Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer Cookin'


The change of seasons is always an exciting time for me. The change of seasons means a change in cooking style and available foods. You know how comforting stews and casseroles are to prepare and eat in the winter.  Grilled meats and fresh salads taste just as good in the summer.

In the past few weeks, I've been cooking more summer foods and I've noticed an unfortunate seems to me that summer foods require more time in the kitchen and I'm trying to figure out why. Maybe it's the meals my family loves to eat in the summer and less about the actual season, but I have noticed that summer foods seem to require more advance prep than winter foods.

While in the fall and winter I might have to start a winter stew or casserole an hour or two before dinner time, I can pretty much throw all my foods in a dish or pot and forget about it until dinner time. But pasta and potato salads require advance preparation to allow for them to be chilled, and grilled meats usually require some sort of early-in-the-day fussing over marinade or rubs.

Today I made a Bacon and Onion Potato salad and some Strawberry Gelato to take to a cookout and I spent quite a bit of time early this afternoon prepping in the kitchen -- not what I wanted to do today.

So my questions to you today are these: what are your favorite summer meals? And do you find that you do more or less meal prep in the summer vs. the winter?



Anne said...

I'd have to think awhile about my favorite summer meals, but this morning I did spend QUITE a bit of time in the kitchen cleaning and chopping bell peppers, onions, and potatoes to go with some chicken kabobs on the grill tonight!! They are very easily marinading in a bottle of Italian dressing, and I can't wait to eat them! :o)

Sarah said...

I guess I had not thought about it before, but with all the fresh produce, there is a bit more prep time in the summer. But I love summer cooking, because we grill A LOT, and my husband grills, so I cook less. Yeah! And the cleanup is easier, too. I also like summer for all the fresh fruits and vegetables. I hosted a bridal shower on Saturday, and we had delicious, refreshing salads. Everything was so colorful! And yummy!! :)

Sara said...

I don't know the answer, unless it's all the fresh produce, but I'll be interested in the solution. I was just telling dh last night how tired I am of the everlasting menus and cooking and want something simple for summer! I think it'll just be meat on the grill. Every. Night. To heck with the veggies. ;-)

christal said...

I'd agree, Barbara! I do spend more time in the kitchen in the summer, but with 5 little guys I try to do my kitchen prep in the evening (the day before). The kitchen is quiet, cooler and I can have a glass of wine and listen to some music. I love it. Plus, I love eating summer fresh everything is, that it is a sacrifice I'm happy to make (to spend more time in the kitchen). My absolute favorite summer recipe (and it's a meatless Friday favorite!) is grilled pizza. I make my dough, make a combo of olive oil, fresh Greek oregano, garlic and brush that on the grilled pizza once it's been flipped. Top with thin sliced tomato, sliced fresh mozzerella and some freshly torn basil. Continue to grill until the cheese has melted. I can not wait for my tomatoes to come in...hungry just thinking about it!

Tami said...

I find the same thing, Barbara. Lots more chopping (at some point) , and grilling in the afternoon (think 'heat of the day'). Not the carefree spirit that can take over the rest of the day! Bleh.

Even cold dishes, like chicken salad, etc., require the prep work, like you said. But at least in can be accomplished earlier, then pulled out at the last minute for serving.

I'm not sure there's a solution, though. As for recipe suggestions, I like Elizabeth Foss's steak salad, as it is prepped in advance (it's on her site, let me know if you need a link). And on really hot days, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers with thickly sliced mozzarella and an Italian vinaigrette, plus a substantial bread can fill stomachs fairly well. OH, and sometimes I would add corn-on-the-cob to this I would add a substantial dessert (ice cream?) later just to make sure everyone was full….

Barb, sfo said...

I agree about the extra prep for summer food. What's up with that? Maybe because we're using more fresh ingredients, which is work-intensive in itself. But I planned "sandwich week" this week, for lighter fare on these hot days, and it's backfiring in terms of time spent in the kitchen. Not to mention--no one really has much appetite.

Heidi said...

There does seem to be some extra chopping and peeling with summer meals. Also planning ahead so that certain things are cold enough to eat (like potato or pasta salad). My all-time favorite summer meal: lamb chops on the grill, couscous, and my tomato salad. The tomato salad is this: chop up a cucumber or two and place in bowl, over that put crumbled feta cheese, over that put chopped tomatoes. Let it sit for awhile and then toss. It makes its own dressing with the tomato juices and feta cheese. Fresh and simple!