Grilled zucchini, given a Moroccan touch with cumin (photos #1, #2, #3, #5 courtesy Good Eggs).
 Refreshing cucumber-melon salad, accented with serrano chiles and mint.
 Both dishes on the picnic table.
 Painted Serpent cucumbers are an heirloom Asian cucumber. You can buy the seeds from Born To Grow.
 For dessert: grilled peaches and ricotta. Here’s the recipe.
While summer actually lasts until September 21st, many people see Labor Day as “the end of summer.”
Here are two interesting recipes with flavor highlights beyond the standard Labor Day Weekend fare. Both are better-for-you dishes that add special touches to the basics.
And you can still enjoy them after Labor Day!
RECIPE #1: GRILLED ZUCCHINI WITH CUMIN & MINT
Add a Moroccan touch to grilled zucchini (photo #1).
It’s the oil that really makes this dish says Good Eggs, which sent us these recipes. The cumin is toasted, ground, and mixed with olive oil to form a thin paste that gives the charred zucchini a subtle smokiness.
Serve it as a side, or as a filling for vegetarian tacos.
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch planks
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 small garlic clove, grated
Fresh herbs (scallion, mint, parsley, cilantro, or basil),roughly chopped
Ingredients For 4 Servings
1. PREHEAT a grill, or for stove top, heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan, over medium-high heat. Toss the zucchini with olive oil to coat, and season with sea salt.
2. SEAR the zucchini on the grill until caramelized and browned, roughly 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the planks and repeat. Remove them from the grill and set on plate to cool. While zucchini is cooling…
3. TOAST the cumin seeds in a skillet. Crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, and combine with 2 tablespoons of olive oil to form a thin paste. Fold in the grated garlic.
4. DRIZZLE or spread the zucchini with the cumin paste, and top with fresh herbs to serve.
RECIPE #2: CUCUMBER & MELON SALAD WITH LEMON & MINT
A refreshing fruit* salad of soft melon and crunchy cucumber are bound with a dressing of olive oil and lemon (photo #2).
Slices of serrano chile and some fresh herbs add a punch to the mellow melon and cukes.
While this recipe specified a chanterais or galia melon, specialty items sold by Good Eggs, they are not found everywhere.
An easy substitute: honeydew or, for a bright accent of color, cantaloupe.
The recipe also called for Painted Serpent cucumbers, an heirloom variety from Asia. Use whatever long, thin cucumber is in your market.
1 honeydew or cantaloupe melon†
2 long, thin cucumbers, sliced into ½-inch coins<†/li>
1 lemon, juiced
Pinch of flaky salt
½ fresh serrano pepper, sliced, or pinch of dried chili flakes
Fresh mint or basil, roughly chopped†
Note: The comparative sizes of melons and cucumbers vary, and the melon cubes will be larger than the cucumber coins.
Eyeball the proportions and combine them “to taste.” If you have extra, you’ll have melon and cucumber for tomorrow.
1. PREPARE the melon: Cut the top and bottom off of the melon with a serrated knife. Stand the melon upright, then cut around it to remove the skin. Cut in half, then scoop out the seeds. Cut the flesh into bite-size cubes.
2. SLICE the cucumbers, skin-on, in 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces.
3. SLICE the serrano peppers very thinly—careful, they’re hot so wash your hands thoroughly after touching them.
To remove some of the heat, remove the seeds and the pith. Add the salt and fresh herbs to taste. Toss and serve.
A COMPLEMENT FOR DESSERT
Try this delicious recipe for grilled peaches or nectarines, served with sweetened ricotta.
They’re an American approach to the European dessert of fruit and cheese.
*Botanically, cucumber is classified as a fruit. It is closely related to watermelon, which is why the white rind tastes like cucumber and is made into watermelon pickles. Here’s the difference between fruits and vegetables.