The Ever-Changing Salad

Today, in Colorado Springs, we have a high of 68 degrees F (20 C) with (praise God) rain. It’s by no means the end of summer, but is for sure the harbinger of fall. Our jeans and fleeces never get put away as they do in Chicago or Minneapolis because we never know if we’ll have that bizarre August snow or just the run of the mill welcome and chilly summer evening when we sip a little stronger something out at the fire pit watching the stars. (Remember watching the stars?)

This time of the year, we’re so happy with our Palisades peaches, Rocky Ford cantelope and watermelon, Pueblo or Hatch chiles, jalapeños, home grown tomatoes, fresh herbs, and Olathe sweet corn that sometimes we celebrate our soon-to-end warm weather by making dinner out of just those ingredients. A few additions like salt and pepper, arugula, Sherry vinegar, goat or mozzarella cheese, and maybe a little oil make the meal just what it ought to be. One night there’s a version starring ruby red watermelon and the next day it’s Halloween-orange cantelope instead; sometimes a berry of some sort gets thrown in. I call it, “The Ever-Changing Salad,” not because it must change, but only because by nature, it just does. And we’re so glad of that.

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Crispy Duck Breasts on Parsnip Purée with Spicy Cherry Sauce–Date Night

Cooking in your own kitchen for date night has this wondrous side result: you get to eat at home. There are no ever-louder-as-they-drink-more folks at the table next door and your comfy jeans are fine to wear all night long.

The love of my life, my fave sous chef in our kitchen.

The wine glasses happen to be the ones you like best, maybe purchased at an estate sale or while on a trip, or even inherited from your great-aunt. Music? Whatever you like, not what the restaurant manager thinks will best go over to all age groups. Hey–you also get to set the table or ask your partner or guest to do the honors while you stir up a little dinner.

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Cherry-Berry Pie for the 4th of July

BEST SUMMER SIDES FROM MORE TIME AT THE TABLE HERE.

It’s more than ironic that many of the best fruit pies need to be made when the weather is sizzling, sultry, humid, or plain old drippy hot. As a cold-weather fiend, I particularly find this one of the most unhappy cooking situations. I am thus incredibly blessed to live in Colorado where the summer days may be hot, yes, but might also occasionally dip down into the 40’s and even more often into the 50’s with the advent of a good, old-fashioned hail and/or rain storm. In fact, nightly fifty-some temps aren’t unusual even without rain. (Of course that’s why our tomatoes don’t do squat. Thank God we have the best beer in the country to partially make up for that.)

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Cooking with Addie: Cherry-Peach Muffins

 

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Cooking with Addie posts will come up periodically and are designed for older kids or teens learning to cook. Not a kid? Make this anyway!!

It wasn’t too awfully hot this morning, so I was willing to turn on the oven to make some muffins I’ve been dreaming about for quite a while. Addie, my young fellow cook and blog-reader, is quite a baker according to her mom and also from the photos I’ve seen. It seemed a good thing for the next “COOKING WITH ADDIE” (a short series of older kids’ cooking posts this summer) to be something scrumptious for the oven. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, I think you might enjoy some seasonal summer muffins this year.  (Dessert is still coming up in the last post of the series; don’t despair!)

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Wild Rice-Sweet Cherry Salad

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When it’s cherry season in Colorado, I’m usually baking a pie. That’s because our cherries are sour cherries –or pie cherries– depending upon where you’re from. You have to grow your own sour cherries or beg from a friend wherever you live; they don’t hold up well for shipping, so…

                                        Make my cherry pie here.

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