Before I give you a taste of my summer kitchen, I want to thank you for your comments on my last post. It was reassuring to read how many of you understand, have empathy, feel the same and know exactly what I was trying to say. To those who felt the need to criticize, preach and even lecture me, thus adding insult to injury, I can only say, please move on.
So, on to something that many of us spent a lot of time and care with during the summer of our pandemic: food. Have you noticed how often we made a trip to the refrigerator during the shelter-in-place? Even when we were able to move around more, food still remained one of the main attractions and a highlight of each day.
Summer of course asks for lighter food. Fresh produce is readily available at farmers markets and even with a mask and social distance shopping in fresh air is a joy. Here in Sonoma County we are blessed and spoiled with the wonderful offerings of our local farmers. There is more than tasty organic produce - there are eggs from chicken spending their life in a pasture, bread baked with ancient grains, fresh seafood and the most delicious salmon/seaweed spread I ever had.
Summer is the perfect time for trying food from the Middle East like Chicken Shawarma, one of our favorites. It is easy to make since you prepare the marinade the day before and let the chicken marinate in it overnight. Your refrigerator will smell of cumin and garlic and a blast of it will reach your nostrils every time you open it - and make you very hungry. I usually make it in the oven and serve it on flatbread with lettuce, tomatoes and a spicy yogurt sauce. It is delicious.
We finally asked a couple we're friends with over for a social distanced early dinner on the patio. We had set up two tables apart from each other, but still close enough that we didn't have to yell! They brought wine and appetizer and I served meatballs in a chilli sauce with focaccia I had baked in the afternoon and a salad. It was a simple meal, but just the right thing for this lovely summer evening. Even more important than the food was the conversation and the laughter - we laughed hard and often!