Although we love summer, by Labor Day we’re quite happy to give it a delicious send-off and look forward to fall with all things cashmere, turning leaves and pumpkin spice. To celebrate the end of the outdoor season (as well as the long weekend), we asked Brie Almena, a food stylist and recipe tester in San Francisco, for her favorite “sayonara summer” feast to serve friends and family.

“Once a month my husband and I get a farmer’s box of produce delivered and this one contained a watermelon, mint, red onion and parsley,” says Brie. “Falafel with watermelon salad seemed like the perfect meal to host our neighbors. When I have people over I love serving things that people can customize a bit in their own way.”

Finally, a chic and cheerful bright spot at the end of the season is our sale. Now through Labor Day weekend take an extra 40% off all the styles. We say layer them with our new Fall denim, cardigans and velvet separates to make the most of the last rays of summer and transition seamlessly into the cooler months!

My Favorite Falafel

Yield: About 20 balls

Ingredients:

1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Diced green bell pepper for garnish
Tahina sauce
Pita bread

Preparation
1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough bulgur or flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts, or use a falafel scoop, available in Middle-Eastern markets.
5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375ºF in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled turnips. Drizzle with tahini thinned with water.

The Best Hummus

Ingredients:

1 clove garlic
1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans, half the liquid reserved
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation
1. In a blender, chop the garlic. Pour garbanzo beans into the blender, reserving about a tablespoon for garnish. Add reserved liquid, lemon juice, tahini, and salt to the blender. Blend until creamy and well mixed.
2. Transfer the mixture to a medium serving bowl. Sprinkle with pepper and pour olive oil over the top. Garnish with reserved garbanzo beans.

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

Ingredients:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
One 8-pound seedless watermelon, scooped into balls with a melon baller or cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (10 cups), chilled
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled (2 cups)
1 1/4 cups pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 small sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves

Preparation
1. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper. Add the watermelon, feta, olives and onion and toss gently. Garnish with the mint and serve.