Another Summer Menu Idea

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It's not over 'til it's over, right guys?  There is still more time to grill, enjoy eating alfresco and to savor some summery weather.  This menu has been top-of-mind lately because I made it for a family celebration of my daughter's August birthday last year.  My husband, in particular, found it mind-blowing - in fact, the salad here is what turned him into a fresh fig lover.  Serve it up to people you love, and treat them to a last, fresh taste of summer.

For a main course, this Rosemary Chicken Skewers With Berry Sauce recipe from Simply Recipes is simple to prepare, but looks and tastes like it took much more effort.  The sauce is very delicious.

For starch, this Couscous Salad with Dates and Almonds, from Bon Appetit has a nice sweet/savory thing going on.   I use whole wheat couscous to amp up the nutrition and protein and I also make double the dressing - I find I need more than the amount called for in the recipe (but not the entire doubled amount) to dress the salad.

For greens, this Late Summer Salad is an adaptation of a recipe from the Fields Of Greens Cookbook by Annie Somerville.  It is a beautiful composed salad that makes a striking presentation for your guests.

Late Summer Salad 

2 handfuls of baby spinach
Orange Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 small cantaloupe
8-10 ripe fresh organic Black Mission figs
1 T. pine nuts, toasted


Wash the spinach and dry it in a salad spinner.  Arrange it on a serving platter.  Make the vinaigrette. 

Cut the melon in half and scoop out the seeeds, then thinly slice and peel, following the contour of the rind.  Rinse the figs and pat dry.  Cut them into halves or quarters.

Arrange the melon and figs atop the spinach.  Drizzle the vinaigrette over the fruit and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Serves 4 - this can easily be doubled - just use a medium cantaloupe.

Orange Vinaigrette

1/4 t. minced orange zest
2 T. fresh orange juice
1/2 T. Trader Joe's Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar
1/4 t. salt
3 T. olive oil


Combine everything but the oil in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil.  Makes 1/3 cup, but again, can be easily doubled.