Tag Archives: summer

Seasonal Spotlight: Tomatoes

Call me basic, but I love a good late summer tomato. Cutting into it, the dark flesh bursting with flavor. Sprinkling some salt and pepper and eating while standing up in the kitchen, juice running down my chin and onto…ok maybe not juice running down my chin etc (I’ll save that for the NSFW version of this post 😏). 

One of my heirloom tomato plants

The rule of thumb for these tomatoes is to not do much with them beyond the slicing and seasoning. Of course if unable to consume as they ripen, turning into a sauce and freezing for the long dark is highly recommended.

During one of our camping trips I made a fantastic salad with some heirloom tomatoes. Super simple: Tomato slices, cantaloupe wedges, cucumber slices and torn fresh mozzarella. Everything drizzled in pesto. This came from a cookbook called The Campout Cookbook by Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson. I highly recommend this for glampers and gourmands. Great recipes for home cooking as well as camping! Some of the preparations I find a little too fussy for camping, but they have a lot of tips on prep that you can do at home so you don’t have to do too much at camp (when there is the real possibility that you will be too far into the Rosé to competently prepare a meal).

While the salad featured the tomato in its purest form, if you are interested in cooking it a bit more this risotto recipe is perfect. You grate some of the tomato and mix it with the risotto before you start adding the stock, so it ends up cooking with the risotto and infusing it with flavor. Then you add chopped tomatoes at the end with fresh basil and parmesan cheese. It is a true celebration of summer produce.

This year, my tomato plants produced just the right amount of fruit for salads and occasional tomato-centric dishes, but in past years, I have had an overabundance. When that happens, I always roast some up in a 325 degree oven for 45 -90 mins and with garlic and maybe some onion, extra virgin olive oil, s&p and freeze in jars for the cold winter months. It is probably for the best that I do not have that kind of yield this year because, in our current place, we have a counter depth fridge with limited freezer space and finding room for anything among all the bags of chicken bones and Parmesan rinds and half baguettes is…a…thing.

Summer is definitely winding down and though we are currently encased in a vile smoke layer, I hope to get outside later this week when things clear and harvest the last of the tomatoes. It will be bittersweet, because options for really great tomatoes are limited Fall through Spring. I will continue to enjoy them in their late summer glory though and plan for my garden next year (and my future chest freezer which I will fill with sauces and stocks).

A caprese because, gotta include a classic

Good eating, friends!

~ Hungry Ginger

A Sweet Summery Reminder

I don’t know if you remember, but a couple years back, Icebox cakes were the thing. From Food and Wine to Redbook, dessert lovers and mommy bloggers extolled the virtues of these no-bake sweet treats. I never really got on the bandwagon, being more of a savory gal myself, but lately, after cutting back on my alcohol consumption, I find myself leaning more into the sweet side of things. Oh, and I got my first cavity. Funny how that works…

Earlier in the summer I made this Banana icebox cake and it turned out fiiiinee. It may be because I am not a huge fan of bananas or Nilla wafers, but I didn’t love it. I didn’t feel guilty eating it though (there’s fruit!) and it seems like something that can be easily modified to taste. Chocolate cookies, strawberries and jam instead of banana. The possibilities are endless!

Banana Icebox

Camping and other summer excursions got in the way of further experimentation until recently, when I discovered Nigella Lawson’s Meringue Gelato Cake with Chocolate Sauce.  It languished on my Trello board for about a month before I got around to making it a few weeks ago. The Summer heat (and smoke, thank god!) had dissipated so the recipe didn’t feel as necessary as it had been just a few weeks earlier but, boy was it a treat! It had the consistency of very fluffy ice cream, flecked with barely sweet chocolate and covered in a drizzle of boozy chocolate sauce. The store-bought meringue cookies (I ordered these on Amazon because they don’t seem to be a common item in local grocery stores), crushed up and combined with whipped cream, provided and very airy consistency and I felt like I was eating a barely sweetened cloud, studded with crunchy chocolaty bits. That by itself would have been just grand, but blanketed in a lovely warm chocolate sauce spiked with dark rum and Kahlua…heaven! I highly recommend this dessert any time of year and, at the tail end of summer on a cool Friday evening, it was perfection; a reminder of summer warmth and and a hint of cozy Fall days ahead.

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