Summer Solstice – Midsummer

The longest day of the year known as Summer Solstice, falls on Friday, June 21st, beginning at 1:04 A.M. EST.  Summer Solstice, or midsummer (as Shakespeare had referenced it), is the shortest night of the year.   This day marks the turning point after which days begin to get shorter, and nights become longer.

Midsummer themes include: creativity, health, energy, spontaneity, luck, wishes, and love (could there be a better time to make a baby?).  Summer Solstice reminds me to refocus on all of those health goals that I made back in January.  With the bright sunshine and the abundance of fresh summer vegetables and fruits, it is difficult to make excuses otherwise.

Herbs are believed to be at their strongest potency at this time.  What better way to enjoy their flavor than in a simple 2-ingredient recipe: Tomato Basil Salad.

tomato

Tomato Basil Salad

Ingredients:

1 Tomato, preferably Heirloom (although any kind will do)

Basil, as much or as little as you would like (any kind will do)

Salt and Pepper

1/2 t. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sliced Fresh Mozzarella (optional)

Aged Balsamic Vinegar (optional)

Method:

Slice tomato into large slices.  Fan tomato slices on a plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you’re using the sliced fresh mozzarella, layer it between the slices of tomato before sprinkling with salt and pepper. .  Drizzle the olive oil over the sliced tomato.  If you’re using the balsamic vinegar, drizzle a small amount of that, too.  Chiffonade the basil, or just chop it up however you want, then sprinkle it on top.  Serves 1.

For this recipe, I used Boxwood Basil.  The Hubs and I found this at a garden store not long ago, and I have learned that although it is great to be used for edging and as a container plant (often as a shaped topiary), it is also edible.

Basil boxwood

Many celebrate Summer Solstice by having a bonfire and staying up until dawn to usher in what marks the end of cultivation, and the beginning of harvest. When I think of bonfires, I think of S’mores.

smores_icecream_sandwich_008

However, this is no ordinary S’more, it happens to be a S’mores Ice Cream Sandwich.  It is made with homemade toasted marshmallow ice cream and homemade graham crackers dipped in chocolate & sprinkled with sea salt.

I had to text a friend out in Napa for a good wine pairing because after finding the perfect recipe here thanks to Love+Cupcakes, I didn’t want to go wrong.  My very talented friend, Kory recommended Melka CJ 2010 Cabernet.  When I asked Kory what the “CJ” stood for, she told me “Chloe and Jeremy”, after the winemaker’s kids.  Perfect!  According to melkawines.com, “The 2010 CJ is a seductive, opulent wine exhibiting dark purple/ruby color with characteristics of licorice, spice, tobacco and plenty of black currant along with good plushness and a long luxurious finish.”  More tasting notes and additional information can be found here.

bottle-cj-2013

Midsummer is the perfect day to celebrate, as it is the official first day of summer.  Each day continues to grow shorter from here until Winter Solstice on December 21st.  With this in mind, we are also reminded that the season is short and to enjoy it.

 

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