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?