So many memorable old phrases I enjoy using, fine writer that I am. One is, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Another might be, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Which must, of course, be followed by, “Opposites attract.” Following those for no reason at all is, “Great minds think alike.” Which is what I say when I make a dish off the top of my head and begin to write the recipe before realizing I cooked the same (or nearly the same) thing 10 (5 or 15) years ago. Thank goodness “Love is Lovelier the Second Time Around,” (a favorite wedding song of mine) and I absolutely don’t mind “reinventing the wheel.” Roll your eyes now or forever hold your peace. Ok, I’m done. But I really did make almost this very same salad in 2014, though its current appearance is quite distinct from the first and today’s recipe title is “Asparagus-Potato Salad” rather than, “Roasted Potato-Asparagus Salad with Mushrooms and Sweet Onions.” Same difference. Just about.
In 2020, our ubiquitous all-American cookouts — which roar on ad infinitum Mother’s Day through Labor Day — were often a tad sad little affairs if we had them at all. Instead of the jumbo party packs of burgers and brats, unending veggie or cheese trays, boxes of big cupcakes, and the super-sized bag of red, white, and blue paper napkins to last all summer long, we were buying a single pound of ground beef, 4 buns, a pint of vanilla, and left the colored napkins on the shelf. Fireworks, if available on the 4th, were viewed from apartment building balconies or hillside decks. We were masked and our celebrations felt the same.
While friends and relatives in lower and warmer climes harvest strawberries, brag about their huge beds of towering annuals, and swill a cold one on the patio, I’m still making big vats of soup we’re snarfing down watching “Designated Survivor” episodes snuggled up under afghans.
Rhubarb pie — not to be confused with strawberry-rhubarb pie — is probably my husband’s favorite dessert. This isn’t to say he won’t eat every bit of a strawberry-rhubarb, or even a Blueberry-Rhubarb Crisp (see below), but just that plain rhubarb pieis it. There are years when due to a move or gardening delays, there is no rhubarb in our garden or yard. I’m then reduced to begging from friends, who immediately know why I’m calling come spring. I also haunt the local grocery produce section where rhubarb does indeed appear but also disappears mysteriously…and not always when you need it. “Oh, sorry! It’s all gone. You know we get produce in every single night. Try again in the morning!” Rats.
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.)
My friend Helen came over last week for an Instant Pot (IP) demonstration and to share a quick lunch we would make together. Well, actually I prepped; SHE cooked! Helen thought she wanted an Instant Pot–or similar–but needed to see it up close and personal before she made a final decision. While she enjoyed the Cream of Pea Soup with Scallions, Mint, and Sharp Cheddar we made, she was interested in meat main dishes–thinking she’d like to skip using the stove once in a while. It’s a wonderful idea, especially come summer, but not something I’ve done a lot of. I tested chicken recipes for America’s Test Chicken last year (see their new book!) and the rest of my electric pressure cooking has been vegetarian or oh-so-close. Just working my way through the process, I’d guess, but it was definitely time to branch out. By the way, she went home and ordered her IP! YAY!
This week marks the beginning of weekend picnics, warm holiday get togethers, nights in the backyard, weeks at the beach, days at the cabin, and all kinds of thrilling grilling on your balcony or patio! For fun, I ran through my TOP FAVORITE original summer sides on More Time at Table and brought them all together in one place just before Memorial Day. I’ll keep perusing my files and as I find other luscious things I think you’d like, I’ll stick them in. Be cool!
My mom, born in Mississippi in 1916, always called Memorial Day “Decoration Day” while we were growing up. While I knew why we celebrated Memorial Day, the idea of “Decoration Day” was a bit murky for me. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized many people literally went to cemeteries to decorate graves and remember. As fewer and fewer people are buried as years go on, this is worth tucking away in our heads.
Here’s the current scoop from TIME.com. It might surprise you.
2 places left in the SUMMER SOUPS-NO COOKING! Cooking Class at Mountain High (formerly Shouse) on Thursday, June 18, 2015: 5-8pm. Come learn how to be cool in the kitchen! Click above on CURRENT CLASSES for sign-up info. Can’t wait to cook with you.
Without going into nasty details, I’ve been sick on and off for over a month. I’d just get over one misery only to encounter another. One I’m sure I brought on all by myself, another arrived via Dave and work (everyone’s had this), and the last was maybe bit of a rerun of it all because why in the world would I want a week in which I was well? Continue reading →
Memorial Day Weekend….Do Breakfast Slowly…Remember it’s a Holiday?…
The food magazines and papers are most likely full of barbeques; it’s time to light the grills and bring out the brats or ribs. Time to stuff the coolers full of beer and white wine and head for…wherever you head for when the great, warm weather arrives. However, if you live in the Rockies, I can just about promise you that 1. The chance of your grilling this weekend , in good weather (unlike almost any other time in our lovely geographic area), is nil. 2. The chance of you finding ANYWHERE warm or dry to go is even less likely. In fact, it’s probably a good time to make beef stew and hunker down in your family room with a stack of movies and magazines and a lovely bottle of Pinot Noir. As I add a photo and publish this post Friday morning, it’s 50 degrees and foggy with rain imminent. You can’t SEE the mountains, much less decide to camp there.
… We’ve tried tent camping Memorial Day weekend exactly twice. Both times were unmitigated disasters due to freezing rain, snow and early departures for home where warm showers and furnaces existed. Talk to anyone out here who’s ever tried to do anything on Memorial Day weekend and you’ll get a similar story. Once, we had the same story over Fourth of July. Gospel.
So, instead of great bbq recipes, I’m putting up a delish fast spread for breakfast because, if you live where I live, you might actually have time to cook it indoors this weekend. (Get some soup out of the freezer for dinner.) Continue reading →