Summer has always been a double-edged sword for me.  I personally find that the extreme heat and I don’t get along anymore.  Maybe it’s because I try to fill each day with too many activities, which heats me up more than if I were to recline with a good book and an iced tea!  One activity that is always fun in the summer months is dining al fresco.  We keep the meal simple and guests will often volunteer to bring a dish, which I allow.  We recently had a friend over for dinner and my husband grilled salmon on a cedar plank.  I prepared a white and wild rice and mushroom pilaf, fresh dwarf asparagas.  Our guest prepared individual, fresh peach, two-crusted pies.  Maybe that is the one other thing I love about summer, fresh peaches.

Grilled Salmon on Cedar Plank

1-salmon filet, with skin on one side only

1 cedar plank

The juice of 1 lemon, brown sugar, capers, olive oil.

Soak the cedar plank overnight in a basin of water that completely covers the plank.  Lightly oil the plank with some of the olive oil, place the salmon (skin side down) on the plank.  Lightly oil the top of the salmon, cover with lemon juice and then pack the brown sugar over the top, to a thickness of about 1/2″ .  Dot the sugar with capers.   Cook the salmon on the grill using indirect heat with the grill top down.  Check at 20 minutes for doneness.  The salmon will take a little longer to cook using this method, but the results are worth the wait.  The sugar dissolves and leaves a hint of sweetness—less than you might expect.  Bon Appetit!

 I set the table with simple white hotel linens and I cut fresh roses and hydrangea blossoms for the floral arrangement.  Our patio is equipped with white tea lights that are hooked to a switch so that we can flip a switch on the patio and the lights give just the right glow for dining after dark.  Somehow the stress of the heat and the day disappear when you dine outdoors!

 Speaking of flowers—don’t forget to fertalize your roses throughout this blooming season.  If you find rust on the leaves of your rose bushes remove them and then spread a thin layer of mulch around the base of the plant.  Rust is an airbourne problem and if it lands on the ground it can find its way back to your rose bush with a breeze or the gardener’s blower.

 Take time to enjoy the summer evenings and remember to slow down and cool off during the heat of the day!