It has been one of those rare times.
The calender and the cosmos lined up.
Our Memorial Weekend, the official American start of Summer, was hot, hot, hot, and sunny. It was if fact the first hot weekend of the year.
Everywhere people were outside.
And people were eating. (including this lady)
If that was not enough to celebrate…it also so worked out that hubby was home on my big grocery day (2 weeks of groceries for 6 people who rarely go out to eat, and really like food…we are talking two shopping carts).
That meant, I had the opportunity to sit down with paper, pen, and recipe book in hand, before I left for the store, and could leisurely go up and down the aisles without children. I did not even mind the crowds of people, since it was Memorial day; usual that would set my whole body into tension.
Since I had this copious amount of time to myself, and it was the first hot stretch of the summer, I looked in my favorite new recipe book for some summer-y goodness to make. My friend recommended this book:
Its full of fairly easy and healthy meals. But different kind of meals.
Hot weather means grilling up meat…obviously.
It also means you don't feel like cooking up some sides and getting your kitchen even more hot and stuffy.
And like I said "watermelon and chips can only go so far".
The following is an awesome recipe from the So Easy cooking book.
Its called Panzanella and she has it served up with some grilled turkey sausage. It is my new favorite summer meal. The Panzanella is an Italian bread and tomato salad that by itself is a great app. or lunch.
The following makes about 4-5 servings:
2 vine-ripped tomatoes cut into wedges
1/2 cucumber cut into half moons
3 half inch width slices of red onion, then cut in half again to make half moon shapes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 small whole grain baguette or your favorite crusty bread sliced into 1-inch slices, and then pulled apart in chunks ( I used paine Italian bread)
1/3 c fresh basil leaves, coarsely cut (I used a couple teaspoons of organic dried basil leaves found in the seasoning aisle)
1 pkg turkey or chicken sausage grilled in links
If you are making the sausage to go along with salad, start grilling before you start cutting, using a little bit of olive oil and water.
Throw all the cut veggies in a large bowl.
Toss the oil, vinegar, salt&pepper and mix well.
Add bread chunks and basil. Toss till bread is just moistened.
Add additional pepper and a few shakes of your favorite shaken cheese.
* The bread does get soggy, pretty quick so serve immediately after tossed.
That is why you cook the sausage first.
*If you are one of those people with texture or mushy issues I bet croutons would be yummy too.
Serve sausage whole along side your panzanella salad.
This salad is delicious the next day.
Make sure to remove any bread chunks though, because old soggy bread is just gross.
Or you could do what I do: Just sit there and pop them in your mouth all during and after dinner, even though you are supposed to be cutting back on bread, and not eating any while bread.
I throw the left-over veggies in some salad or spinach to make a great leafy salad the next day.
mmmm….sausage….I love our cast-iron skillet it makes meat and hot sandwiches taste so good. And, did you know cooking with an iron skillet will actually give you more iron? Good news for all you fellow pale anemic girls out there like me.
Taking pics of food; not my best strength…better at making and eating it.
A glass of chilled white wine was the perfect compliment.
Here are my favorite cookbooks:
The Pink Princess Cookbook and Once Upon a Kitchen are great books for girls just starting to cook. Once Upon a Kitchen, is based on the food mentioned in famous children's book. Really cute, though lots of the recipes kids definitely have to do with parents.
The Susan Branch's Vineyard Seasons, I just got from the library. The whole recipe book reads like journal, and written in her pretty nature-inspired artwook that I have been a long time fan of.
The Mediterranean cookbook has lots of different recipes, though some are really complex….to be used when you are in a major cooking mood, and want to show off.
The Encyclopedia of Preserves, I picked up last year. This book was a great resource as I just got my feet wet in the whole preserving and canning goodness. Hope to make good used of this one this summer and fall.
I leave you with this quote from The Bible that was staring at me in the face as flipped up my June calender this morning:
Every man should eat and drink and enjoy the goods of all his labour