Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Lovin'

Tomatoes still warm from the sun, yum! I love these mini colanders from World Market, at only  $1.99 each and in really fun colors, they're perfect for everyday use.
I know I've said it before, but I love summer. I love BBQ's, mowing the lawn, family road trips, Fourth of July, hot days spent by a cool pool and kids running and playing in the sunshine. But, most of all, I love summer food. Burgers on the grill, corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, ice cream (though that's an all year food for me). You name it, I probably love it.
About a year's worth of Triple Berry Jam  canned and ready to go, plus two quarts of Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream. Do you love summer food yet?

This year was my first year having a garden, so I started very simply with tomatoes, peppers, Walla Walla Sweet Onions, basil and cilantro in one raised bed and strawberries and rhubarb starts in another. I've tried to use the tomatoes and basil as soon as they're ready, which has meant dinners of tomato-basil risotto, BLT's and, my favorite, more caprese than you can shake a stick at!
BLT made with the first Lemon Boy from the garden.
One of my favorite food blogs lately is Our Best Bites. They have great ideas for family cooking, but without a lot of processed foods or casseroles. The other day they had a Zucchini Ribbon Pasta with a lemon cream sauce that was low fat and oh, so satisfying!

As I was pondering my options for the evening's dinner, their daily post came up and it was a Roasted Sweet Corn and Tomato soup. Yum! After my day of freezer cooking, I was all over the chance to have a day of cooking that did not involve meat, and I had everything I needed for the recipe (including the red pepper to roast) except for the corn. A stop at the farm stand up the road quickly remedied that, and I was ready to go! This was a dead simple soup (even with roasting the pepper and corn/tomato mixture), and using my immersion blender meant only one dirty pot, which was quickly washed and put back away. Using foil to line your roasting pan also means that you don't have to clean the pan when you're done, which I love. It was not only simple, but it was delicious! And, true to my make one, freeze one promise, I now have two double servings of it tucked into glass freezer containers for a simple supper down the road. The kids didn't love it, but they ate the grilled cheese that accompanied it just fine, so I was also able to stick to my will-not-be-a-short-order-cook mantra.
A mix of Super Sweet 100's and Porters Dark Cherry Tomatoes, with corn from a local farm stand
Our local butcher shop (which features local, free-range beef, pork and chicken) recently started offering seafood as well. Each Monday, they email those interested with the week's offerings and you have until Wednesday to order, and then pick up the fresh shipment on Friday afternoon or Saturday Morning. This week was my first time ordering, and we got some beautiful salmon, cod and then clams and oysters for J. Pairing the salmon (cooked on the grill in tin foil) with a simple spinach salad and a rustic batard schmeared with delish butter, it was a wonderfully fulfilling summer dinner. 

On the breakfast front, I've been loving a good old stand-by; greek yogurt with a little granola and lots of fresh summer berries. I stumbled across a post on pinterest that added lemon curd to the yogurt for a little tart sweetness. I have a little jar of lemon curd that I've not really known what to do with, and decided to try it out. I had to laugh, however, when I looked at her actual recipe, which called for 2 Tablespoons of Greek Yogurt, 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Curd, and 1 teaspoon of granola. That was it. Seriously?! That's all you eat for breakfast?! I kept the lemon curd at 2 tablespoons, but upped the yogurt to about 1/2 cup and the granola to about 1/4 cup, and added some blueberries. It was so good and the perfect balance of sweet and tart with the sharpness of the yogurt and the tart of the berries and curd. Just for reference, here's what her portions look like in real life:

That is not the gargantuan fiestaware bowl, either, it's the little soup cup. As nobody in the comments section on her blog thought the portions were odd, I didn't want to be the party pooper, so didn't comment, but really? What fast is this breaking, exactly?

Here's what I would consider a 'normal' portion:

The sum total of ingredients is still just about one cup, so not over the top, but definitely satisfying (that's a 1/2 c. measuring cup sitting next to it for reference).

What have you made or grown this summer for the first time?


Crafty Mama said...

I usually plant tomatoes and zucchini, and some green beans. The zucchini was a bumper crop, and Hubby discovered that he WILL eat them if they're grilled. Everything else was kind of a flop...the tomatoes are plentiful but green. And the beans were a small crop this year. I definitely at some point want to build raised beds like you did at some point, but that's probably "next house" this late in the game!

Anonymous said...

OMG! I made that roasted corn/tomato soup last weekend and LOVED it! (Z, like your boys, didn't care for it much...'mom, can you make it un-spicy next time?') And I have half a jar of lemon curd in the fridge, will definitely try the Greek yogurt recipe. Thanks!