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.
There's really no better time to visit the great public gardens than spring into summer, but why not get off the horticultural highway and see a few lesser known gardens, too! Dotting the country are some truly remarkable places that you may not have heard of but that you need to see.
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