The heat is on! July is almost over, setting record breaking temperatures across the country as it slid slowly by. August promises more of the same, but with the addition of ramped up humidity and the promise of a hungry and aggressive mosquito population. Where we live, the ever popular grill and swim dinner evenings by the pool have been preempted almost every day by torrential rains and lightning bolts, rudely and abruptly putting an end to the fun after what appeared to be a normal summer day. Are you getting tired of swatting away the flies and wasps while preparing to consume the usual summer fare? Have you begun to cringe at the sight of yet another bowl of potato salad and platter of charred burgers or brats? Well, turn up the air conditioning and get out the china and crystal. It’s time for some mid-summer civility and an elegant dinner with family and friends.
Fine dining doesn’t have to be heavy. It can be tantalizing to the eyes and the taste buds and still cool and refresh you on a hot summer evening. But not so simple gourmet fare can require a long shopping list and the preparation can be intricate and time consuming. Nobody wants to lug a lot of groceries home in the heat of the midday sun, nor does anyone want to spend hours in the kitchen where the temperature can rise appreciably, air conditioning or not. We have a solution to this dilemma, along with a recipe for a cold, fresh watermelon salad with arugula and feta cheese at the end of this writing.
The Gourmet Food Store, with headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida, is an online distributor, as well as an online retailer, specializing in the best selection of global gourmet foods and ingredients that we’ve found in some time. Their offerings are far too numerous to list, so a leisurely peruse of their website is both in order and a mouth watering pleasure. For example, if caviar is your craving, the Gourmet Food Store has their assortments listed by both country and by type; from Beluga and Golden Ostera Imperial, and from Russia to Italy. There is also an American caviar sampler available as well, to experience this delicacy from our own waters.
Gourmet pates, specialty meats, such as Australian Wagyu beef, escargot in the shell with garlic butter, fresh truffles and desserts abound. If fresh black or white summer truffles or French cookies from La Mere Poulard tempt you, the Gourmet Food Store may be your best gourmet shopping experience ever. Order online, by fax or telephone. For orders over $50.00, they have a flat shipping rate. You’re going to love this place for it’s abundant, unique offerings as well as how it will add new vistas to your culinary imagination.
Now that you have everything you need for a formal, summer gourmet feast, grab a fat, ripe watermelon from your corner store and try the recipe for watermelon salad, happily stolen from Stylish Cuisine…..
Watermelon Salad with Arugula & Feta Cheese
- 1/4 cup each, freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice
- 1 large shallot, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt – to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together the citrus juices, shallot, honey, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and continue whisking until the mixture emulsifies. If not using immediately, refrigerate until ready to toss into the salad.
- 6 cups of baby arugula, washed and spun dry
- 2 cups of seedless watermelon, cut into1″ cubes
- 12 ounces of good Feta cheese, cut into 1/2″ cubes or comparably sized crumbles
- 4 ounces of fresh mint leaves, cut in a julienne style
In a large bowl, assemble the salad ingredients and drizzle with the dressing. Use only enough dressing to coat. There will be some left over. Toss and serve as a sweet, tangy, cold, fresh beginning or an interlude before dessert. This recipe serves 4 to 6 delighted diners.
There you have it; everything you could possibly want for a dressy, fancy summer party. But if you just HAVE to grill, do so with panache.