Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Favorites

 

Even though Ben is still slogging through another week of school, summer is really here. I say this not just because last night was the first night that I alternated complaining about the suffocating enervating heat with complaining about the horrible teeny bugs crawling all over me. Not just because of the fireflies and mint or because we eat dinner at 8 and it still feels plenty early or because we eat only cold things and take only cold showers. But because it looks and smells like summer, and when the thunderstorm finally crashed in late late, I felt that enlightening lifting of heat and mood, that wild flashing happiness. Summer! Plus, the baby animals are everywhere, big-eyed and trusting: bunnies, deer, squirrels, goldfinches. Yesterday a tiny chipmunk stood on its hind legs to look through the glass door at the cat, who went insane, chittering and clacking at him, and I teased, "You're going to get in trou-ble! Don't let your Mama see you talking to a pussycat." And not ten seconds later, a big chipmunk appeared on the wood pile, yelling and scolding, and the baby scampered off.

Meanwhile, I am sharing some perennial favorite summer recipes here. Because I know you want to eat cold things too.

Since originally publishing this chicken recipe, I have taken to often skipping the first marinade altogether, and simply salting the chicken as early in the day as is possible. But then do I have to call it "Single-Delicious Grilled Chicken"? 
Double-Delicious Grilled Chicken. I make this all summer, every summer. It's so good, and it's my favorite way to turn a giant plate of lettuce into a dinner party. You can make the dressing however you like: this past Sunday we had some friends over, and I had this vision of a kind of falafel-themed salad, so I made the chicken with lemon and lots of mint, then I added it to a giant bowlful of lettuce, cucumbers and falafel-seasoned fried chickpeas (just before they were done cooking, I added lots of coriander, cumin, paprika, and granulated garlic and they were insane). Heaps of parsley leaves too. And mint and feta. And tahini dressing, even though I claim to hate tahini. But it was so, so good. (I based it on this recipe, but used only 1/4 cup of water). I wish I'd taken a picture.


Cold Noodle Bowls. Someone requested this recipe. Was it you? It's another one that I make over and over every summer, with many variations. The ginger-scallion dressing here is a total favorite, but last night I made a variation on cold noodle bowls with brown-rice noodles, loads of steamed spinach, tofu strips, and a delicious peanut dressing. Oh, wait, basically it was noodles and tofu with Japanese Restaurant Spinach.  I added lime juice, garlic, and ginger to the dressing, and also a spoonful of sambal oelek (sriracha would be good too). So perfect for the hot end of a hot day. (I couldn't help noticing that I was the only person who helped myself to a nice big spoonful of pickled turnips to crunch up the bowl a little. Losers.)

If you wanted to share any summery thoughts, I'd love that so much. Recipes, outings, books, games, anything.

xo

19 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:13 PM

    I go out early in the morning and pick up limbs from a storm some days back. There was lots of tree damage, and I do live in the woods, so what am I to expect? It's reasonable work, although it does involve sweating a lot, swatting at many small insects, and creating what is, at this point, a pile the size of a single car garage - all of limbs from that storm. Apple, hedge, redbud, - so sad - locust, and a huge limb from an old hackberry tree. I am old enough to know better as they say, and cannot last long. So I plod on, day after day and hope I may finish before the next storm hits. And that is what summer looks and feels like so far. Closer grandchildren to help would be most welcome.

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  2. Sitting outdoors on the deck to read a book. Eating outdoors with garden flowers surrounding. Hearing the neighbors' talk, although it's too far to catch the gist of the conversation. All these are things I look forward to once the construction phase of renovation is over. Right now, it's all about hammering and sawing.

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  3. I'm a little concerned that Ben is still in school on June 18th.

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    1. Allyson3:28 PM

      My kids don't get out until the 26th.

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  4. Here is my favorite new summer salad (all from Kroger cause I'm a single doctor mom and that's the way I roll) - asian slaw, craisins, blue cheese, Blue Diamond Wasabi almonds, and ginger dressing.

