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.
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?