Summer simplicity

It’s summer at last, even here in the Pacific Northwest, which means we are eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.  As for cooking, ever since my little hibachi developed a grand crack several years ago, I haven’t had a grill, and since I don’t eat much meat, I don’t miss it so much. (Anyway, we don’t have a deck, yard or patio, and grilling in the carport is not that romantic.)

Instead, my way of embracing summer is to appreciate its abundantly fresh produce. I love to wander through farmers markets, produce stands, u-pick fields and friends’ orchards, drawing inspiration for the next meal from whatever is in season and seems to go well together.

The other day at the farmers’ market, for example, the combination of garlic scapes and a bunch of broccoli rabe said “dinner” to me — another variation on the pasta-with-vegetables theme.

I blanched the broccoli rabe for one minute in boiling water, then sauteed it with sliced garlic scapes. (You can definitely make this with regular broccoli and garlic, of course.)

Then I added the cooked pasta  (it was whole wheat shells this time) to the veggies, adding a little more olive oil, a couple spoonfuls of the pasta-cooking water, a bit of grated Pecorino Romano. I topped it with some toasted breadcrumbs, Southern Italian style, but you don’t have to do so.

Dessert? The strawberries I also bought at the farmers’ market, though pricey, were worth it — so sweet and delicious they needed no adornment.

Another simple strawberry dessert (especially with less-sweet berries)   is to put a bowl of sour cream or Greek-style (strained) yogurt and a bowl of brown sugar beside your bowl of berries. You dip the strawberry first in the sour cream, then in the brown sugar, and eat. It’s a little messy but simpler than making shortcake.

It’s summer, after all — who wants to work?

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Summer simplicity

  1. Brian K

    this bachelor enjoyed this, the simpler, the better for me 🙂

  2. Cathy mihalik

    Perfect summer fare. Thank you Toby…….

  3. Rick Steigmeyer

    Sounds delicious! I’m cooking something similar right now. Arugula out of the garden, mushrooms, a green onion and left over pasta. Cherries off the tree for dessert.

  4. Denise Heiss

    Toby-have been enjoying your website and am sharing with some others.
    My son has a beautiful lemon tree in is backyard here in S. Calif. and I used your recipe for lemonade. So so good.

    • lemonodyssey

      Glad to hear it, Denise. How great that you’re able to pick lemons from the tree for your lemonade!

  5. SOunds like a perfect summer supper to me. And if you cook the pasta in the broccoli water, the pasta itself takes on the broccoli flavor inside and out. It’s breakfast time here, and you’ve now made me hungry for broccoli pasta!

  6. I discovered organic broccoli rabe just a few months ago and can’t believe the difference in taste from regular broccoli. Where has it been all my life? I could eat it every day of the week.

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