Garden Picnic . . .Cantaloupe Melon Mint Salad
Last night’s perfect summer evening drew us out to have yet another meal at our garden picnic table. Ander went to visit his artist friend, Bill Rivas, the other day, and in usual form, he was inspired to reorganize the garden. Ander cleared out my potting table of dried oak leaves and remnants of broken shards of terra cotta pots. The rubble around the potting table was painstakingly removed. The old, rotting wine barrel that was once used as a table was removed. The old, bamboo table used to hold my geranium plants was dismantled and placed in the recycling bin. Wild blackberry brambles were cut away.
Ander is a very hard worker and once he has his mind set, there’s no stopping him. Bill has been renovating his property over the summer, so I know where Ander got his motivation. One year, for my birthday, we discovered one of Bill’s garden sculptures on our front porch. I had admired the same art piece just days before while visiting him at his studio, a reconditioned barn built in the early 20’s. Bill gave Ander some wood from the property to build the chicken coop several years ago. He helped set the foundation and framing for “CHEZ POULET”. Bill is good folk amongst our circle of friends. He is very down to earth, no pretentiousness and can turn “trash” into the most incredible “treasure”. Bill is also a hard worker and I’m very pleased when Ander spends time with him. He’s a good influence. He’s a good artist. He’s a good friend.
"Triple Cream Delights" . . .
Our ”garden picnic” was simple and light. I made another batch of the ”Fig and Provençal Olive Tapenade”. I made crostini of the sliced Village Bakery’s French baguette and pulled out the last of the ”Cowgirl Creamery” cheese. I learned how to make cheese at their "factory".
I made an antipasti platter, which included, thin slices of cured ham, pickled beets, pickled green beans, Italian Giardiniera and marinated roasted red peppers. The pickled beets and pickled green beans were from last season’s garden harvest. The sweet, sour and savory combinations were incredible! Our salad for the evening was a cool, refreshing and unique blend of thinly sliced (out came the mandoline, again) cantaloupe, lime juice and mint. Dessert was a bowl of “Bing and Rainier cherries”. We paired this repast with a chilled bottle of ”Hop Kiln Winery’s 2005 Thousand Flowers”. It is a balanced blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Muscat Canelli.
"Yellow Pear Boccancini" . . .
We picked another set of cherry tomatoes that provided a handful of “boccancini”. It’s so nice to be able to walk around the garden, pick a tomato here and a sprig of basil there and pop in your mouth for a ”slight snack”.
"Melon Mint Salad" . . .
”Cantaloupe Melon Mint Salad”
1 large (4-5 Lb.) cantaloupe, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Key limes or ½ Persian lime
¼ cup fresh mint, chiffonade
Place cantaloupe slices in a bowl, squeeze lime juice and sprinkle mint over melon. Toss gently, until well incorporated. Serve immediately or slightly chilled.
Variation: Can substitute with Honeydew melon, Sharlyn melon, Crane melon, any melon of your choice. OR a MIX!
Yield: 6-8 servings
"Garden Candy - Sungold Cherry Tomato" . . .
Life is a banquet, my friends.