August is our slowest month of the year. We spend a lot of time evaluating our year to date and drumming up some summer sales. Most of our local customer base seem to go on vacation this month. Many of our loyal regulars have a weekend house so their shopping times change. We find that Thursday evenings and Friday mornings are busier as people try to extend those last few summer weekends. I love to peek into their baskets and dream about the wonderful menus they have planned for the weekend.
I can only imagine the beautiful salads our customers are making with items like Zejd olive oil and our Aleppo pepper. In my home these would be transformed into a gently dressing for a beautiful ripe, local Crenshaw melon or a striking watermelon, feta salad with garden herbs. Quick, fresh, cool meal ideas for the dog days of summer. Fruit simply seasoned with a little heat and sea salt, then garnished with chives and herbs are a summer delight. Some other fruits that benefit from this treatment are mango slices or peaches — or my personal favorite, figs! Ancho chili salt also punches up the flavors.
Another summer favorite is our beet/pomegranate relish. Roast whole baby beets coated with olive oil and a little thyme in a 450* oven until just tender. Dice it all, including the peel, into bite size pieces. Dress simply with a vinaigrette made of natural pomegranate molasses, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and Aleppo pepper. Toss in a handful of pomegranate seeds and some fresh chopped chives or whatever herbs you have in your yard. Serve at room temperature.
My husband Pat loves to garden. Between his love for gardening and mine for recipe development, late summer is a joyful time to harvest from our backyard garden in Brooklyn. Throw some kabobs on the grill seasoned with chickenkabob spice blend, and gently warm up some fresh pita bread. We are outdoors people. The Lebanese love their summertime. For months on end, I do not turn on my oven. The BBQ and local produce simply seasoned with the best ingredients make up the bulk of our diet.
In a few short weeks we will be gearing up for the busy season, but for now I am enjoying eating and cooking like I am on vacation with my customers.