Hearty Summer Salads for July Book Club Dinner
Hummus with Toasted Pine Nuts and Cumin Seeds
Summer Squash and Quinoa Salad and Walnuts
Kitchen Sink tossed Salad
Wild Blueberry Pie (Erin’s contribution and not included in price per person)
Beer and Wine
$11 per person
July’s book selection
Away for the weekend and tuesday’s book club fast approaching, I planned to pick-up produce at a Farmer’s Market near where I was staying. I thought I’d plan the menu around the produce available. Unfortunately, the selection was limited. Several veggies looked appealing including the fava beans, russian kale and romaine lettuce but since my time was limited on tuesday — I had to work till mid-afternoon on tuesday — the fava beans although very tempting would be too time consuming. And I served Kale last month so I settled on a huge head of Romaine Lettuce as the base of my salad.
Disappointed there wasn’t more of a selection I went back to the farmhouse I’d rented to figure out a menu. I still had summer squash and kohlrabi from this weeks CSA distribution. The kohlrabi I would put in the tossed salad but what to do with the summer squash. I remembered making a salad with summer squash and quinoa last year. But unsure of the recipe decided to do a search on Epicurious and found a salad from Bon Appetit’s August 2012 issue developed by Soa Davies which looked easy to make and delicious. Of course, I made modifications.
I usually make three dishes, so since it is summer (hooray), I wanted to keep it light with a minimum of stove cooking. Hummus seemed like a good option to round out the meal and give a bit more protein. Searching for hummus also on Epicurious, I found a recipe from Gourmet 1998.
Getting home from work at 4:30 p.m. and book club arriving at 7:00 p.m. I had my work cut out for me. First, I prepared the ingredients for the summer squash and quinoa salad and set everything aside in individual bowls to assemble just before serving.
Next, I washed the lettuce and chopped, slivered, diced, etc. the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, hearts of palm, kohlrabi, kiwi and assembled everything in a large bowl that I would dress just before serving.
Of Course, it was just my luck, people arrived early and I was just starting to make the hummus. Thank heavens for Erin, my friend, neighbor, and sous chef. She jumped right into action upon arrival. New to using a food processor, I can’t believe I’ve managed all these years without one, Erin suggested mincing the garlic first in the processor before adding the beans to eliminate the possibility of large garlic chunks. While Erin did that I measured the rest of the wet ingredients into a measuring cup to be added to the garlic and pureed beans.
As everyone chatted, Erin and I finished the hummus, tossed together the summer squash salad and dressed the tossed salad. Two and a half hours starting from scratch and preparing dinner including setting the table was cutting it a bit too close. I usually, prepare and even make as much as I possibly can the night before, but I thought everything was so simple I would be able to prepare it that afternoon. In hind sight, I should have made the hummus monday evening. If I had I would have been done and relaxed when everyone arrived. In any event, the summer squash and quinoa salad and hummus got rave reviews as did the book we read and the fabulous wild blueberrry pie Erin brought.