I was recently sitting on my front porch when my neighbor started up her lawnmower. Soon the wonderful smell of fresh cut grass filled the air. This got me thinking about how many sights, smells and sounds we associate with summer.
In the fall we have colorful leaves, pumpkins, scarecrows, wood smoke and Halloween. The winter brings snowmen, skiing, ice skating, fresh cut pines and the holidays. In the spring we have colorful tulips, new leaves on the trees and Easter eggs. But the summer brings us such a numerous array of sights, sounds and smells.
Hamburgers sizzling on a charcoal grill, corn on the cob dripping with butter, potato salad, fried chicken, lemonade, and watermelon. The slamming of a screen door, the creak of a porch swing, the crack of a bat as the ball flies into the stands. Sand between your toes, the sunset over water, a moonlit walk on the beach. The thrill as the roller-coaster chugs upward, ice-cream, hotdogs, sailboats, waterskiing, lightening bugs. Swimming pools, picnic baskets, croquet, badminton, bathing suits, suntan lotion, sunglasses, flip-flops, convertibles. Outdoor concerts, cold beer, a shade tree, fireworks, a bike ride, a fishing pole. Laughing children as they run through the lawn sprinkler. Sipping ice tea, snoozing in a hammock and sunny afternoons.
I grew up in Michigan where we eagerly anticipated the heat of summer. I still cherish all the childhood memories of sunny summers spent with family and friends. And I have to admit, summer is still my favorite time of year.
• 1 small sweet onion, quartered
• 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and quartered
• 1 medium cucumber, coarsely chopped
• 4 green onions, chopped
• 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled [2 if large]
• 2 large fresh ripe tomatoes, quartered
• 1 medium or hot pepper, depending on your preference
Note: Dice half of each of these ingredients by hand. The other half go into a food processor.
• 2 cups tomato juice, prefer Spicy V8
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
• 1 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Juice of 1/2 lemon squeezed
• Hot sauce to taste
• Sour Cream for serving
1) Place half of the onion, pepper, cucumber, green onions, celery, garlic, hot pepper and fresh tomatoes in a food processor. Process until very finely chopped.
2) Add the cilantro, parsley, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and tomato juice. Process to a thick puree. Transfer to bowl and stir in chopped ingredients. Add hot sauce of your choice to taste.
3) Chill for at least one hour before serving. If desired, serve with a dollop of sour cream.