WND – Summer Lovin’ Happened So Fast

July 30, 2010

For the 17 months of the year that it’s winter here I buy a bunch of bananas, a couple of apples and pears, and maybe some clementines and that will last us through the week for lunches and snacks.  Last week I went to the grocery store on Saturday and bought:

1 (large) bunch grapes
1.5 lb cherries
1 quart blueberries
3 lb watermelon
1 cantaloupe (or whatever the local orange fleshed local melon equivalent is called)

By Wednesday night there was not a piece of fruit left in the house.  It’s not even as if the melon was for Dinner.  No, the fridge full of fruit was disappeared by two people in five days.  I didn’t even take any of it to work for lunch – I stopped at the downtown farmer’s market and bought myself peaches for lunches.

Meanwhile there are still popsicles left in the freezer from a batch that was made two weeks ago (lemon buttermilk – sounds weird, is interestingly (in a good way) tart and creamy, like a lemon creamsicle) and a full quart of ice cream that hasn’t even been opened yet.  I think this says something disturbing about how grown up we’ve become that we’re eschewing the delights of frozen cream and sugar for a bowl of blueberries after dinner.

Come March I’m always ready to scream at the thought of eating another pear or apple, and it feels like it’s been far more than just nine months since there was fresh fruit to be had locally.  So, for the few months of the year that it’s in season and available I feel like I have to gorge myself while I can.  Strawberries came and went in the blink of an eye.  Plums are a little past their peak already.  Blueberries are still going strong, and nectarines and peaches are just coming into season.  I’ve started to see some early apples at the farmers market, and while the days are still hot the nights have cooled down enough to require the occasional blanket when you sleep.  I refuse to see those two things as the first hints of Fall.  It’s only the end of July and I’m not ready to give up lying in the backyard in the sun listening to NPR on a Sunday afternoon, and I’m looking forward to another 5-6 weeks of tomatoes and peaches and corn.

However, just because I refuse to admit that summer is rapidly coming to a close doesn’t mean I can’t anticipate the delights of Fall.  In a case of ‘you only want what you can’t have’ every recipe I’ve been craving lately has been more suited to Fall weather.  I have a slow roasted pork shoulder recipe that I want to try when the thought of turning the oven on for up to 5 hours doesn’t leave me feeling wilted.  I have a butternut squash macaroni & cheese recipe that I’m going to feel compelled to make the first time I see a butternut squash at the farmers market.  All my recent recipe bookmarks are for things like roasted sausages and grapes, and meatloaf, and curried chickpeas, and braised chicken, and roasted cabbage.  I’m saving them up for when I don’t have 6 lb of sun-ripened beefsteak tomatoes in my fridge that can be cooked down for awesome summer tomato soup, and I can’t get fresh nectarines to toss in a salad with a little goat cheese, or make muffins with the tail end of a pint of fresh blueberries (frankly it’s a little astonishing to me that there were any blueberries left in our house by Sunday last week).  Meanwhile, I indulged myself just slightly this week with a recipe for fingerling potatoes and figs that I’m justifying as a seasonal produce recipe on the grounds that new potatoes are just coming into farmers markets now.  Plus, I waited a whole three weeks between when I first bookmarked this recipe and when I made it.  That’s positively restrained when it comes to something that involves figs, garlic, thyme and olive oil.

Roasted Fig & Fingerling Potatoes
Balsamic-Lemon Chicken
Bok Choi

Roasted Fig & Fingerling Potatoes
(serves 4-6 – I made 1.5x the recipe and served 8 with not a single bite leftover)

½ lb dried figs
1 ½ cups strong tea
2 lb fingerling potatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 head garlic, separated but not peeled
5 springs thyme
Enough olive oil to coat*

Place figs in a bowl and cover with hot black tea.  Cover and allow to rest for at least 6 hours, or overnight.  If your figs are small leave whole, if they’re large slice them in half or quarters.

Place figs, potatoes, garlic and thyme in a large bowl.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss with olive oil.

Roast at 400 for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are fork tender.

Serve, and allow diners to squeeze roasted garlic out of shells to eat with the potatoes at the table.

* The original recipe calls for 1/3 cup of olive oil which is more than I can bring myself to use on some roasted potatoes.

Balsamic-Lemon Chicken

8 skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces (legs, thighs, breasts, whatever floats your boat)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 lemons, zested and then quartered
2 tsp kosher salt (or 1 tsp regular salt)
2 ½ tsp pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
½ Tbsp vegetable oil (enough to just coat the bottom of the pan)

In a small bowl combine the balsamic vinegar, half the lemon zest, salt and 2 tsp of the pepper.  Stir to combine.

In another small bowl combine the sugar, remaining ½ tsp pepper and remaining half of the lemon zest.  Toss to combine.

Trim your chicken and then cut a few slashes into the skin with the tip of a sharp knife.  Marinate the chicken in the balsamic vinegar mixture for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Heat the oil in an oven safe skillet.  When it is (very/smoking) hot add the chicken skin side down and the marinade.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until the skin is well browned.  Turn the chicken over and cook for 2-5 minutes on the other side.  Sprinkle the chicken with the lemon-sugar mixture and transfer the pan to a 400 oven and cook until the chicken is done (about 25-30 minutes – 180 for legs/thighs, 170 for breasts).  About half way through cooking add the quartered lemons to the pan.

Bok Choi




  1. […] Recipe previously given: Summer Lovin’ Happened So Fast […]

  2. […] Recipe previously given: Summer Lovin’ Happened So Fast […]

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