A Week of Dinners // Late Summer
During the summer, I have a few main goals for making dinner:
1. Don't think too much about it.
Summer days are so long and bright and full, I don't want to spend any more time in the kitchen than I need to. I fall back on simple preparations and seasonings of whole foods: a lot of salt and pepper, some olive oil, a sprinkle of herbs. Grill some meat and veggies, butter some bread, slice some fruit, and call it good.
2. Celebrate the glorious market produce.
Fresh fruits and veggies in their seasons don't need much handling to be delicious. I am currently trying to inhale as much fresh corn on the cob, peaches, and tomatoes that I possibly can. I want to be completely sick of peaches by the time the season ends (I have never succeeded at this).
3. Plan one fun weekend meal to spend time on with my husband.
In recent years, Chad and I have developed a love for cooking together. Anyone who has come to our house for dinner knows that it's usually a greasy, smoky, dishes-in-the-sink affair. We like to go all out every now and then. Keeping weeknight dinners easy and getting takeout once a week helps us have energy for this on the weekend. It's honestly a passion of ours--one of those things that makes life worth living.
4. Make sure every person has something on the table that they'll eat.
Years of having three kids and reading pep talks from Jenny Rosenstrach have taught me that dinner is not just a time for me to experiment and make whatever I want. While I don't cater to what the pickiest eater at the table will eat, I do try to be mindful of him or her and provide something they will be glad to eat. We do, after all, need to be fed and nourished at dinnertime.
I go in and out of this framework when preparing meals--some weeks I am rolling with an inspiring list of meals to make, and other weeks I am worn dry and just trying to get something edible on the table. Ebbs and flows are natural; I just try to not fluctuate too much. I've found it to be a valuable tool to record meals that go well at our table during every season. Here's an example of a particularly good week of summer dinners that were ultimately eaten and enjoyed by my family of five:
Puffy oven pancake (made with GF flour)
Fresh peaches with whipped cream (heavy whipping cream + splash of vanilla + splash of maple syrup beaten in the mixer until soft peaks form)
Grilled ribeye steak
Chimichurri (handful parsley + handful cilantro + garlic + olive oil + red wine vinegar + salt and pepper blended into a sauce)
Boiled potatoes (crisped up in a pan of oil)
Corn on the cob
Blueberry pancakes (this recipe + fold in blueberries)
Sliced chicken sausage
Butter pasta (GF spaghetti made with corn and rice)
Bowl of berries
Market salad (red wine vinegar + smashed garlic clove + add salt until taste is balanced, then add equal part olive oil)
Chicken thighs (olive oil + salt and pepper, baked at 400° for 40 minutes)
Bread and butter
SUNDAY - Special Meal
Molly Yeh's pastrami sandwiches (Oh my gosh, to die for, worth all the effort, give me more)
Homemade pickles (Adjusted recipe coming soon, because OMG so good)