Summer in Minnesota is woefully brief. I’m not exaggerating when I say it starts on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day. You have to enjoy it while it lasts. But summer here is also intense, like all of our seasons. This year has been particularly dramatic. Just yesterday it reached into the 90s with extra high humidity–it’s literally feels like the jungle. You sweat sitting still in the shade. The morning thunderstorms left the air saturated, along with the lawn, ground and foliage. This is air we can touch. I keep my air conditioner at 76 degrees in the house, which is like the tundra when the weather is this hot. Inside looking out gives one the impression of living in a glass of ice water. My windows are sweating on the outside.

What a perfect time to have a garden party! Despite the humidity (which I secretly love), I was determined to have a party in the backyard. Did I mention it was my birthday? There’s no hot summer day that 5 bottles of bubbly and a case of ice cold beer can’t handle. And lots of snacks. And sunscreen. And bug repellant.

The evening was lovely with friends dropping by through out the night as the sun went down. We drank sparkling rose and summer ales, plus minted ice cold water by the gallon. The spread was Italian-inspired. I made focaccia, fresh ricotta, and a peach tart with creme fraiche, four kinds of bruschetta toppings with corn, chili & ricotta; tomato & basil; white bean & olive; and spuma di tonno (tuna mouse). I also served sheeps milk feta with olives, sopressata, my mortadella and fresh vegetables from the Southside Star garden. I like to party from scratch, what can I say?

The party wrapped up around midnight with stars in the sky, a fire fly over head and good company all around. It was still 81 degrees. Time for a shower.

Checkout the following posts to see the bruschetta recipes!

Summertime party in the backyard.
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A chronicle of my adventures growing, preserving, cooking and eating from my garden and everywhere.