By Lia Jonsson

 
The Dog Days of Summer. Are they here? Are they about to end? Are they good, or evil? Should we care? Whether or not you know – or care – about the reasons that some 40 days in July and August have been called the “dog days” since ancient times (some say in honor of the dog star Sirius – others because it’s the hottest season with the least rainfall in the northern hemisphere), this is the period we are now in.

Depending upon whether you ascribe to the dates of the traditional calendar which lists the dog days from July 23 (or 24th) to August 23 (or 24th) or to the Farmers Almanac which give the dates as July 3 through August 11, these are still the times that bring on summer “doldrums” if not the “phrensies,” burning fevers and hysterics attributed to them in the 1800’s.

Lia-EWFB-8-1Eating Light

Most of us will agree that when the weather is really hot, eating hot foods and heavy meals is less than appealing; simple suppers and lots of salads seem to suffice during the humid, lazy days of late summer when what most of us look forward to is the coolness of fall and a return to the routines we have abandoned during the summer.

Here, then, are some simple salad recipes – capturing the bounty of the season, but requiring very little work to put together. They are perfect to serve alone as light suppers with fresh bread, and fruit for dessert – or you could pair them with burgers on the grill, or a simple flank steak or barbecued chicken.

With an Aquaponics system, you might be able to harvest most of the ingredients from your backyard – or, if you go to the market, look for the freshest and the best in order to make these salads the stars of your meal. We hope you’ll try some of these – and let us know how you like them. Click on the title for a link to the full recipe.

 

Watermelon, Feta & Black Olive Salad

This is a “fall-back” recipe for a quick and refreshing treat in our household, because these are three of our favorite ingredients, and also because the combination is so unexpected and so delicious. It’s a Nigella Lawson recipe – hope you’ll try it; and hope you’ll love it as much as we do!

 

Avocado Summer Salad

Another favorite – this one is a little heartier – with some more “stick to your ribs” ingredients, but it’s still light enough to be refreshing on the hottest days! We guarantee you’ll like it if you like avocado – and you can add other veggies as you please to make it even more of a complete dinner. Just add some French bread to soak up the really light and refreshing dressing.

Sautéed shrimp scattered on top make it a complete and satisfying meal, if you are so inclined.

 

Our third suggestion today is one we discovered a couple of years ago when we had lots of fresh tomatoes and more day-old bread than we knew what to do with! From one of our favorite Italian cookbooks, this one is adaptable in many ways, but the idea is so simple, it’s phenomenal. And, it’s “Oh, so good!”

Italian Bread Salad – Panzanella

This simple version is from Jamie Oliver – you know, that Jamie Oliver who wants us all to eat better, healthier foods – especially our kids!

Here are the instructions – it can’t really be called a recipe, because it’s so simple – memorize it, because we’re sure you’ll want to make it again and again!

 

Until next week – try to get through the “dog days” with good grace!