What’s Cookin’? – Summertime Edition

As my neighbor said to me the other day, “It’s hotter than forty hells.” He’s right. On days like these, I try to limit our cooking and baking to the early hours of the morning or late in the evening. These are also the days where I begin to wish I had an outdoor canning kitchen. Between our CSA box, our own garden and my generous neighbors I feel as though I am surrounded by vegetables on all sides. And looking around, it’s the honest truth: onions, garlic, yellow squash, greasy beans, half-runners, cucumbers (regular and pickling), potatoes, corn . . . and that isn’t even what’s in the refrigerator! I am trying to embrace it all and remember that this is truly the season of abundance. Here is what’s going on in our kitchen lately.

* I’ve been cooking double amounts (especially of grains). Twice the amount of food for the same output of heat.

* Did you know you can freeze rice? Just defrost under hot running water. Instant food. No cooking.

* My crockpot is out on the porch, so I can slow cook without heating up the kitchen.

* I have been letting my bread rise overnight in the fridge and then baking it in the morning.

* Too much squash at your house? We’ve been enjoying this recipe for squashamole.

* My current favorite way to eat (the never-ending) cucumbers: mix with feta cheese, red onion and dill. We have eaten it mixed with couscous, on top of fish or just by itself.

* The boys have been enjoying chocolate banana shakes during storytime. (Blend 1 cup of cold milk or yogurt, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa.)

* A big salad with some kind of protein on top (meat, cheese, tuna, eggs, nuts) has been a great, easy dinner.

* I made Lyn’s famous Greek cole slaw the other night, and remembered why I love it so much. Thinly slice a small green cabbage, dress with olive oil, fresh lemon and salt.

* We’ve been drinking hibiscus tea by the bucketful. Steep 2 teaspoons dried hibiscus flowers in 2 quarts boiling water, add 1/4 cup honey. Refreshing and full of vitamin C.

* I’m glad I opted to have so much of our beef ground. We’ve grilled burgers at least one night a week since our meat was delivered from the butcher.

* Last week we had a rainy, cool day. My, oh my, what came out of this kitchen. Chicken stock, 2 batches of rolls, English muffins, split pea soup, kefir, chocolate chip cookies – not to mention breakfast, lunch and dinner. I love to cook this way – I see what’s been in my freezer that needs to be cooked. This time it was a ham bone and lots of leftover chicken bones. My freezer feels much more manageable now.

What’s been cooking at your house lately?

2 thoughts on “What’s Cookin’? – Summertime Edition

  1. I’ve been (finally) managing to get back to menu planning. I don’t have masses of heat to contend with (if anything it’s pretty much poured down in England, until the past few days when suddenly, finally, it feels like summer), rather, with a few week old baby, I have to do quite a bit in short bursts (as I don’t fancy having a small baby in a sling whilst cooking at a hot stove. The freezer also decided to stop freezing and the fridge wasn’t keeping temperature, so that’s also been a challenge (although, thankfully we only lost a few frozen things, the meat was still fairly solid and was transferable into the chest freezer in the garage and we have a small ‘spare’ fridge which means we atleast have some space to keep things chilled – in these days of no larders/cellars in houses it really is a challenge in warm weather to keep things at a safe-ish temperature).

    My new favourite that I’ve tried recently is a simple apricot tarte tatin – every bite made me smile (and it really was so easy to make).

  2. This is purely inspirational. I’d like to say “if I wasn’t in an RV, I would…” But, the truth is, I’d rather read your descriptions and look at your beautiful pictures.

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