I have something to say about summer and it’s not entirely what you might think. Sure, I love summer because of my month-long vacation where I get to sleep in and run errands in the middle of the day and finally write to my heart’s content. But it’s mostly because of the foods. There are things that The Cuban cooks year-round and they’re not really “special” unless he does something different to a dish to change it up. Naturally, there are foods that are only out in the summertime like watermelon which we covet and treat like a delicacy. Other foods, like corn on the cob and tomatoes are found at our grocery store all year round but they’re not nearly as delicious as when we get them in the summer months. There’s nothing worse than a weakly colored, faded red tomato in the middle of January. By the time June gets here the bright, rosy tomatoes are available at our local farmer’s market and we eat them immediately after purchasing them.
Of all the summer foods I like there are about 5 of them that I eat so much that someone should hold an intervention for me. Not all of them are bad for me, though! I feel the need to protest that much of what I eat is fairly healthy. Here are my all time favorites for summer noshing:
1. Summer Pizza – A few years ago we started buying Heirloom tomatoes and making tomato pies with them but our dough was too thick so we took to slicing them and placing fresh slices atop our cooked pizzas. Then, we started adding fresh basil on top, too. Next, we drizzled truffle oil on it once it was out of the oven. Basically, we were cooking the pizza crust with some freshly prepared sauce and then adding our ingredients after it was done.
2. Mozzarella Sandwiches – I started eating these several years ago when we didn’t have any meat in the refrigerator. I’m not sure why I think that every sandwich has to have meat. Maybe it’s the way I grew up. But, this sandwich combines my love of bread with my love of Caprese salad. The first time I tried it I decided to make a Caprese salad instead but then realized we had some delicious artisan bread as well so I slapped it all together to make this treat. My record is eating them every day for lunch for 3 solid weeks. I’m probably going to break that record this coming summer.
3. Anything Goes Smoothie – We have so much fruit and yogurt in the house that this is a no-brainer for us in the summer. The reason they like it so much is because I never measure when I’m cooking so I always make too much and there’s leftovers for them. Yogurt tends to be of the plain variety and we also add 100% fruit juice to make it thinner. We put it all in there: bananas, strawberries, oranges, raspberries, and even some shredded coconut once. If we have it, they’re up for grabs and everyone is adept at using the blender. Not everyone is so quick to clean it, though. No fruit for you! if you can’t clean up after yourself.
4. Pasta Salad – This one is such a summer staple because of the ingredients. Everything is always in our cabinets and in our refrigerator. This is a fun one to make because The Cuban shouts things like, “Hey! We have olives!” and then tosses them into the salad. Vegetables, pasta, and oils are the basis of any pasta salad and, like smoothies, you can’t add too many ingredients to this.
5. Hearty Grilled Beef Hamburgers – Summertime grilling was made for burgers and we’re no exception to falling prey to the wooing of the charcoal grill. Even though The Cuban has been known to grill in the dead of winter, we find ourselves eating the hamburgers in a different way when it’s sunny out and fresh vegetables are available to us. The way we like them is with a hearty, whole-grain bun and loads of grilled or raw veggies on top. He’s more likely to add cheese halfway through cooking in order to melt it because he’ll stay outside longer to clean it up. There’s nothing like grilled burgers in the summer, though, and when our neighbors smell it they’re likely to fire up their grills, too.
Summer Pizza! 1 of 5
Mozzarella Sandwiches 2 of 5There's something about summer that makes me eat cheese with abandon. Some good, hearty artisan bread with a huge slab of mozzarella, a drizzle of olive oil, and basil make me feel like I'm eating a Salad Caprese but WITH the chewy bread. I can't get enough of this sandwich.
Make a mozzarella sandwich
Photo credit: Muy Yum/Flickr
Anything Goes Smoothie 3 of 5
Pasta Salads 4 of 5Like summer smoothies, there's no way to mess up a summer salad. Grab some noodle, fresh tomatoes, feta, basil, snow peas...whatever you want. Drizzle with your favorite oil and a splash of truffle oil to add a new flavor. My kids add fresh parmesan as well.
Make pasta salad
Photo credit: Muy Yum/Flickr
Hearty Burgers 5 of 5
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