1) My summertime crack is frozen blueberries.They’re good fresh, but on hot summer nights, they are the perfect dessert/snack when they’re frozen. I have six pints of blueberries in the freezer, not counting the containers that get put in solely for snacking purposes. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with six pints of blueberries, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with six pounds of cranberries, either, and I’ve managed to use it all without making cranberry-chocolate chip cookies once.
Frozen fruit makes the best milkshakes. Bananas first and foremost, but mangoes and berries work well, too. It’s ridiculously simple and so much more fun (and also cheaper and healthier) to do it at home rather than pay for one of the 1300-calorie monsters at the smoothie shop. I didn’t add any yogurt to this one, but it’s a great thickener (especially if you drain the yogurt first) and an excellent source of additional calcium.
Top view so you don’t see my Mets stein that has been through the dishwasher a few too many times.
2) I goofed off with barley and black-eyed peas the other day. Celery, a little bit from my thyme plant, nothing too exciting. I had it first in a green pepper with some cheese and pluot (there’s a glass of milk just out of the frame) and it was… fine and not very exciting.
A few days later, I decided to make zucchini fritters. I grated the lovely zucchini, got out some relevant spices… and somewhere between going to get the eggs out of the fridge and pouring them, I forgot I was making fritters and thought I was making a frittata and poured a cup of egg. Which is far too much for fritters, but I didn’t want a frittata, so I scrambled around for items I could throw into the batter (beyond much more flour) to thicken it up and at least get pancakes, and came up with the barley-bean mix. The first few pancakes were like Korean pancakes, which were fine but not what I wanted. With a little more flour and barley and some baking powder and resting time, I got something that was somewhere between a pancake and a patty. With the barley and the celery and thyme, they were maybe a little like stuffing, but they were quite tasty. Especially with mustard. They freeze well — I’ve defrosted some for lunch already — and aren’t bad at room temperature, so maybe I’ll try them again, except this time intentionally.
3) I grilled again over the weekend, this time with my spiffy yellow gloves (which don’t actually make me feel any safer overturning the chimney into the grill, but it was again accomplished without incident). Eventually, I will grill meat on this thing, but for the time being, the grill is merely an excuse for me to char veggies. This time, I marinated some tofu that had first been pressed. It looks a little sketchy, but there’s no elegant way to press tofu and you really do need to get the extra water out. Also on the grill were the usual suspects zucchini and eggplant along with potato (thank you, parental peanut gallery) and cauliflower. I usually make my potatoes either in the broiler or in the microwave and then in the toaster, so this was both familiar and not — I needed to make the slices a little thinner so that the outsides don’t get too done while the insides are still raw-ish. Same with the cauliflower, but it wasn’t bad as it was.
Yes, I really do like things that charred.
The highlights of the grill, however, were the white peach and the pita. I’ve been reading about grilled pizza all summer and I have lovely recipes for various middle eastern flatbreads, so I decided to do a test run and see what grilling bread was like. I threw together some whole wheat pizza dough while waiting for the grill to heat up and then realized I had nothing I wanted to put on it, so I split it into four after it was risen and just made pita. Well, more like naan than pita, since it was pillowy and soft. However you class it, though. it was amazing. I want to grill bread all of the time. (Those aren’t toothmarks, btw, but tongs marks.) I foresee trying za’atar bread and maybe lamejun soon.
In conclusion: fire is still scary, but grilled bread is worth the scare.