Summer cooking

Small purple eggplants

In summer, especially on days when the temperature barely goes below 80 at night, I think that cooking should involve as little heat generation as possible.  Even boiling water for pasta seems like too much!  But you can only live on black bean and corn salsa for so long.  😉  I have a few couscous recipes that I need to pull out, and I think that tofu salad will be on the menu soon.

It seems like I’ve been eating a version of ratatouille every week for the last month or so.  I’ve made it with canned tomatoes and, several times, without any zucchini since I’ve had terrible luck growing it.

The fabulous thing about traditional recipes like ratatouille is that they were created to use what was on hand and in season at the time.  I can pick a few tomatoes and some little eggplants and a pepper and then top it off with some fresh basil.

The basil has really been going to town in this heat as long as I keep it watered and snip off the buds before it flowers.  Someone at work was giving away a little basil last week, so I took home what was left at the end of the day and finally got around to making some pesto.

Now, pesto’s great, but there are other delicious things that I’d like to do with my basil (like this and this), so I’m always reluctant to commit so much of it to a batch of pesto.  Turns out, I should really worry just as much about having enough garlic as basil (since a full recipe calls for 1/4 cup)!

Anyway, I ended up using about half basil and half oregano (which tastes good, but has a slightly rougher texture), and now I’ve got a pint of pesto in the freezer.

Pesto’s another example an old recipe that uses seasonal ingredients.  By chance, I had harvested my little crop of garlic the night before I ended up making the pesto, so I was all set.  🙂

What summer favorites have you been cooking up?  Share your ideas below or search for some new ideas in the “Cool and Delicious” category.

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