Sunday, August 22, 2010

Goodbye Summer & Picnics at the Quarry

Tomorrow  the semester starts and summer ends.

While I really excited to get back in the classroom with my students, I'm a little sad too. It means I'm going to have a lot less time to cook.

One of my favorite summer activities has been going to the Portage Quarry with our friends N & I. They are as food obsessed as me.

So really, while swimming was totally fun, what was even more fun were our picnics. All of us brought A game to every meal. We're talking spreads that would shame wedding buffets. And what a better way to use up all that fresh produce that was overtaking our refrigerators' crisper drawers?

Also, what picnic days taught me was how to think outside the box of what was picnic food, and they forced me to experiment more with grains, chilled salads, and sides, most of which could easily become main dishes.

I had a blast spending the whole day before our outings scouring through online and magazine and cookbook recipes, creating various flavor simple syrups, testing adult lemonades, finding plastic containers with tight fitting lids, and cooking.

Thanks to our picnics I've learned to love lentils even more, and I feel much closer to N & I (and our friend J who joined us once too!), who were rad to begin with but who are even more rad after I got a chance to chill, swim, and eat with them.

As homage to the last of our picnic days (and summer, in general), here are photos from our summer of good eating, good swimming, and good friends.

Homemade grape leaves, homemade hummus, egg salad, chicken salad, coleslaw with beets, beet salad, etc.
N & I made their own pickles. True love at first bite.
A lot of our produce came from the community garden and farmers markets.
N's baking is divine. This is her cupcake with mint (or basil?) frosting. It's hard to remember everything...
Lentil wraps, fried chicken, bbq chicken & tofu, pasta salad, kale salad, roasted potatoes, peach crisp, etc.
Green bean and cherry tomato salad with onion--produce from my friend Sarah's garden.

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