Summer

vegsoupI’d flown to New York for too short a time and then extended my stay because I had too many things to do and then flew home. Crowded/full flights both ways, a little delay, and by the time I reached L.A., I was flat on my back. Jet lag. No. Fever.

And for me a completely curious thing - since I think the cure for the stomach flu is a chili dog or a hamburger please with French fries - absolutely no appetite. None. I was nervous about that.

I didn’t eat anything for two days – don’t discuss my metabolism, two hours is a long time for me.

But by the third day, I still didn’t feel like I could eat anything.

Unaccustomed to any processed food, maybe blame it on the “cheese plate” if you can call it that that comes packaged on the plane if they put enough on and you can in fact purchase one, I felt only the freshest thing would do. Not even chicken soup. (I have a theory by the way that chicken soup is not a curative but quite the opposite, but that’s another story.)

All I wanted was some kind of broth, no, something slightly more substantial. Home-made vegetable soup. The easiest thing in the world.

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blueberrycornicecreamI think I've hit the ice cream jackpot...I can't tell you how fantastic this is, as weird as it might sound. However, it never sounded weird to me. I mean there is nothing new about sweet corn ice cream, I just wanted blueberry in it. Have you ever had a sweet corn and blueberry salad? It's amazing, just as I knew this ice cream would be. First of all, the ice cream turns this beautiful lavender color and is flecked with pieces of frozen corn and sweet blueberries. It's almost savory-sweet but it's not. In fact it's the perfect amount of sweetness. I want you all to try it so badly.

I have to say, I started making this ice cream at 10PM (in my favorite ice cream maker), it seems to be the only time these days when I have cooking availability. For some crazy reason (oh yeah, it's summer), my boys were still awake. They asked what type of ice cream I was making, I purposefully told them "corn" ice cream, just to see their reaction. You should have seen the horror in their faces. Corn! They couldn't believe it. I love scaring them.

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Image What's this I see? Kids fighting over vegetables? Yes, it's true.

This past Saturday at the Little Italy Mercato in San Diego, two little boys were tussling over cucumbers. Well, not just any cucumbers, Armenian cucumbers, otherwise known as "snake cucumbers" and "snake melons."

"I wanted that one!" said the freckled blonde, stomping his right foot on the ground.

"Well, it's mine!" said the dark-haired one, fiercely, as he handed a curly, striped cucumber as tall as he was to his mother and asked: "Can I have this?"

I sighed. Ahhh! There is nothing so touching as seeing children fight over fresh farmers' market vegetables.

If you've seen an Armenian cucumber, then you understand why they're so alluring.  Though a variety of melon, an Armenian cucumber looks and tastes like a regular cucumber, but can grown up to three feet long!

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watermelongrilled.jpgI figure I’ve eaten about 20 pounds of watermelon this summer. Fortunately, it’s 92% water and 0% fat, so my clothes still fit fine.

Even as a kid, I ate a lot of watermelon. Everyone in my family did. I can remember my Dad, his face beet-red from the heat, coming through our back door beaming as he was carrying a colossal watermelon. He always did the same thing: set it down on the kitchen counter and proudly announced its weight – 19 and 1/2 pounds! 23 pounds! Like his lobsta, the bigger it was, the better he liked it.

My brother Chris was always the one to cut the watermelon (seeing as none of the rest of us had his patience). With skills of a surgeon, he extracted every last seed while keeping the melon’s flesh intact. Come to think of it, I don't remember ever seeing seedless watermelons when I was a kid. Did they exist back then?

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peachcobblerThis is a fantastic recipe that makes great use of fresh summer peaches. Cobbler is a classic summer dessert and just about as American as Apple Pie. The clever folks at Cook’s Country have mastered a method that prevents the cobbler from sitting in too much liquid.

Traditional cobblers are usually made with a biscuit-like topping and can be made with almost any fruit, although peaches are my favorite. I usually make biscuits with buttermilk or heavy cream, but the yogurt really works well here.

Top the warm cobbler with some vanilla ice cream and enjoy.

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