Vermont Summer Beauty
It was a beautiful summer evening. It rained all day, actually, it had been raining all week. Suddenly, the sun broke through as I was preparing a Sunday evening dinner for friends and family on my deck. In Europe, they call this dining al fresco. Dining “al fresco” means eating outside. Eating outside connects us to nature on many levels.
Traditionally, european meals take longer because the diners linger over their food, enjoy the conversation, take time to appreciate the wine and draw out the joy of the community that the meal offers.
My garden is flourishing this summer. The abundant lettuce is sweet and tender. The peppery nasturtium adds a visual and culinary accent to my salad. When my basket is full of fresh greens, I walk to my flower garden and pick day lilly petals. Day lilly petals are buttery and sweet and add yet another layer of flavor and color to the salad. I also notice that the day lilly pods are tight and green and ready for picking. I pick these to saute with a little olive oil and pepper and use a side dish.
Because it has been raining so much, the chanterelle mushrooms are out. John and I foraged for chanterelles the day before.
On the way home, the fragrance of the milkweed flowers permeated the air. In between gorging on wild blackberries and raspberries, we picked a bag full of milkweed blossums.
Milkweed blossums can be used to make a simple syrup that can be used in a before diner cocktail. Milkweed syrup is fragrant and imparts a beautiful lavender color to the aperitif.
A pretty tablecloth, a bouquet of wildflowers, fresh food from your garden and good friends make for a lovely evening to enjoy Vermont’s summer beauty.