Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I woke up this morning to an overcast sky and the sound of drizzle falling in the tree outside my window.  The weather report assures me that summer will be back tomorrow, so I'm celebrating this early taste of fall with an inside day.  That means laundry, a top-to-bottom house cleaning, and, as a reward for finishing all that, I'll make bread.  I've discovered the ideal bread-making compromise.  Quick and easy -- let the mixer do that hard work -- yet long and slow -- stash the dough in the fridge to ferment and rise overnight.  It's a method more than a recipe, so I highly recommend Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

summer strawberries

Eating from the garden is one of the great pleasures of summer, but there's an element of challenge to it too.  My very first garden consisted of several pots of cherry tomatoes and an ambitious zucchini plant.  The tomatoes were no trouble -- they're small and can be savored straight off the vine -- but the zucchini overwhelmed my slight repertoire of recipes.  In desperation, I resorted to stuffing my purse with the surplus when I went out so that I could force zucchini on all my friends.  I was the eccentric zucchini lady.  I've since learned the art of tucking whatever's growing into everything I cook -- an infinitely better solution.  This year, the strawberry patch began to produce in earnest.  These are two of my favorite strawberry creations.

Citrus-Cilantro Dressing for Fruit Salad
(Southern Living, July 2000)

1/4 cup orange juice
11/2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp honey
11/2 tsp minced fresh cilantro (or more)
11/2 tsp mined fresh mint (or more)

Stir everything together in a bowl and toss with about 3 cups worth of fresh summer fruit.

Strawberry and Garden Greens Salad
(my own invention)

lettuce from the garden -- I like a good mix of butter crunch, romain, oak leaf and arugula
herbs from the garden -- chives, oregano, mint
strawberries, halved
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
fresh pepper

Arrange the lettuce on a wide serving platter.  Drizzle with olive oil, then with balsamic vinegar.  Scatter lots of herbs over the lettuce, then layer on the strawberries and drizzle a little more oil and vinegar.  Fresh pepper and you're done. 

I usually do these kinds of salads on a wide, shallow platter so the layers stay thin and no tossing is required.  Accompanied by grilled chicken breasts, this is supper.  My husband and I don't even use plates; I throw a couple of forks on the platter and we sit across from each other and eat until we meet in the middle and fight over the last strawberry.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010



This afternoon I picked up a few things at the grocery store.  That's not so unusual, but today I did it on my new bike, bearing home tomatoes, garlic, cream cheese, a salmon fillet and Gerber daisies in a basket attached to the handle-bars.  The route between home and store is an easy one that takes me through a pretty downtown village and along the edge of a golf course.  There are bike lanes the whole way.  Best of all, the wind is warm and trees cast cool puddles for me to ride through.
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Friday, August 20, 2010

summer harvest

After a hesitant spring, this summer is wonderful.  The garden is one of my favorite places to bask in the season, pulling weeds and visually tracking the girth of each green tomato.  Harvest has been slow to come, but I'm finally tasting the first forerunners of the plenty that I know is coming.  This cloud-shaped cauliflower will feature in tonight's supper.
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