Slowing Down and Summer Goodies
Unlike many Americans, summertime is the busiest time of year for those of us who work in museums. So I often miss whole seasons of fruit and vegetables before I can fully appreciate them. Working extra hours each week and then spending the weekends DOING things because it’s beautiful weather out or it’s so hot we just have to go swimming makes Sarah a very tired girl.
Thankfully, life is slowing down a little, even though I’m still spending weekends having fun, rather than resting and getting things done around the house and yard.
Summer produce is starting to come into its own, so I’ve been getting creative with supper.
Salt-Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Basically, you get a lot of tiny fingerling potatoes, scrub them up, put them in a skillet, add a tablespoon or more of coarse sea salt, add water not quite to cover, and then boil the water clean away. You get velvety steam-boiled potatoes with a snappy, salty skin. Divine.
The first time I made salt potatoes with grilled pork chops and a lot of green beans steamed and then tossed with butter and salt. Delicious and easy.
Green Bean Apricot Salad with Grilled Chicken
1+ lbs. green beans
4 fresh apricots, quartered
1 onion, diced
1/2 pound leftover grilled boneless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon honey
Wash green beans and snap off stem ends and any bad or broken ends. Bring a large pot with a couple inches of water in it to a boil, then add the green beans, cover, and boil/steam for about 3-4 minutes. Drain when tender-crisp. Leave the green beans in the colander and return the drained pot to the burner, melting the butter and honey in the bottom. Then add the diced onion and apricots and let cook for a minute or two. Add the diced leftover chicken and stir to coat, then add the green beans and stir/toss all to coat. Serve warm with salt-roasted potatoes.
I love the salt potatoes with a yogurt dipping sauce made by combining low fat plain yogurt with garlic powder and smoked Spanish paprika.
A friend and I spent the day together today (her husband and my fiance work together), since we both have the day off. We took my sheltie Sweetie Pie for a nice walk, visited a local specialty food store, then went raspberry picking in my back yard (it’s not called Bramble House for nothing!). With some surprise fresh figs (same batch as the apricots), I found this recipe for Raspberry and Fig Cake and we decided to go for it. We substituted a lemon for the lime, since I didn’t realize that was in the recipe when we went shopping and I happened to have a lemon on hand.
The recipe also had some sort of silly instructions. It called for baking the cake with the rack on the bottom third of the oven for 40 minutes, then moving the rack (and the cake) to the top third of the oven for 35 more minutes. This seemed more than silly to me, but perhaps was meant to let the eggs (the only leavener) rise more easily? Not sure, but that was way too much work so I centered the rack and baked it for 65 minutes and it turned out perfectly (although I used a 10 inch springform, not a 9 inch, so it was also a thinner cake than it was meant to be).
The guys came home just before the cake was done and while it was cooling we waited for another friend and coworker to come over. She made it just in time for me to hand-whip some cream and for the cake to cool.
Between the five of us, we devoured that cake! Verdict? The lemon was delicious and so were the raspberries, but the figs were a bit wasted, in my opinion. They tasted better fresh than baked. Next time I would do all raspberries and just eat the figs fresh.
Have you been making any unique or interesting summer recipes? Feel free to share them in the comments!