A few years ago I had the opportunity to present a cooking class in the mountains of South Carolina. As I drove up the driveway toward the 200-year-old log cabin where I was teaching the class, I caught my breath at the valley below and mountains beyond. Then as I walked through the back door of the house, I was awe struck by an equally beautiful setting on the other side with an oak tree shaded lawn, sprawling meadowland and a deep wide creek with hills beyond.
I set up my class because this was “hands on” and everyone would be cooking. We had a full house of 20 that day. One of the women owned a vineyard so it seemed most appropriate that we start our class with a Grape & Cucumber Salsa. As we worked we made summer dishes such as Watermelon, Feta and Shrimp Salad, Corn and Feta Salad, Cherry Tomatoes Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Basil and many others. (The other recipes are on our website if you have not seen them).
When the food was all ready we moved it out to long tables set up on the top lawn overlooking the meadow and hills beyond. We poured wine, and passed our food around for tasting. Good food, good wine, good friends and beautiful views with a cool summer breeze gently blowing. It just couldn’t have been a better day.
Thought you might like to try this cool and refreshing salsa from my friends in the mountains.
Grape & Cucumber Salsa
1 cup seedless green grapes, quartered
1 cup seedless red grapes, quartered
3/4 cup finely chopped peeled English cucumber
1/4 cup finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with tortilla chips. Yield 6 (1/2 cup) servings.
Every year, I challenge myself as a gardener to grow something I've never grown before and this year was no exception. As a professional garden writer, I was privileged to be given several exciting new varieties to trial. Additionally, in my travels this year, I had the chance to evaluate many more new plants in trial gardens across the country. The following new annuals, which will be new at retail in Spring 2017, received top ratings in my book.
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