Island Cooking: Walk This Way…To Summer Salads

I recently realized that I really don’t walk much at all. Eat, yes; but walk, no. And I am in great need of some walking. I was sitting around thinking the other day (see what I mean?) that if I wore one of those pedometers I probably wouldn’t even register 1,000 steps a day. And even if I did, 500 of them would be to my freezer for ice for my cocktails. I read the other day that a person should register 10,000 steps a day wearing a pedometer, but the only thing I’m registering lately is more pounds on the scale. So I decided to take stock of my average day and see where it measured up.

First of all, I live really close to my work but I always drive. I use many excuses: I’m not really a morning person; I need to go and get a cup of coffee; I usually have to go to the store at lunch or go to the dump … all pretty poor excuses. I’m sure most of the errands I do could be rearranged so that I could actually walk to work in the morning, or at least back to work after lunch then home at night. I see people all of the time who live much, much farther from their workplaces and they walk or ride their bikes back and forth. I know this for a fact because I always wave to them when I drive by.

When I get to work I pretty much sit most of the day. It gets worse; since I write a food column, I look at a lot of recipes, get hungry and graze my way through the day. I love food so much I can’t help it!

We’re going to need new double doors in the office so I can get in if something doesn’t change, so I’ve decided I should make a concentrated effort to do some daily exercise and lighten up on my eating habit — or at least exercise so I can continue my eating habits!

I know many of you have heard me say this before, but this time I’m going to make it happen.

So when you see me walking to work next week go ahead and wave to me or yell, “hello,” but do not – and I mean do not – pick me up. Even if I’m flagging you down or pretending to faint on the sidewalk, I really only have about a 10-minute walk and I need to get used to it!

So this week I have tried to lighten up a summer cocktail and add a few

summer salads to help me on my way.

Rosemary Peach Cocktail

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 to 3-inch sprig rosemary
  • 2 ripe peaches, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bottle of your favorite champagne or sparking wine, chilled

Combine the water, sugar and rosemary in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Strain the syrup in a sieve over a bowl and discard solids. Cover and chill about 1 hour.

Place your rosemary syrup and peaches in blender and process until smooth. Strain again in a sieve over a bowl, cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the peach syrup in a champagne flute, add your champagne and enjoy!

Fresh Broccoli Salad

  • 2 heads fresh broccoli
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/2 pound bacon
  • 2/4 cups raisins
  • 3/4 cups sliced walnuts
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium high heat until evenly browned. Cool and crumble.

Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces; cut onion into thin, bite-size slices. Mix well with bacon, raisins, and almonds or your favorite nuts.

Combine mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into salad, chill and enjoy.

Cucumber Salad

  • 2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Toss the cucumber slices in a bowl with chili powder, lemon juice and salt. Mix well and serve.

Fresh Peach and Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large peach, chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper and basil until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in olive oil. Stir in chopped peaches and serve.

Berry Delicious Summer Salad

I got this one from Southern Living magazine.

  • 8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola, feta or blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped and toasted
  • Bottled vinaigrette

Toss together the greens, berries, cheese and nuts. Drizzle with desired amount of vinaigrette, tossing gently to coat.

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Holly Simason

Columnist at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander cooking columnist Holly Simason is co-author of the mystery series “Death of a Kitchen Diva." Simason has collaborated with her screenwriter brother Rick Copp for the Bar Harbor-based series. The books are written under the pen name Lee Hollis.