Saturday, July 25, 2009

Summer Non-Recipes

Hello, readers. Did you miss me? No? I didn’t miss this place either. I haven’t been cooking much lately, you see. Instead, I’ve been having dinners of cut-up vegetables and salsa, raw sugar snap peas and dip, grilled zucchini with feta. Simple and summery. You don’t expect me to dig out my camera and spend my evenings blogging about that, right? Right.

Over the past couple of months, though, I did come up with a little arsenal of quick non-meals that might inspire you to give up cooking for a while, too. (For more on this phenomenon, see Mark Bittman’s 101 simple summer salads piece from last week’s New York Times.)

Here are some ideas:

Thinly sliced cucumber round sandwiches with cream cheese and turkey (above).

Grilled zucchini and summer squash slices, cut into chunks and eaten with some feta and cubed ham or turkey.

Grilled zucchini slices topped with cheese or bacon or thinly sliced ham, like open-faced sandwiches.

Cut-up carrot sticks with black bean and corn salsa.

Slightly sautéed sugar snap peas or green beans, topped with feta.

Hot, grilled onion rounds (especially red onions) topped with cheese.

Sliced radishes, sprinked with kosher salt and topped with cheese or turkey.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Thursday Linkage

*Do you have trouble making the perfect roast chicken? Breasts too dry, skin too chewy? Have I got a recipe for you! Helen Rennie of Beyond Salmon came up with an endlessly tested, multi-step recipe for the perfect bird. If brining or trussing isn't good enough for you, I urge to check out Helen's inventive and exhaustive--if not exhausting--write-up.

Now here's my caveat: I think foodies' quest for perfection can stem from too many options, too much food. Sure, it's fun to come up with the "perfect" recipe, but it's just as good to eat something, anything when you're truly hungry. Go on a long, strenuous hike and see how good that granola bar and instant coffee taste afterward.

*Do you keep leftovers till they grow mold or do you toss them ruthlessly? This amusing New York Times piece chronicles the wars over leftovers. I'm very much pro-leftovers--here's a recipe for a salad made of leftover grilled chicken, and a post on a potato-and-cheese pie made of leftover mashed potatoes.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Camping Food: S'mores vs. Rye Bread

Some kids like s'mores; I liked toasted rye bread. Growing up in Russia, I spent my summers in the country, in a small village not far from St. Petersburg. One of my best memories of those days is toasting bread over a campfire. I thought this was an absolutely delicious treat, especially when the bread was sprinked with salt and eaten with ripe plum tomatoes on the side.

These days, toasting rye bread (oh, and bagels) is still my favorite part of camping. I'm off for a camping/canoeing trip this weekend, and I hope to return with more stories about Russian campfire treats. Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
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