Thursday, June 25, 2009

Strawberries, corn, tomatoes...oh my!

Dear readers,

I've decided something this week: I want to become a foodie. This isn't something you decide, but you simply become, and you damn well don't sit down and say, "I want to cook with gusto and be a foodie and tomorrow I start!" I know. Frankly, it's an embarrassing statement. (Something a REAL food connoisseur - aka non-poser like myself - would never utter.) They would probably never buy the cheap store-brand olive oil, either.

This decision came in a few ways. First, it's summer. The farmer's market downtown is open and greens are plentiful (and don't get me started on Matt spending $37 on organic, free-range buffalo the other week.) Second, over the growing weeks, I've become increasingly bored to tears on our nightly dinner menu. It invariably involves chicken -- most recently, grilled with, as Matt loving refers, "McCormick". (As in the brand -- it doesn't matter if he's using McCormick Cajun Seasoning or McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning, or just some lowly McCormick oregano, it is, to him, "McCormick", as in, "K?!! (Screaming up the stairs.) "I'm going to grill the chicken with McCormick, okay?!!" Why correct the boy when he's cooking dinner?

So we have our McCormick chicken grilled, sautéed, over a salad, in burritos, on a sandwich, in a Marsala wine sauce, in a stir-fry, with a simmer sauce, diced over pasta , (taking a breath), and then there's baked with panko, brushed with barbeque sauce, and on a shish-kabob. We are chicken maniacs.

I'm not angling for fancy; I can't do fancy. Let's call it rustic. Last week at the market I bought a fresh loaf of French bread, and topped it with provolone, sun-dried tomatoes, basil from the garden, roasted red peppers, and pesto just for good measure. I meant it to accompany a great big salad (with chicken, obviously), but we gobbled it up in an indecent amount of time, causing us both to lay on the couch and complain about the perils of "too much bread". (There is nothing better than fresh bread, no?)

Now, it's true. I was recently pseudo-inspired by a movie trailer - I am only so deep, okay? Julie & Julia comes out in August, starring Amy Adams (adorable) and Meryll Streep. Amy plays Julie Powell, a Brooklyn secretary who decides to cook Julia Child 's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in one year and document it (and then, as icing on her cupcake, gets a fat book deal). And, God no, I'm not trying to weakly emulate any of that. I just want to cook fresh, yummy, and healthy fare this summer. No esoteric ingredients. (I make a caramel apple pie that calls for a single, petite split vanilla bean. That's when I gag and grab my vanilla extract.)

This summer I'll be sharing recipes that are tasty, fresh, and simple. Do you have any standards that you long for when summer rolls around? Please do share!!! First up for me? I'll be making fresh pesto with a handful of sun-kissed basil from the yard.

Positively salivating,


  1. I love making fruit salad or smoothies with the fruit that I can tolerate. Or to really treat myself I freeze fruit juice or even soda. Freezing it half way is also nice since it makes a 'slushy' drink.

    Tip: freezing fruit juice into ice cubes and throwing it into the same juice will not dilute the drink and still make it cold ;)
    Freezing soda like coke, takes the bubbles out so I can still enjoy the taste but doesn't make me all bloated.

  2. TERRIFIC idea! How easy - just freeze juice!

    In the summer I am a smoothie junkie. My favorite is peach yogurt, a banana, some OJ (obviously this is on good Crohn's days), frozen peach slices, a dollap of honey, and of course ice.

    I'm going to try freezing juices - love slushies. My husband likes Mt. Dew and puts it in the freezer for a bit, then adds it to a full glass of ice, and it makes it sort of slushy.

    Thanks, Belinda!