Q: I left town for ten days and my garden exploded. I have two mammoth zucchini and I know from experience that they will be fluffy and starchy on the inside, no good for stir fries or raw salads. Any ideas out there for using these giants? All I can think of is some kind of zucchini bread....
This week at The Kitchn we're talking about why we love summer — lazy cooking! eating outdoors! tomatoes! — but all this talk has reminded me of a sobering fact: for children who depend on free school breakfasts and lunches, summer eating is not about bountiful produce and cook-outs. It is about not knowing when they will see the next real meal. The Washington Post recently featured a must-read article about this dark side of summer.
Growing up in Iowa and Minnesota, shucking corn was one of those chores that was always relegated to us kids. Our dad would hand us a giant bag of sweet corn fresh from the field, shoo us onto the porch, and shut the door behind us. But I never really minded. Once you get the hang of it, shucking corn — and removing all the silks — is a breeze. Want to shuck corn like a farmer's daughter? Here's how.
I'm five weeks into my CSA this year, and my weekly haul is gradually picking up. This week I got a few more tomatoes, a handful of potatoes, more blueberries, corn, and the first eggplant. So what to do with all this produce? Here's what I'm thinking:
What I love about summer is the fruit. There are peaches and plums for pies. There are nectarines for dribbling down your chin. There are apricots for tarts, cherries for snacks and all sorts of berries for breakfast, plus other melons like cantaloupe and honeydew to wrap ham around. But what other fruit offers a crunchy snack, a juice for drinking (with or without a boozy booster), seeds for spitting contests, and a big round shape for greasing and throwing around the pool, lake or ocean (have you played greased pig yet this summer)?
It's the watermelon. When it's good, it's really good and needs little else to completely satisfy a craving for a cool, sweet treat.
Most of the year, open my kitchen pantry and you'll find stack upon stack of canned tomatoes. That's because I refuse to buy them fresh when they're out of season. Sure, lots of food suffers in its off season, shipped from afar or forced in less-than-ideal growing conditions. But I find the variation in tomatoes by far the most drastic: a supermarket tomato in February has nothing in common with a garden tomato in July.
I work the farmers markets here in Seattle during the summer months and there are often packs of school kids walking hand-in-hand amongst the various booths. I always chat with them about their two to three month-long summer vacation, slightly (or greatly, depending on the day) lamenting the fact that we don't really have such a thing as adults. Thankfully though, there are still moments to savor, moments that feel like summer encapsulated. For me, those moments revolve around eating— and lingering—outdoors.
When I think about summer, I think about outdoor dining — long, late dinners on the porch, fresh green salads, afternoon naps on a picnic blanket. I also think about color, because how could you not in the summer? Rosé pinks, sunny yellows, all the verdant, vibrant shades of green. So today's roundup is an ode to a few of the products that make summer so lovely, from cotton ticking napkins to bistro chairs, from a mason jar cocktail shaker to the perfect picnic knife.
There's only one thing better than a scoop of homemade ice cream, and that's two scoops. Maybe three. Especially when the flavors mix, mingle, and take each other to new heights of tasty. There are certainly classic combinations, like chocolate and peanut butter, but what's your favorite? How do you stack your ice cream cone?