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In Case You Missed It...

Where did the summer go? As I approached the Labor Day weekend, I started thinking about summer food favorites – and feeling like I hadn’t even had a really good caprese salad yet.

Comforted by the fact that it’s still officially summer until September 23, I started planning an “end of summer bounty” menu for the Harlem Yacht Club (for September 9) where I’m steward, hoping to help out others who, like me, longed to hold on to the summer season – in food and flavors, anyway.

Planning menus is my favorite thing. I sift through my recipes for appetizers, main courses, and desserts, and blend those ideas with what I find on internet searches, all the while jotting notes and watching the menu come to life. My mindset during this particular menu planning process: “in case you missed it” (again, thinking of my missing that caprese salad!).

For starters, I thought of including a Golden Roasted Yellow Tomato Soup with Fried Goat Cheese. For a salad, I envisioned a Grilled Scallop and Caramelized Avocado Salad with grapefruit, crunchy bee pollen, slivered red onion, sunflower seeds, honey-orange vinaigrette. I featured that salad at the Club for the summer season, and wrote about it in my July blog, offering a “how to” on caramelizing the avocado: Sprinkle on some turbinado sugar and use a crème brûlée torch. The honey is local from City Island beekeepers for the dressing, as well as the bee pollen.

Main dishes that came to mind included a Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak – what’s more summer than grilling?! I’d serve that with a summer succotash (corn, butter beans, tomatoes, bacon, edamame, onions) with a green chimichurri. I almost feel like succotash is the ratatouille. Both create a dish using regional vegetables. And with that connection, I would add a Ratatouille Bake with Goat Cheese and Fresh Basil. That would include summer squash, eggplant, tomato, bell pepper, red onion, and roasted garlic, all stewed together, and with some shredded parmesan.

Of course, there would have to be some barbecue. I chose ribs to barbecue, serving them up with mac ‘n cheese, collard greens, and cornbread.

For dessert – calling to mind summer camping trips – I chose a S’mores Tart with Toasted Marshmallow Meringue. And I just had to have peaches as part of the picture with a Strawberry-Peach Shortcake topped with fresh whipped cream.

So before we bid summer foods farewell, let’s pay tribute to them one last time, holding off on everything pumpkin and apple for just a couple more weeks. And for right now, I’ve got to dash off, to make myself that caprese salad!


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