Summer Variety

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To put it bluntly, June is a big month for food. From hot to cold, from beef to turkey, from yogurt to applesauce cake, June has it covered in its National month, weeks and days of food. Some choices such as beef steak and seafood may be a bit cost prohibitive but there is still plenty of good things to eat this month.

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month. Gardens are starting to produce lettuce, radishes, onions, peas and more. By the end of the month farmers markets are in full swing with zucchini, summer yellow squash, sweet onions, early tomatoes and all types of lettuces, green beans and those tiny, golf-ball size new potatoes.

While all that fresh food is wonderful, June is also National Summer Vacation Month. Who could have guessed?

In a report sent in the summer of 1888 to the Springfield Daily Republic newspaper from out west, W. S. Taylor found his vacation bliss was such that he expounded upon the benefits of the region.

He said, “Drinking in the pure mountain air scenery and sparkling cold water for two weeks so invigorates and builds up one who is accustomed to indoor work, as to enable him to put new life and vigor into his work when he returns to it. Many resort to the seaside to recuperate but in this climate I am in, the most beneficial results are to be attained from a sojourn in the mountains. It is my opinion.”

While Mr. Taylor was able to journey some distance for his revitalization, many more in our area were resolved to enjoy their leisure hours closer to home back then. The same is true today. Whether near or far, gather in fresh veggies and fruits, eat the wonderful bounty found in June.

Zesty Zucchini

6 small, fresh zucchini

1/4 cup olive oil or butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 cup Italian salad dressing

Zucchini should be about as long as your hand. Wash, cut off stem end and slice about 1/2 inch thick. Place in a skillet with the oil or butter. Sauté lightly 3 to 4 minutes or until tender crisp. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over all and toss lightly to coat. Serve hot or cold.

Sauerkraut Salad

32-ounce jar or 29-ounce can sauerkraut with juice

1 large sweet onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped green red or yellow sweet peppers

4-ounce jar pimento, drained, diced

1 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients including the sauerkraut juice in large nonreactive bowl. Mix well to dissolve sugar. Cover and chill for 24 hours. Mix again to serve. This is good as a topping for grilled brats, hot dogs and as a side dish to any meal. For a spicier mix, add your own amount of diced hot peppers.

Dressed Baby Beets

2-4 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Dash of salt

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons butter

One bunch fresh, small beets

In saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch and salt. Sugar amount may vary according to individual taste. Add water and vinegar. Mix well. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Cool and toss with prepared beets.

To prepare beets, wash, cut off leaves leaving 1/2 inch of the stem to prevent bleed out of color. Cook only until thin, sharp knife will pierce them easily. Rinse in cold water. Cut off root and stem ends. Place in bowl whole or sliced. Dress with prepared dressing from above. Chill well.

Celery-Lover’s Slaw

3 cups thinly sliced celery

1/2 cup grated carrots

1 medium apple, cored, chopped

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon vinegar

Place celery, carrots and apple in bowl. Mix mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar well. Pour over salad and mix lightly but thoroughly. Chill.

Photo by Fotolia/mizina