Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Simple Season

You know this season - the season of no-cook. Sometimes the season of take-out. Hazy, hot days. Butterflies and bees. An abundance of zucchini - and if lucky - too many tomatoes. (Take my zucchini: please.)

It's a good time to picnic. Even when you picnic somewhere inside where there's air conditioning!

And at least once a year, we pack these babies up and go stare at a lake or a river.

The thing about the muffuletta sandwich is - anything goes. Italian bread, ciabatta bread, sourdough bread - pick your favorite. Slice almost in half - take out some of the bready dough (I know, people always say "and reserve for another use." But do you? We feed it to the birds.) And then add what you will. I like roasted red peppers and an olive salad slathered on the bottom and top. And a good dousing of oil and vinegar. And I'm partial to a mixture of salami, provolone, prosciutto - but really - any of your favorite meats and cheeses will do. I slam that sandwich together and put a weight on it and let it press together and we're good to go. Sometimes, I warm it in the oven to melt the cheese a bit and cement it that way.

It's always good. Always. We left the low-carb bandwagon for awhile. (And gained weight.) But you know when you saute some shrimp and zucchini (did I mention I have a lot of zucchini?) and toss it with pasta and tomatoes, life looks really good on that side of the pasta bowl.

My tomatoes are on steroids - all of them: the Plum tomatoes, the San Marzano, the Early Girl, the Beefsteak. They were diced and mixed with a large handful of basil, some Italian parsley and some warmed garlic in olive oil. I salt and pepper lightly - because at the table it's topped with fresh Parmesan and that's usually all the salt it needs. The bowl is covered and sits on the counter for the rest of the day. When we're ready to eat, we cook up some pasta and done.

I don't even warm the sauce.

My new favorite appetizer is a spreadable or softened cheese on toast. It's topped with a little radish and favorite herbs. It takes five minutes. And I get compliments. Which is sweet. (I should probably add some zucchini - because - did I mention - I have a lot of zucchini? From two plants. About sixty zucchini thus far and more coming.)

It's the season of "Fast, Easy Fresh" and it leaves you time. To gaze at whatever summer-scene strikes your fancy. For me - it's usually water. I am a Cancer and if there's anything to that astrology-thing, they have me pegged. I am a water-baby. I can look at this all day.

And then sometimes on a patio, overlooking a lake - there's beer.
 Happy August.