Monday, July 12, 2010

The First Few Summer Days...

Last Tuesday (that would be the sixth day of July) the clouds in Vancouver finally parted, the temperature jumped about twenty degrees, and the entire city was slammed into summer over night. I finally got to leave my wool socks and sweatshirts at home and wear shorts to work, rock the sunhat and start getting some color on my still winter white legs.

I love love love summer time. I love the heat and swimming underwater in the ocean for as long as I can hold my breath, I love sundresses and playing croquet on the beach with my friends, leaving the doors and windows open all day, and then I really love barbeques and tasty cocktails in the evenings. I really really love that it’s still a bit light out at 10 o’clock making for days that go on forever. Love it.

I found this list by someone on a blog out there, someone’s summer-must-have list. I think I just made mine.


This weekend we played in a softball tournament and the weather was perfect - I got just enough sun to stay on a healthy cusp of a sunburn. My highlights would be hitting two line drives over the boys heads, the cooler full of lemonade and vodka that one of the guys brought and lounging in the park all weekend with good people. The softball part was lots of fun but considering we lost three out of our four games I’m not going to say it was a highlight.

It’s no surprise that getting home both evenings I was in no mood to cook after a full day in the sun and running the bases. Saturday night entailed a guilty trip to the grocery store that resulted in smokies, coleslaw, greek salad and seven layer dip. I was starving and basically wanted to eat everything that I could find (sweet and sour pork from the deli? Thank god I held back). Unremarkable, really, but I solidly enjoyed it.

Sunday afternoon we got home after an unfortunate loss (and a delicious breakfast burrito from the concession) and I had all the energy in the world! I had big plans to make a big batch of chana masala to last for a while into the week. And then I accidentally had a really good nap...then insisted on going to the beach for a quick swim. Again, the drive to cook a big meal was gone! However, after feeling the guilt from eating an entirely pre-packaged meal the evening before I needed something to brighten me up. While I was napping Kristopher had nipped out and came home with some huge pieces of chicken marinating in something tasty and a bag of new potatoes. I rinsed off the salt water, gave my head a shake, and found corn, zucchini and cauliflower in the fridge.

I figure if you have a huge bunch of random vegetables that don’t necessarily fit together, forget trying to make one big dish and make a few vegetable side dishes.

Here’s how it went for me:
-Corn shucked and straight onto the barbeque, completely plain. I let it get a bit charred and hot, then cover it with a bit of butter and some salt.

-Zucchini tossed in a bowl with some olive oil, balsamic, and salt and pepper and straight onto the grill as well (pretty typical for me). Again, it gets some black lines on it and it’s good to go.

-The cauliflower got a bit exciting! Considering I had it on hand for the chana masala, I figured I could follow along that line. I chopped the big head into florets, put it on a big baking sheet and gave it a shot of olive oil. Then on went some cumin, coriander, turmeric, curry powder and cayenne – all my typical curry spices - and gave it another toss. Into a 400F oven it went, and when it was starting to turn a bit dark and toasty in spots I took it out. I had previously read a recipe that served roasted cauliflower with a sort of salsa verde (kind of like a dressing), an idea I liked the sound of. Instead of a salsa, I had some plum apple chutney from the farmers market (again, a bit of Indian flavours) and it was heaven.

-Lastly, Kristopher’s new potatoes. Normally I like new potatoes boiled and served with just a bit of butter but I had just bought some pesto (guilty again – I didn’t make it. Basil doesn’t grow on my sunstarved balcony this year!) and I wanted to make something my mom used to make. Boiled new potatoes, blanched green beans, red onions and pesto all stirred together. Try it! I made it without the beans and while I missed the crunch, it was still delicious.


There you go: four vegetable side dishes that took about twenty minutes to cook. You get benefits of lots of different flavours, and it’s easier to get in lots of tasty healthiness. Admittedly, firing up the oven on a hot summer day isn’t exactly ideal but in hindsight the cauliflower could have been done easily on the barbeque – it’s just a big oven wouldn’t you say? We ate that dinner on the patio, no talking just eating and occasional sips of a pinot grigio in the evening shade - a wonderful finish to a summery weekend.

And that’s that. I just finished my mojito, and it’s time to take the dog for a swim!
What are your favourite summer recipes?

1 comment:

  1. dude, i love your blog. i feel like i'm a total stalker, BUT I KNOW YOU.

    cauliflower with salsa verde - orangette's book?

    make this sometime, it is summery and fresh and best of all, really beautiful:

    last night for dinner i had grilled zucchini, sugar snap peas, and a baked egg. weird and wonderful.