The local markets are bustling with activity this time of year. Your mouth will water over the large assortment of fresh vegetables and fruits to choose from. Pick some fresh vegetables and fruits and make some simple dishes. No casseroles on this menu, and you won’t need a deep fryer for these recipes. If you want a protein to serve, bake some chicken or fish or grill some shrimp. June is National Iced Tea Month, so fill some tall glasses with some perfectly sweetened tea (or unsweet, if that’s your preference). Just keep it simple and easy.
Prepare this tasty appetizer right before serving it, and plate the bruschetta on a colorful platter.
• 3 cups cantaloupe, cut into very small cubes
• ½ cup diced prosciutto
• 3 TBSP. extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 TBSP. apple cider vinegar
• 1 TBSP. sugar
• 2 TBSP. fresh chives
• ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 baguette French bread or other Italian rustic bread
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Olive oil
• 8 oz. Halloumi cheese (if you can’t find this delicious cheese, then opt for chevre cheese)
Combine the cantaloupe, prosciutto, 3 TBSP. olive oil, vinegar, sugar, chives, and red pepper flakes and toss gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slice the bread into 14-15 even slices. Brush with olive oil. Toast under the broiler until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Spoon cantaloupe mixture over the toasted bread slices. Crumble the cheese and sprinkle over the cantaloupe.
Peach and Arugula Salad
A pretty salad with fresh, juicy peaches, a tangy dressing, and fresh mozzarella.
• ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
• 1 TBSP. Dijon mustard
• ½ tsp. honey
• ½ tsp. kosher salt
• ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1 TBSP. fresh chives
• 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 5-6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
• 2-3 peaches
• 5 oz. arugula
• 6-8 oz. fresh mozzarella, torn into smaller pieces
Combine the vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, pepper, and chives in a bowl; whisk in the 1/3 cup olive oil. Whisk the dressing vigorously for a few seconds until lightly thickened. Cook the bacon in a skillet, then use the same skillet to cook the peaches. Slice the peaches into even pieces and add to the skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for 2 minutes or so per side, until browned. Toss the arugula with some of the dressing. Add the cooked bacon, peaches, and cheese to the salad. Serve with additional dressing. Option: If you are not fond of the peppery, strong flavor of arugula, you can substitute a mixture of baby spinach and radicchio.
Marinated Vegetable Salad
A classic summer salad. Champagne vinegar is a delicious light vinegar and a perfect choice for fresh vegetables.
• 4 TBSP. champagne vinegar
• 2 TBSP. canola oil
• 1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
• 3 tomatoes, sliced
• 1 small onion, thinly sliced
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Garnish options: fresh parsley or fresh basil
In a bowl, mix the vinegar and oil (if you add sugar, stir well until sugar is dissolved). Toss with the vegetables and add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for an hour. Optional: Add a teaspoon of sugar if you use cider vinegar or white vinegar. You can use extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil instead of the canola oil.
Sweet Tea Slushie
How to improve a glass of tea: add in some sweet tea ice cubes.
• 6 cups sweet tea, divided
• 1 lemon, optional
• Drinking straws
• Mint leaves
Pour half of the tea into two ice cube trays, and freeze for at least six hours or overnight. Put the remaining tea in the refrigerator to chill. When ready to make, place the ice cubes, remaining chilled tea, and some fresh lemon juice in a blender; blend for about 30 seconds or until ice is crushed. Add more ice if necessary. Place the mixture in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Stir and pour into glasses, and serve with lemon slices, and fresh mint leaves.
Spiced Fruit Tea
This tea is a seriously satisfying thirst quencher.
• 3 cups boiling water
• 4 regular-sized tea bags
• 1 regular-sized cinnamon-apple tea bag
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 1 (6 oz.) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
• 1 (6 oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
• 2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
• 9 cups water
Pour the boiling water over the tea bags; cover and steep for 5 minutes. Squeeze the tea bags gently and remove. Stir in juice concentrates, sugar, pineapple juice, and 9 cups of cold water. Chill and serve over ice. Makes 1 gallon of fruit tea. Can use orange-spice tea bags instead of the cinnamon-apple.
— Amy Fischer lives in Fort Payne, Alabama, and is a Southern food enthusiast who loves to spend time in the kitchen creating tasty recipes. You can contact her at facebook.com/MySouthernTable.