"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In a Summer Kitchen

When I first came across the concept of 'eating with the seasons," I was fascinated. But confused. As the years go by, though, it makes more and more sense. Living in the Midwest, without air conditioning or very good heating, even, for 4 years has taught me a lot about it. More than I ever learned from a book, anyway. A summer kitchen is very, very different from a winter kitchen. Or at least, it is in my house.

Late spring/ early summer, in addition to late fall, makes living in Kansas worth it. The heat and humidity have not yet grown blistering and suffocating, but there’s not a bit of chill in the air. There’s a whole new set of rules in the kitchen. Mostly they revolve around being in there as little as possible! A few posts back I promised recipes which, with the final *real* change in weather, I realized today may not be made again till late October.

A winter day might see us camped out in the kitchen, simmering a soup all day and making bread or muffins by the score, reading books at the table over endless cups of hot tea- punctuated by mugs of ‘raw’ hot cocoa. Casseroles, soups, hot foods of all sorts, maybe a sugarless apple pie with cashew cream to boot.

But in a summer kitchen? No way. A summer kitchen looks like this
And this.

Hot meals don’t happen very often! (But Monday is still pasta night and Tuesday lunch is still “pizza.”) We still serve summer meals beautifully. A simple meal still needs a beautiful presentation. Shoot, pb&j with carrots on the best china is a typical July set-up around here!

Snacks are very important when the weather gets warm. We are outdoors hours out of every day and kids get HUNGRY in the sun. So here is a week’s worth of summer snacks guaranteed to keep up with sprinklers, star-gazing, nature walking, and general back yard capering.

Big kettle of popcorn popped on the stove in coconut oil and sea salt:

GORP (Good Old-Fashioned Raisins and Peanuts):
Pretty self-explanatory!

Orange flowers- a favorite around here:

Yogurt sundaes:
Also self-explanatory, but if you just have to know what all is on that coconut yogurt… walnuts, blueberries, hemp seeds, flax, chia seeds, and a drizzle of raw honey.

Nuts in a bowl. Ya, really exciting:

Rice cakes with peanut butter or hummus, decorated with raisins:

Endless bananas. Really. We go through 10 lbs per week. Thursdays you can get bananas 18 cents a pound here.

And the “duh” snack,
more fresh fruits and vegetable just waiting to be snuck and scarfed directly from the fridge.

Ok, that's our week in snacks. Very different from our week in snacks in say, Late January. You'll just have to come back later for all those oven-ish goody recipes!

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
~Margaret Atwood

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