Today’s moments are tomorrow’s memories.
Sushan R. Sharma
Picnic basket in tow, my husband and I joined my brother, his wife, and ten thousand others for an evening of music under the stars. Redlands, California has a long time tradition of free concerts, plays, and dance performances through the Summer Music Festival established in 1923. Their ‘music for all’ vision provided a place for anyone who wanted to attend regardless of their ability to pay for admission. This is a wonderful thing. Our family has going there since our girls we small. It allowed them and us to be exposed to the arts we would otherwise be unable to afford.
The night we attended, James Garner performed his Tribute to Johnny Cash. It was great fun to listen to all the songs my dad had sung along to on Sunday drives when we were young. As each song started, my brother and I would exchange smiles of remembrance and for some, we even joined in with the singing— just for old time’s sake.
Our picnic wasn’t half bad either. Each person in our group showed up with wonderful things to eat. Falafels, hummus, and bread came with my sister-in-law from her favorite Mediterranean café. I added a Summer vegetable salad and grapes, while wine and sweets were produced from a Trader Joe’s bag to round out a very fine meal. It was a bit like the story of Stone Soup. No one went away hungry. Our hearts, as well as our stomachs, were filled from an evening of good conversation, yummy food, and sweet memories.
Summer Vegetable Salad is a pretty mixture of potatoes, tomatoes and fennel. Very low calorie and great for picnics because it contains no mayonnaise.
Summer Vegetable Salad
- 1 pound new potatoes, quartered
- ½ pound carrots, cleaned and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
- ½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- ½ cup julienned fennel
- 1 red onion, peeled, cut vertically, then thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup black olives
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons fennel fronds, chopped
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Separately steam potatoes, carrots and green beans until al dente. Drain and place in large bowl. Pour wine over vegetables and toss.
- Add julienned fennel and onion. Sprinkle with vinegar and toss.
- Add olives, tomatoes, fennel fronds, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss and serve.
I found the Summer Vegetable Salad in Great Good Food: Luscious Lower-Fat Cooking by Julee Rosso. I tweaked the original recipe a bit to suit my pantry and tastes. I have had this book on my shelf for years primarily because its fun to look at. It has the recipes grouped in events rather than categorized by mains, sides, desserts. It is full of ideas of menus that celebrate life.