When I Think About Summer…

by Sarah on June 28, 2010 · 2 comments

When I think about summer, I think about…

Fresh Fruit!

At breakfast…
For dessert…
Or any time in between. :)

Speaking of fresh fruit…to me, summer means MELON!*
*Seriously. Last summer, I went on a self-imposed “Melon Mystery Tour” where I would buy two or three odd or interesting melons each week and determine the subtle differences among them. My favorite is still the Juan Canary I think, but I’m considering undergoing yet another leg of the tour this summer.
I was once told that to pick out a wondrous watermelon, you should look for that big yellowish spot, which is an indicator that it was allowed to ripen on the ground. Also, the “do you sound hollow when I rap my knuckles against your skin?” test is a good one, but not foolproof. Smaller equals sweeter, and if you shake the melon (any melon) and can hear juice/water sloshing around, it’s overripe, and you should move on (unless you want to make an agua fresca). Anything that isn’t a watermelon generally feels a little ‘weighty’ in your hand, and ‘gives a little’ at the stem end, or even all around. [Feel free to sing the Goo Goo Dolls "Give a Little Bit [of your love to me]” while testing, but you might receive strange looks from surrounding customers. I, however, am used to that by now.] If it is too squishy, just say no.

I think Forrest Gump was wrong when he said that life is like a box of chocolates. He should have said, “Life is like a summer melon,” because despite the tricks and techniques for selection, you really never know what you are going to get when you slice it down the middle. [Also, boxes of chocolates tend to have fancy diagrams with labels of the fillings...so often times you do know what you're "gonna get." I'm just saying.] Luckily for me, I received sweet, succulent, melon-y goodness [and at only $1.49, $1.50, and 99 cents for the watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe, respectively]!
When I think about summer, I think about…

Flip-Flops! (and sundresses…)
Ice Cream!
(or other frozen treats of the frozen yogurt/popsicle/soy cream variety)
I wish I had an “in the bowl” picture for you…but, just like my nut butter, I eat this straight from its container. It’s one of the perks of cooking/shopping/eating for one: the only germs to worry about are your own. :)

Sweet Summer Sangria
(or sweet, possibly sparkling, summer wine)

Kathleen, you were a genius in this concoction’s creation…

When I think about summer, I think about…

An Overabundance of Produce!
(leading to an overabundance of salad….not that there is such a thing, really)
This particular salad is chopped Romaine, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, Wickles Relish (I know, obsessed), carrots, and herbed feta.

Summer means outdoor parties with new friends
…and care packages* from your oldest friends!

*[Cue radio announcer] Care Packages: Brightening up the Summer Camp Experience Since 1927. (Or in my case, the moving experience…)
Not only is Liz one of the only people I know who still writes meaningful handwritten cards and letters…
…she knows just what to send me to make my heart flutter. :)

Oh, thank Heaven for Trader Joe’s!
Now I can stop rationing my TJs Sunflower Seed Butter consumption to a teaspoon per day!
The Pacific almond milk quickly bonded with my two Trader Joe’s milk-subs that I had brought from Virginia. They are resting in the pantry, awaiting marching orders.

And finally, when I think about summer, I think about…

BURGERS [and fries]
(and anything else from the grill)*

*I loved how in college, you could tell summer was approaching because as soon as the weather grew warmer, you could set your watch by the way the smells of grilled meat would waft through grounds from the frat houses, starting promptly at 6:00 every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening.

—Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold the gosh darn phone. Sarah, you must have spent a little too long breathing in the air at an outdoor summer music festival, because some intoxicating substance must have invaded your senses if you think I’m going to believe that is a hamburger and french fries on your plate.
–Fine, it’s a Tempeh “Burger” and Summer Squash & Zucchini “Fries”
–Weird, yes, but at least you’re being honest now.

I took some Westsoy Five Grain Tempeh that I had picked up at Wheatsville, and cut it first into thirds (which is the given portion size), and then sliced that down the middle (so you feel like you are eating more).

Hardest package to get into ever. You’d think that this tempeh was the Hope Diamond or something. It isn’t that good.

Then I covered the tempeh slices in Worcestershire and grill seasoning (this is Montreal Chicken seasoning).
Then I broke out my cast iron grill pan (despite the fact that I am now a grilling goddess, I decided to save time and energy, but not any propane/gas, by “grilling” on the stove), let it heat up over high heat for about 5-10 minutes, and then put on my fauxburgers. Pre-heating the pan is the key to grill marks!
To make the “fries,” I julienned (or what I called julienning…I have no formal knife training) half a zucchini and half of a summer squash, then sprayed them with cooking spray and sprinkled on black pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Those were roasted/baked for about 15 minutes in 400 degree oven.
[Note: They do not crisp up like fries, but you can pick them up and dip them into BBQ sauce or your personal favorite condiment....as long as you make sure each one has some skin on it. I always forget this and end up with soft, middle strips that are still delicious, but difficult to eat with your fingers.]
Did the tempeh smell like a burger while it was cooking? Incredibly so.

Did the tempeh look like a burger when it was finished? Well, it did have some pretty sweet grill marks!

Did the tempeh taste like a burger when you ate it? No, not particularly. But it was good. Maybe with a little extra seasoning or Worcestershire.

But I eat burgers for the condiments anyway.

What do you think of when you think of summer?
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

shesgoingthedistance June 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I loooove summer :) Have you tried the Tuscan Melon?!?! Holy YUM that's prob my favorite by far!!!! Esp. with a little prosciutto wrapped around it :)

I love baseball day games and road trips and the BEACH over the summer. This really is my favorite time of year :)

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thehungryscholar June 28, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I think beer and pizza outside. I do it indoor all year, haha.

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