Now that summer will be officially arriving in a few days, I know that hot weather is also on the way. Not that we haven’t already had a few air-conditioned days, but typically central Illinois will quickly go from lovely June days and evenings to humid, sticky, muggy weather, 24/7.
We fired up the grill a few weeks ago and have been eating on the deck, my mini-garden in the middle of a yard whose grassy loveliness is a ruse for the terrible soil you cannot see. Years ago previous owners buried both garbage and coal clinkers all over the backyard making gardening here nearly impossible. So now I garden in pots and the upper part of the deck is my mini-oasis, so much so that when my son called from Hawaii yesterday, where he and his wife are celebrating their anniversary, I wasn’t even that jealous!
Here are a couple recipes I made over the weekend and served to Clay during an al fresco luncheon. (Anne of Green Gables fans ought to get that reference!)
Italian bread, sliced in half and toasted
Muenster cheese slices
deli ham slices (I usually get whatever is on sale in our local Hy-Vee but I like hickory smoked the best)
stalks of fresh asparagus (canned will do)
fresh minced garlic
In pan, heat small amount of olive oil and add garlic and asparagus. Saute until lightly browned. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Remove from heat. Toast bread and then layer ham, cheese, tomatoes, and asparagus. Drizzle oil and garlic from pan on sandwich. Serve and enjoy.
Strawberry Lemonade (this is the super-easy kind and was just as delicious as the made-from-scratch variety)
1 2-liter bottle of Minute Maid lemonade
1 quart container frozen strawberries in syrup
Place slightly thawed strawberries in pitcher and cover with lemonade. Chill in fridge until strawberries can be easily separated. Mix well, breaking berries into smaller pieces and serve in chilled glasses.