Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Cooking Short-cut

Spoons not required.

You certainly know there are plenty of things I love about summer (see last post)!

But last week, as I contemplated standing over the stove, hot steam billowing in my sweaty face, I grumbled, “It’s too hot to cook.”

I know some of you love summer cooking. Your basting brush and grill tools beckon you outside. With the grill as your canvas and a side of beef as your medium, you create a fire-roasted masterpiece, which you will photograph and post on facebook.

But I’m no grill wizard. I used to think when the flames died down the burgers were done. Doneness was confirmed by the blackened edges of the burgers. Doesn’t Burger King flame broil their burgers? How come theirs don’t look like hockey pucks? I have only recently graduated to grilling hamburgers with an edible result.

Others of you have carefully tended a beautiful, weedless, chemical-free garden. Your knowledge and perseverance have yielded organic vegetables of every hue and variety. Bursting with flavor and color, your red tomatoes, orange peppers, yellow squash, and green beans grace your vegetable steamer. That power packed rainbow of chopped vegetables fuels your family with the all the vitamins and nutrients of an entire bottle of Flintstone Chewables!

Alas, my green thumb is nearly as pitiful as my skill at the grill. Now, if there were a market for crab grass, then I’d have something to write home about!! But my “Fourth of July Tomatoes” are still small and green though it is August. And despite daily watering the orange peppers have yet to bloom, the yellow squash never sprouted, and even the hearty Zucchini plant was broken off by the wind.

So, after assessing the heat index, my capacity for grilling, the state of my vegetable garden, and the fact that all three boys must be coerced or bribed to eat vegetables, I took a little short cut.

I served ice-cream for lunch.

Three big scoops for everyone, including me.

The only steam billowing in my face was the cool blast from the freezer as I shut its door. There were no burnt edges or flames and no one had to be coerced or bribed to finish their lunch. I even healthy-ed it up with a generous garnish of sliced banana.

The best part was that I didn’t even feel guilty. Instead, I congratulated myself on that little time-saving, energy-conserving, peace-keeping stroke of genius.

And I heartily recommend it to anyone who needs a little break from the heat of summer cooking.

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