Summertime dinners -- what could be simpler?
How easy? This weekend we started with this dish of lemon cucumbers from our garden seasoned very simply and served with little bricks of fresh feta cheese. These cucumbers are so sweet and crisp, all I did was dress them with a some really good olive oil and a very little bit of torn fresh oregano leaves. Be very careful with the oregano, though, it's got a punch. A little too much and you're like a high school kid wearing Hai Karate. Season with salt at the very end to keep the cucumbers crispy (salt will pull water, wilting the vegetable and diluting the dressing.
After that came two of my summertime staples -- rotisserie smoked chicken, and green bean and potato salad. I salted the chicken early in the morning, then cooked it over coals with a handful of soaked oak chips. For the salad, I steamed the potatoes and green beans separately, then combined them just before serving with olive oil, basil and lemon juice. Add the lemon juice at the end to avoid discoloring the green beans.
We sat out back under the bougainvillea, drinking sunny orange spritzes (new discovery -- thanks Don and Julie -- three parts Aperol, two parts Prosecco, one part club soda) and watching the twilight gather. And we were very thankful that summer is just beginning.
Photo credit: Russ Parsons/Los Angeles Times