There is less than a week of summer to go – though judging by the current temperatures, we might have another couple of weeks of warm weather. If you have packed up your white shoes for the season already, you can join us for a cocktail on the back porch, and wait for the leaves to start falling. Fold up those sweaters. We can chat about some of our memorable summer meals.
In June Mr. Sanders finally ordered his dream Ooni pizza oven, which is supposed to revolutionize the way we make Friday Night Pizza. I am not sure if the quality of the pizza has improved – but the speed with which he makes a pie has certainly increased. And our carbon footprint might be lessening, too. When we make pizza the old fashioned way, in the house, we heat up the pizza stone in the gas oven for half an hour at 525°F. That’s a lot of gas. The Ooni, which resides on the back porch, is also gas-fueled, heats to the eyebrow-singeing 900° F in about 10 minutes, and then the pizza cooks in a flash: about 90 seconds. Amazing. There has been a steep learning curve, and we have found that the corn meal we like to put on the pizza peel for easy sliding of the pie into the oven doesn’t work well in the Ooni. It incinerates, practically upon contact with the Ooni pizza stone. One of our favorite home cooks advised us to switch to semolina flour, and that works like a charm.
We enjoyed al fresco dinners on the back porch during June and July, and then the summer visitors, the mosquitoes, arrived for their turn in the timeshare. Ah, well.
This was the summer of Old Bay Seasoned Goldfish! That was a joyous event. Sadly we have never been able to buy more than the initial couple of bags. But it gave grocery shopping a new sense of purpose and adventure to be hunting for Old Bay deliciousness.
Sweet juicy watermelon this summer was fantastic. And so were the peaches. Oooh, and icy radishes with good butter. And then we ventured out for dinner for the first time since COVID and had a lovely appetizer with slices of local tomatoes, peaches, basil and tiny little clots of a soft bleu cheese. We recreated it at home with cherry tomatoes, local peaches, arugula and soft, fresh mozzarella. That was a taste of summer we can never have in January with hot house tomatoes, imported peaches and refrigerated mozzarella.
Mr. Sanders travelled to Boston where he had a hot dog at a ball game at Fenway, which I am assured is an almost religious experience. It was enhanced with lashings of yellow mustard. And beer. I think that beating the Yankees helped give the hot dog some extra umami. He also had a lobster roll along the way, a taste of New England. Another New England friend had lobster, clams, oysters, crabs, shrimp, mussels and every other sort of seafood she could order at every possible opportunity. Everything tastes better with butter in the summer. https://food52.com/blog/13581-how-to-clambake-at-home-without-a-recipe
We ventured out for barbecue a couple of times, which isn’t necessarily a summer food, but the smell of the hickory wood smoke makes it a delightful temptation. Throw in some cole slaw, and I am happy.
The little girl across the street had a lemonade stand one day this summer. One glass of sickly sweet Wyler’s-powdered-lemonade-mix-lemonade is about all my fillings can stand a year. The home-baked, lopsided sugar cookie was also very sweet, but less chemically so.
We made strawberry shortcake a few times, with locally-grown strawberries. But we still haven’t had any Key Lime Pie. Shocking. I am going to bake one this weekend. Even though I get the juice from a bottle from the grocery store, it still tastes of summer. As if one ever needs an excuse to have whipped cream. We’ll say goodbye to summer with style. Maybe we can find a Red Sox game on TV, and have hot dogs, too. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/nellie-and-joes-key-lime-pie Don’t even think about doing meringue, whipped cream is the way it is done in Key West.
And finally, marmalade sandwiches will never seem the same after this summer. Too sweet, too poignant. Thank you, Ma’am.
“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”
― E.B. White