This summer salad is sweet and refreshing, the perfect accompaniment to salty meat and chips. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

This summer salad is sweet and refreshing, the perfect accompaniment to salty meat and chips. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Fueling happy memories

Fresh salad accompanies an outdoors Father’s Day meal

My son’s favorite part of the day is the time when I’m cooking dinner, when he gets to play video games with his dad.

They sit side by side in front of our computers with salty snacks and sparkling water to hold them over until I serve our meal. I hear them working through puzzles and problem-solving together, I hear them coping with frustration and cheering at their successes, and it warms my heart to listen from below as they make those happy memories as father and son.

My husband told me on our first date that he wanted to be a father someday, and every day since the morning I made him one he has kept his promise to put that role first in his life. He works difficult, dangerous jobs to provide for us, and I have watched that labor take its toll on him over the years.

He often leaves while we’re still sleeping and comes home after I’ve put our son to bed, but no matter how tired he is at the end of the day, he still wants to play, still wants to do bath time, still wants to read stories and snuggle. Even when he has nothing left in him to give, he still finds it in him to give our boy all the love and attention he could ever need, and I couldn’t have dreamed of a better man to be his father.

The sun was shining bright this Father’s Day, so he wanted to have a bonfire dinner by the lake. We sat on rocks and searched for Merlin, the giant loon who returns every summer and swims close to the shore to greet us.

I love roasted hotdogs and chips, but I couldn’t possibly serve dinner without something fresh and green on the plate, so I made fruit and spinach salad with lemon poppy seed dressing to balance out the meal.

This lovely summer salad is sweet and refreshing, the perfect accompaniment to salty meat and chips.

Fruit and spinach salad with lemon poppy seed dressing

Ingredients:

2 peaches, diced

2/3 cup blueberries

1 cup strawberries

½ cup chopped walnuts

About 4 ounces feta cheese crumbles

1/3 cup shredded fresh mint

3 cups baby spinach, very roughly chopped

For the dressing:

The zest and juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon poppy seeds

2 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

Thoroughly wash all the fruit and pat dry.

Cut the fruit so the pieces are all roughly uniform in size, about the size of the blueberries.

Put all the cut fruit into a large mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, lemon juice and zest, and poppy seeds until the dressing is smooth.

Wash and stack the mint leaves into a pile. Roll the leaves up and then slice into very thin strips to create little ribbons. This step isn’t necessary but adds to the presentation.

Wash and very roughly chop the spinach, just a couple times through with the knife.

Add the spinach, chopped walnuts, mint and feta to the fruit and very gently mix. I would suggest using your clean and/or gloved hands for this. You want the salad to be well mixed without crushing too many of the berries or squishing the peaches.

Just before serving, drizzle on the dressing and use your hands to toss a couple times to coat.

This salad is best fresh and doesn’t keep well, so eat it up!

Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion
This summer salad is sweet and refreshing, the perfect accompaniment to salty meat and chips.

Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion This summer salad is sweet and refreshing, the perfect accompaniment to salty meat and chips.

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