Life moves along with the seasons…this is particularly true during the summer when fruits and vegetables and herbs are at their peak of freshness.
ALFRESCO…Here, in the above photo, a lite breakfast of ripe, just picked fruits epitomizes the beauty of a summer garden. There is no better time of year than summer for creating fabulous meals while there is a limitless supply of fresh from the garden…or maybe the Farmer’s Market…colorful fruits, herbs, salad greens and vegetables. Eating out in the garden or on the porch/patio is a completely different experience from a meal served indoors. The fragrance of flowers…the scents of the season…mingle with the pleasure of delicious food and drink. Celebrate the tranquility and pleasure of bare feet on the grass or cool stone while sipping a chilled drink…
Long, hot summer days demand light food…plenty of salads, raw and grilled vegetables, simple fish, shrimp, crabs or scallops accompanied by a chilled while wine or Rose’ to bring the day to a close.
A hot summer day calls for cold drinks during the time just before the evening meal…enjoy a glass of Prosecco with fresh blended peaches. [Did you know that peaches originated in China?]
OR…a personal favorite…Try LILLET with lemon. Lillet is a French aperitif, made in the village of Podensac from Bordeaux wine infused with oranges, honey, fresh mint and spices. Serve it chilled with a squeeze of lemon for a refreshing summer afternoon drink or before a meal as an aperitif. Crisp and delicious and refreshing.
Of course, when I was growing up in the south, ALFRESCO…in the open air…meant taking a tomato sandwich out on the porch to eat while shooing flies away with a mesh swatter from the Piggly Wiggly…or cold fried chicken and corn on the cob under the tree by the wash house….all while my French sister, Jeanine, growing up in Lyon, enjoyed a bite of cheese or a piece of tortilla, a fresh lemon presse’ and a chunk of baguette from the “bakery” next door. And my friends wonder about my obsession!
Season of Summer...we fall into a slower pace, a more relaxed time for being outside, a time for picnics, for vacations at the beach or a cabin at the lake…a time for cooling off in the water, playing croquet on the lawn, canoeing on the lake…endless hours whiled away swinging into the lake dropping from a rope while yelling…”Geronimo”!!
Early summer in the garden…water your garden during dry spells, although we finally got rain yesterday and all night and shows 3 1/2 inches in my rain gauge!! There are 4 things to be mindful of in the garden: be alert for insect pests and diseases and be vigilant in your watering and weeding. Of course, if you follow my organic program you really shouldn’t be bothered by 3 of the chores, but watering is critical when the sky is dry for days and days…plants need about an inch of rain or watering a week. In loose sandy soil you’ll need more!! So remember…plants are like people…they need to be clean and healthy to feel good and need air and water to survive!
A tip for you if you plan to put in a stone patio this season…which I am doing at my brother’s house…use creeping thyme planted between some of the stones on a terrace or patio to give fragrance and fresh green color year round.
Summer inside…close your eyes for a moment and envision the perfect room for summer living. So, what do you see? For me it’s whitewashed woods and wicker, sorbet colors and white slipcovers on furniture. The look is comfortable and welcoming. However, I can’t change over furniture every season as would like to do so I think of simple tricks to give a breezy easy livin’ look to my rooms where I spend the most time. Lavender trimmings in the clean fireplace, fresh lavender, gardenia, and peony candles, a creamy white quilt thrown over the French paisley sofa, fresh little bouquets of herbs and flowers on every table, soft pretty pillows, a mantel full of gathered treasures, crisp white sheets on my bed topped with a lacy white cover from Portugal, all express my love for a somewhat simple, sophisticated lifestyle. My house is not perfect and never will be, I prefer comfort for Holly, my Border Collie, and me. It takes a lifetime to get where I am now!
AND, outside…I dream of a courtyard in a village in Provence…There is something, to me, about all things French that make them stylish and ROMANTIC! I remember a summer afternoon spent walking through a market in the south of France…a large woven basket, I still use for shopping, filled with some goat cheese wrapped in green fig leaves, a fresh still-warm baguette, a bottle of local Rose’, a few bars of handmade lavender soap and a new pair of red espadrilles and of course, a lovely bouquet of lavender stems. Later, nearing dusk, we, Jeanine and I, ambled down the lane towards a small stone house with lacy curtains fluttering in the breeze…our little cottage for the night! Roses clambered up the wall and eventually onto the roof…lavender just starting to bud…such wonderful fragrance added to a night sleeping with windows open to the night air.
Tonight, as I slip between the crisp white sheets, lavender sachet from Provence by my neck, I hope to dream of another time and back to that place…
Here’s to the Joys of July….
Love from Patricia & Holly & Cerise, the Deux Chevaux…