Summer in the City

Bringing people together over drinks or a meal, however fancy or relaxed is our favorite thing to do. When the opportunity arose to team up with Président Cheese (you may remember our arugla, bacon + feta tartine from this time last year) we jumped at the idea of a summer picnic, drinks and yard games. 

Since we currently are without a yard, as many city dwellers are, summer in the city is all about utilizing public space. Parks and community areas become even more important once the weather is nice and everyone crawls out of hibernation to spend as much time as they can soaking up the sun. We have a great park just down the street from our place, making it our go-to spot. Summer birthdays or afternoons where we need to get out of the house with the dog are spent there on a blanket with a book. We're also lucky to have friends close by with the perfect backyard patio for warm days.

For the picnic, Robert put together a couple of easy salads that would travel well and are perfect for summer. Sandwiches with fresh tomatoes and greens, rosé, olives, and feta rounded out the spread. Then we dressed up our usually low-key backyard hangs with colorful ice cubes for gin and tonics. Those are ridiculously easy to put together and make any drink look fancy. Good food, drinks and spending time with friends on these warm days is my zest of summer. 

Président is currently celebrating all things feta, and would love to see an image of your favorite summer dish featuring feta cheese. Go to their Facebook page to submit an image for their #ZestofSummer contest, and you have a chance to win one of nine culinary prize packs. 

Summer Cous Cous Salad
serves 6

1 cup Israeli couscous 
1 large zucchini, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Président Feta Crumbles
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 tbs olive oil. When shimmering, add couscous and stir until it begins to smell slightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add 2 cups water and a generous sprinkling of salt. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Check for tenderness and strain couscous. Set aside to cool. 

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium high heat, warm 1 tbs olive oil. When hot, sauté Zucchini, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine couscous, zucchini, tomatoes, feta and parsley. Add remaining 1 tbs olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grilled Corn Salad with Feta, Mint + Tomato
serves 6

6 ears corn, husked
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup Président feta crumbles
1/2 red onion
1/2 cup mint, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

Slice onion and place into a bowl with 2 cups cold water and ice. Set aside and let stand at least 20 minutes. On a grill or over open flame on the stove, char corn, turning frequently to avoid blackening. Once all six ears have been charred, using a sharp knife remove kernels from cob with a gentle sawing motion. Combine kernels in a large bowl with tomatoes and feta. Remove red onions from water and pat dry. Add onions, mint and olive oil, tossing to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper. 

Fruit + Herb Ice Cubes
mint leaves, diced
strawberries, diced
lime, diced
fruit or herbs of your choosing

Place one piece of each fruit or herb in an ice cube tray, cover with water and freeze. Once completely frozen, mix and match in different drinks. It's that easy.

*Sponsored post note: I was compensated for this post by Lactalis Deli, Inc., and provided with complimentary Président cheese products for the recipes shown. All ideas expressed are my own.