Thursday, August 5, 2010

Summer Food

I think I have an evolutionary kink: I tend to get bigger in the summer and wither away in winter. It's mostly muscle, since summer brings out the running, biking, swimmy kid in me, but it's also the food. It tastes better in summer, no? Here are a few recipes I've been loving.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Image and recipe courtesy of Heart of Light

I got the recipe here, but I also had the expert help of The Boy's Sister, aka my sister outlaw. This recipe is great. The lemon is more of a custard than a gel and the meringue proportions are perfect. We followed it, for the most part, although we were very heavy handed with the lemon juice. I recommend using fresh lemon juice and zest, it really makes all the difference. I also got the crusts from Trader Joe's and something made them shrink so instead of a crust it was more like a thick, doughy bottom layer. I don't know what made it do that but it was awesome.

Blueberry Ice Cream

Image and recipe courtesy of SFGirlByBay

I got this recipe here and since I don't have an ice cream maker, I followed the link to learn How To Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker. I'm attempting to make strawberry ice cream using roughly the same recipe now and I'll let you know how it turns out.

Risotto with chicken sausage and scapes
I don't have a picture. We ate it too fast.
This is an original recipe that I was super nervous about. This incident left me a little gun-shy in the kitchen, so I was worried about attempting something as complicated as risotto. But, it turns out, risotto isn't as difficult as it is labor intensive.

6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup old, flat champagne (this is a great way to use up leftover champagne*)**
1/4 cup diced shallots or onions
2 cups risotto rice (I like Della Arborio)
2-3 garlic scapes
3 pieces chicken sausage (I chose spinach and garlic and it was a friggin delight)
A lot of parmesan cheese (I didn't measure. It's a matter of taste, but I recommend a lot if you want that creamy texture)
2-4 tablespoons olive oil or butter

Large, deep saucepan
Large pot for stock
Wooden spoon for stirring (better than metal)
Serving dish (you'll want to remove the rice from the dish when you're done to prevent overcooking)

Heat the stock, set aside and keep warm. In a large saucepan, saute the shallots in the olive oil over medium-high heat until they're soft but not browned. Add the rice and salt and pepper to taste. Stir the rice and shallots constantly for 1-2 minutes, being sure to avoid browning or bursting the kernels. Add the wine and then the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Wait until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. While the liquid is being absorbed stir frequently but not constantly. You want to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom, but you don't want to break the kernels by over-stirring. Adjust heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Continue cooking and stirring until 6-7 cups of stock is absorbed. You can add the scapes anytime during this process, depending on how flavorful and crispy you want them. I like them barely cooked, so I added them with the sausage. After adding the last of the stock but before it's fully absorbed, add the sausage. Finish cooking. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2-3/4 cup parmesan and a little olive oil before transferring to the serving dish.

So, that's what I'm eating. I'm also going through a hell of a lot of watermelon, cucumbers and string beans from the garden and fried green tomatoes. Goddamn, I love summer.

*There is no such thing as "leftover" champagne in our house, but apparently some households are able to resist finishing the bottle.
**Most recipes recommend white wine, but I found the champagne added a delicate, light flavor without that tang that cooking with wine can bring.


  1. omg. i'm CRAVING a good lemon meringue pie. i haven't had one for about 30 yrs. and I'm seriously jonesing. i've 3 recipes, with all the ingred. for each one, and i think i'm going to scrap them all and do what I do best --- make up my own damn recipe. it's SO weird that you chose this time to make one. what recipe did you use, darling?

  2. That pie was awesome. It was more than awesome. I think we need to repeat, but with key lime sometime soon. After all, winter is coming. You wouldn't want scuuurvy.