This is it, folks. It’s summer. It’s the time of year we think about, and long for, during the dark, cold days of winter. When we shiver in glacial bathrooms, drying off after showering. When we have gelid wet feet after walking the dog. When we turn the kitchen lights on at 4:30 in the afternoon. When we can’t bear to get out of our warm cocoon bed, because it is still dark outside.
Now we get to complain about the sun waking us up in the morning. We whine about the heat index. We mutter opprobriums about having to wear sunscreen every day. We can barely hear the radio in the car because the noisy A/C is blasting out at its highest setting. We are suffering because it’s too hot to sit on the back porch for cocktail hour. We kvetch because the sand is scorching our feet.
Quit your bellyaching. We have been vaxxed. We can talk with our neighbors. We can go to the grocery store, and the farmers’ markets. We can load up on delicious foods that barely need cooking. We are going to enjoy fresh summer produce if it kills us. And in all the extra daylight time we can enjoy, we’ll read beach novels, weed the tomato patch, paint the front porch, go to the drive-in movies and count Persiad meteors. (Don’t forget to check for ticks!)
I had a bowl of watermelon cubes for breakfast this morning; cool, refreshing, nutritious and deelish. Since my breakfast companion was Luke the wonder dog, I used my fingers and kept the silverware in the drawer. That was a perfect summer meal. No cooking, and no cleaning.
I heard – although I have not tried this myself – on the Table Manners podcast that you can toss a couple of frozen bananas into a food processor, and whip them into a frenzy, to make banana ice cream. Jessie Ware was skeptical, but her mother’s dish of frozen bananas (topped with double cream) persuaded her that it works, and it is delicious. I don’t have double cream, but I bet a nice dollop of whipped cream would do the trick for me. Be sure to cut the bananas up before freezing them in an tight container. https://about.kaiserpermanente.org/total-health/food-for-health/recipes/frozen-banana-whip
Table Manners is a charming podcast. I listen to it every week: https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/s11-ep-27-emerald-fennell/id1305228910?i=1000528809476
Our friends at Food52 find so a million ways to make a very simple tomato sandwich. Here, in the Spy Test Kitchens, we use Pepperidge Farm white bread, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, a pinch of black pepper, a shake of Maldon salt and a couple of big, fat slicing tomatoes from the back yard, with a generous handful of potato chips as an elegant side dish. Follow your heart: https://food52.com/recipes/6734-my-best-tomato-sandwich
As irritating as Martha Stewart can be, she has had some very good ideas, which I gleefully pass along as if they were my own. I have prepared these pasta recipes often enough that I have memorized them. I highly recommend them for their ease, their beauty, and the satisfaction of a job well done. They are perfect for meatless Mondays, too. Thanks, Martha!
One-Pan Pasta: https://food52.com/recipes/30147-martha-stewart-s-one-pan-pasta
This genius recipe makes an enormous amount of pasta – I always halve it.
Pasta with a fresh, uncooked sauce: https://www.marthastewart.com/904229/pasta-fresh-tomato-sauce I like to make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. It is like having money in the bank – dinner solved. And it is accompanied by a solid wall of garlic that will knock you over when you open the fridge door! Priceless!
I will occasionally turn the oven on in the summer to toast a baguette for garlic bread. And then I will use it in a tasty Panzanella salad. Because in the summer you can never eat too many tomatoes: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/panzanella-12529
In the summer, when I am loathe to cook, I am aware of the middle-class conceit that we must eat three times a day. I can skate by with tomato sandwiches, watermelon, and bananas when I am by myself, but Mr. Sanders likes to sit down to dinner. Usually on the weekends he takes over and prepares something ambitious with many difficult-to-procure ingredients, or something simple on the grill. And for this I am truly grateful. Summer.
“Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.”