I could tell that summer is winding down even if I didn’t know the date. The humidity and record temperatures have thankfully eased off. The garden is looking bedraggled and is only spitting out the odd zucchini at this point. Winter squash and root vegetables are becoming prevalent at the farmers market.
Last night, I thought I’d celebrate the last days of summer with an end-of-summer tribute meal. I tried to pull as many of the ingredients as possible from the remnants of my garden, focusing on herbs, tomatoes and cucumbers. Here’s the menu:
- Refrigerator pickles (see below)
- Bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and basil
- Eggplant broiled and marinated in a mixture of parsley, capers, balsamic vinegar and olive oil
- Chicken marinated in a mixture of red wine, mustard, rosemary, basil and olive oil, and pan-roasted
It was an excellent meal — almost like a picnic at the dinner table. Everything was good, but the refrigerator pickles, a recipe from Sara Foster’s Fresh Every Day, were particularly easy and tasty, so I wanted to share the recipe with you (with my few minor adaptations).
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 to 5 small cucumbers, sliced into ⅛-inch-thick rounds — You could use pickling cucumbers, but I used the regular kind, and they worked fine.
- 2 scallions, sliced thinlyCombine the vinegar, sugar, salt, black pepper, cloves, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and dill seed and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Layer the cucumbers and scallions in a quart jar or 2 pint jars. Press them tightly into the jar. Pour the liquid mixture over to cover. Place the lid on the jar, shake it well and refrigerate at least 4 hours. These pickles will keep in the refrigerator for at least 1 month.
- Cucumbers from the Garden (simplycooking.wordpress.com)