As I’m sure you’ve realized, it’s summer here in the U.S., and it’s a hot one. Insert obligatory Rob Thomas gif here:
You know what? I’m confident enough as a moderately cranky and trying-to-be-less-cynical 30-year-old person to now admit, fuck it, I DO like those fierce Rob Thomas/Santana jams from the late ’90s. I WILL LISTEN TO THOSE ANY DAY OVER THAT “NICOTINE” SONG. THAT SONG IS TERRIBLE.
Ahem. Anyway. So it’s summer! And aside from the glory of the World Cup, it’s been rough. Every breaking news alert is a new nightmare! The world exhausts me! So what I’ve been doing more and more lately is burrowing myself into cooking (as Kayleigh recently wrote about, too), and let me tell you, it’s been working out great. And by “working out great” I mean “I am getting a little more squishy from all these complex carbs and that is fine.”
Summertime is for pasta and produce and effervescent boozy drinks and random baked goods because why the hell not. Here are the food-related things that have given me particular joy lately, and I hope you’ll join me in the comments to share your favorite June-to-August food solace, too.
Basically anything fizzy that my partner will make for me in a chilled coupe is how I’m living these past few months. I’m pretending I’m Daisy Buchanan, but without all the narcissism and murder and tragedy.
The other day on Slack many of us Overlords discussed our favorite summer drinks, and I’m partial to anything with bourbon, ginger, or pomegranate or blood orange juice, and mint juleps or mojitos are also welcome. My partner’s and my latest favorite is the caipirinha, made with the Brazilian liquor cachaça. It’s pretty straighforward: lime, cachaça (which is similar to rum), and simple syrup. It’s delicious.
What I’ve been battling dehydration with lately:
I adore The Great British Bake Off like any normal human being (well, the old lineup with Sue, Mel, Mary Berry, and Paul Hollywood; we just now are getting the 2012 series on our public broadcasting channels here in Maryland), and while I’m not a natural baker, I look upon Nadiya Hussain as my guiding inspiration in most things. Her patience and persistence on the season of GBBO that she won has inspired me to, when I bake, go for recipes that take a while so I can turn my brain off of everything else and just focus on the task at hand. This chocolate-stuffed monkey bread recipe is perfect for that. It takes TWO DAYS and it’s super-tedious in that you have to form every little bread ball stuffed with chocolate BY HAND and you also have to make caramel and it is an ORDEAL. But it is also delicious and totally worth it and sometimes I bake with Nadiya’s season playing on Netflix on my laptop in our kitchen, and it’s soothing as hell.
What I would recommend trying out:
- Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Monkey Bread from Taste of Home
- Faloodeh, a Persian ice cream dish made with vermicelli noodles, which is unusual but DELICIOUS, from Bastani Tehrani
- Nadiya’s Orange Blossom and Rosemary Polenta Cake with Thyme and Orange Syrup from the BBC; this sounds super ambitious, but fuck it, I’mma try
The cool thing about never having had a swimsuit body is I have nothing to maintain! I can just shove pasta in my face all summer long! And, uh, yeah, I essentially do that. In autumn and winter I usually make my own pasta sauce with tomatoes, capers, olives, artichokes, and peppers, but that’s a bit too heavy for the summer, when I swap out straightforward pasta recipes for noodle-bowl hybrids. (I’m sorry. I am that basic.) Noodle bowls work for me because I love pickled vegetables, herbs, and Asian flavors, and you can usually throw together a dish like this with whatever produce you have in your fridge, some Sriracha and peanut butter, and a protein. Please get out of my way, I have to shove all of this in my face.
What I usually gorge on:
Give me chips, give me salsa, give me an afternoon of TV binging and movie rentals. It is really that simple. And I like making my own salsa so I can control the heat level, which I usually prefer to be HOT AS FUCK. Be warned.
What I’m dipping into:
- Alton Brown’s Homemade Guacamole Recipe from the Food Network (I know this isn’t salsa, but this recipe is delicious, and I WANT TO SHARE IT WITH YOU)
- Roasted Tomato Salsa from Once Upon a Chef
- Roasted Pineapple Salsa from TheKitchn
- Tomatillo Salsa Verde from Bon Appétit; I make some changes to this, including a 2:1 ratio of tomatillos to jalapeños, way more cilantro, some roasted garlic cloves, lots of cumin and ancho chili pepper, some squeezes of honey or agave, and very finely diced red onion soaked in lime juice
Are there any dishes, snacks, or drinks that are your favorites this summer? Any family classics you’ve been whipping up for barbecues or vacations? Any recipes you would recommend we try? Any kitchen disasters you can laugh about now? Meet me in the comments!
[Header image of Nadiya Hussain and BREAD courtesy of Getty]