    I LOL'd my way through Will Grayson Will Grayson last week.

    I wrote about you at my group blog last week, and wanted to share. Good stuff I promise: http://www.mothersinmedicine.com/2014/06/online-mothering-mentor.html

    Have a great day.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for that amazing post. And that salad sounds perfect. I think about blue cheese sort of strangely a lot.

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  5. *I* requested the cold noodle bowl, and am VERY happy to see the recipe here! Thank you very much - love that dressing.

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    1. Yay! Thank you, PHJ! xo

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  6. These recipes sound amazing. My kids are still in school, too. Silly little guys like it/their friends enough that they don't even recognize what a tragedy it is.
    Our summer favorite is shrimp tacos with mango/cherry tomato/green onion salsa (tossed together with lime juice and olive oil), red cabbage slaw and avocado. With lemonade.

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  7. THANK YOU so much for the amazingly doublyt - delicious chicken. I had bought some today at the store, and was dreading having to think of a way to cook it. You came to my rescue and it was outstanding! I used lemon instead of lime, and oregano and basil instead of cilantro (I used up my cilantro and limes over the weekend with a beans and rice dish). Summer around here in PA has been enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee after a morning run, sitting by and in the community pool during our first heat wave, enjoying lots of library books (I just started Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Curveball - two YA titles), and enjoying a leisurely glass of wine on the deck while watching the cat go berserk over the fireflies. No new games to share - my 8 yo and I have been playing Sleeping Queens, Phase 10, and Skip Bo this week. Hopefully Ben will begin to enjoy his summer soon! Ahhh -- summer!!! This teacher is really enjoying recharging at the current moment (I am on Day 3 of my summer break).

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  8. Hally9:31 PM

    SUMMER! We cook almost entirely on the grill, because no one wants to turn on the oven. A standby here? Grilled fish tacos/salmon burgers with mango salsa. Or just....mango salsa.
    And a new salad we found, a mix of kale, shredded brussel sprouts, broccoli, dried cranberries, poppyseed dressing.

    This game:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=hue+knew+game&tag=mh0b-20&index=aps&hvadid=2014475057&ref=pd_sl_62ltgb3f4t_ee

    And a resurgence of Chinese Checkers & gin rummy. I've been known to bet household chores with my 8 yr old.

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  9. This is a great recipe for the summer, but also a sure fire way to use up CSA cabbage any time of the year. And no one even complains that I'm serving cabbage!
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicken-Fajitas-with-Crunchy-Lime-Cabbage-and-Avocado-241618

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  10. I have to tell you that your lime cilantro chicken mexican salad with buttermilk dressing is a summer staple around here! Everyone I serve it to swoons over it and I talk about your recipes like you are my best friend. So thank you for that.

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  11. Sangria & more sangria, grilling, hikes, beaches and sprinkler parks with the kids (when the oldest finishes school on the 25th, that is.)

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  12. I've been totally on trend so far this summer and making a half-gallon mason jar of infused water every morning to drink throughout the day. It is so easy and makes the water so much more interesting. My formula is 1 fruit + 1 herb. So far the favorite is watermelon-mint, with lemon-basil a close second. I just use whatever fruit I have around, and dried herbs if I don't have any fresh. Just don't put the jar too close to anything you might have fermenting around your kitchen - mine went sideways overnight once when I put it next to the water kefir.

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  13. My daughter's in school until the 26th so she shares Ben's pain. :(

    We have lots of rice and pasta salads during the summer, incorporating whatever we've got around.

    Just yesterday my daughter made a batch of store-bought brownies and she commented how much better the "Catherine Newman chocolate cake" was than the brownies. (It's The Cake You Want and she's right!)

    I often preface a recipe with your name since it's a selling point around here. Yours are go-to favorites all year long.

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  14. mayhem10:53 PM

    "waste management salad" a very easy summer delight: orzo, craisins, chickpeas, flat leaf parsley, red onion, dressed with olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar. the parsley and cranberries are good for the kidneys, and beans beans they go to your heart...

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