato Galette

Quick Dill Pickles

Cold Brew Iced Coffee

Cucumber Infused Vodka

Bourbon Iced Tea with Mint