Summer Plates

Mid-Summer Fruit Salad
. cantaloupe, cut in cubes
. watermelon, cut in cubes
. strawberries, halved
. grapes, halved
. blueberries
. fresh mint leaves, chopped
. fresh lemon juice
. agave nectar (optional - adds just a touch more sweetness)

1. Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside and serve chilled.

Mediterranean Artichoke and Edamame Stew
(adapted from a NY Times recipe)
. 1 can quartered artichoke hearts (fresh or frozen artichoke hearts can be used)
. 1 lemon (2 lemons if using fresh baby artichokes)
. 1 bunch of spring onions, chopped
. 3 garlic cloves, minced
. 1 lb shelled edamame ( use fresh fava beans if seasonal and can be found)
. 1/4 cup fresh fennel or dill (1 tbsp dried dill can be used as a substitute)
. chicken broth (optional)
. salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Trim the artichokes, cut in half and immediately submerge in a bowl of water acidulated with the juice of 1/2 lemon. (Skip this step if using canned artichokes - simply drain and rinse quartered artichoke hearts and set aside)
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy casserole or Dutch oven. Add the onion, and cook, stirring, until tender, about three minutes. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring, for a minute until fragrant. Drain the artichokes, and add the skinned edamame (fava beans), the fennel or dill, and the juice of 1 lemon (3 tablespoons) and the remaining olive oil. Add enough water (or chicken broth) to just cover everything, and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the broth fragrant.
3. Turn the heat to high, and reduce the liquid in the pan by about a third. Stir in a generous amount of freshly ground pepper. Taste and adjust salt. Serve warm.

Herb-Roasted Whole Chicken
. ready-made and deliciously prepared from our local Rice Epicurean Market (It's summer... I had to cheat somewhere)

Nothing says summer like a crisp, refreshing glass of Pinot Grigio.
House-warming gift from our lovely neighbor and friend, Ms. Vicki

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