Sunday, August 24, 2008

Smörgåsbord of Summer

Sometimes there's too much going on to be a loyal blogger. What with pistachio ice cream, and two-lane highways prime for biking (minus the occasional tire spearing the occasional tire), and Hollywood showing up just around the corner, it's been nonstop action around here.

That's not counting the energy it takes to throw crap like this down the gullet:

Summer's good around these parts.

I've been soaking it all in — on occasion, literally:

I'd take beet-pink fingers over sun-pink shoulder blades any day. Who says the kitchen isn't a fine place to enjoy a sweltering August afternoon?

My dear neighborly farmers have led the way lately, coaxing me toward Vitamins C and A, respectively:

And, of course, B,L and T:

Those are pan-fried yellow wax beans, flecked with red pepper, posing as French fries. Tricky little bastards.

On another day an abundance of zucchini and broccoli inspired a primavera-like concoction over fried polenta (star-shaped, no less). Patriotic and, as it turned out, quite good to eat. I cooked the polenta (cornmeal with a fancy name, according to the BBC) with heaps of garlic and Parmesan before spreading it in a baking pan to cool. Then, once its sponginess was eerily evocative of Play-doh, I carved out the stars (some 50 in all, I might note).

Quickly fried up in a bit of olive oil, they were the perfect foil for the bright, tomato-bound vegetable melee. A little more Parmesan on top, and I was more than pleased with myself:

Similar bounty inspired a pizza of Webb proportions:

Per my former roommate's recipe, the above emerged from a box of Jiffy pizza crust mix, a liberal wash of pesto, heaps of mozzarella and kalamata olives and of course, a few vegetables for color.

Preferably consumed in her company, but in a pinch, it worked out. Though I can't guarantee it didn't evoke a little nostalgia.

Such emotions were quelled by a fit of unsuccessful attempts at a lemon cornmeal blueberry muffin. So good in premise, so pretty in pictures, so disgusting in taste:


More successful was a bout of pickling: Tarragon-infused Kirby cucumbers, and crimson beets with onions. Easy! And so, so pretty:

It wouldn't be summer without yet another beet picture:

It's obsessive and abnormal, I know, I know. But I just really like them. They look like blood and squelch in your teeth and have little curling tails! And rings like inside a centuries-old tree. OK, enough.

And, lastly, there was an apricot tart. It was my virgin tart experience. Don't laugh, this is serious business. It involved rolling pins and tart pans and pie crust, that finicky affectation left to my long-lost friend (see pizza, above). I had to suck it up and buy my own pin and pan. I had to labor alone. But, I did. Successfully, even:

Armed with a trusty recipe from Orangette, the trustiest of food blogs, I ventured onward. Glistening apricots from the farmers' market piled into the crust, eliciting what might have been a squeal of glee. They're pretty adorable, you have to admit:

And, once cooked, sweet and tart and syrupy and rather exquisite:

Just try and scare me, Labor Day. I can say with confidence that summer has been squeezed out of every possible stone fruit, steamed from each zucchini and beaten from every blushing perennial. If the leaves fell today, I'd be satisfied.

But I might boil some sweet corn first.

1 comment:

phoebe said...

holy shi'ite! you have been a busy little wifey, too bad i'm not there to enjoy it. your tart looks amazing, please tell me you used lard? i made my first cherry pie in california, blech, i hate cherries. apricots though, were a stroke of genius.

my only complaint is that you forgot the fucking feta in the pizza. how could you poe? seriously. you should probably try again. don't forget to rub olive oil on the edge of the crust and then sprinkle it with parmesean. sheesh, you're getting absent minded in your old age.