10 dishes you MUST try before summer’s gone.

This year, I greet Labor Day with mixed emotions. Usually, I’m a bit morose about summer’s wane. But this year, it’s just been so hot …

So, I say, bring on the long pants and light sweaters! Bring on the starry, candle-lit nights on the side porch, when dusk comes at 8:00 instead of 9:00. Bring on the transitional foods, like fall squash and greens, soups and pastas.

But wait!

Before you go, Summer, we still have some eating to do. There’s still tomatoesandcornandzucchini to be had. So, if you’re with me, here are 10 dishes you MUST make before summer goes for good:

Sunny day tomato dressing. Tomatoes + basil + balsamic + sunshine = deliciousness. Don’t stop at salad; throw this dressing over grilled fish or chicken, on pasta, or toasted sourdough bread.

The best freaking tomato sandwich ever. I know, I know: Every Midwesterner loves a tomato sandwich with mayo on white bread. Blech. Try this: Toast two thick (!) slices of good whole-grain or sourdough bread. Spread with hummus, preferably homemade. Lay on thick slices of the best, ripest tomatoes you can find. Eat the sandwich, outside in the sunshine, with a napkin.

Summer corn and tomato pizza. On a cornmeal crust. With a nice glass of rosé.

Grilled corn with Parmesan breadcrumbs. Corn off the cob, with some heavy cream, fresh thyme, cheesy breadcrumbs, all wrapped up in a foil packet for the grill.

Sure, you’re tired of zucchini by now. Here’s something that’ll make you rethink that position: ribbon zucchini salad. Topped with some sliced grilled chicken (leftover is great) and a handful of toasted sunflower seeds, with a hunk of good bread alongside, this makes a lovely summer supper.

While peaches and blackberries are still available in the Midwest, put them to delightful use in dessert, like this summer fruit shortcake.

Still hot? Then it’s still time for gazpacho. My absolute favorite from my mini gazpacho experiment this summer is this one: Smooth and creamy tomato gazpacho.

Extend the season by preserving summer produce; come February, you’ll love taking this stuff out of the freezer. Make tomato broth. Make oven-dried tomatoes. Freeze green beans.

I find the basic caprese salad kind of … meh. What really takes it over the top for me is adding a punch of lemon (juice and zest) to the traditional combo of tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and olive oil. Like this: the perfect cherry tomato salad.

Summer corn and tomato pie. Seriously, this is so good that I’m going to send you to another food blog for the recipe. Thanks, SmittenKitchen, for a summer fave I make every. single. year.

How about you? What dishes are on your must-make list while the summer is still ripe? Feel free to leave a comment below!


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