Summer

tomatogratin.jpgWhile looking for recipes for this week I kept getting drawn back to old cookbook from the 50s and 60s that I have in my collection. It seemed that baked and broiled tomatoes were all the rage but thinking of putting a beautiful heirloom into the oven and baking it until soft and mushy seemed to border on blasphemy. Oh no!

At the same time I cannot count the number of tomatoes I've eaten raw since June. I needed something different, something that was hearty enough to be a side or main dish.

This recipe, a tomato and zucchini gratin, seems to be the most basic thing ever. In fact, I made it from a conversation with Adam who actually created the same dish a few weeks ago during a packaging shoot. And it's right up my alley — a few ingredients, cheese, substantial enough to be an easy supper, and cheese. Did I say that already?

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mintpeasPeas with mint bring back so many fond memories of my travels in England. No matter where I went I always found peas with mint or mushy peas on every menu. A side of peas was always an accompaniment to fish and chips or roast beef. My love for peas as well as English food grew infinitely during my time there. It's funny, because as a kid I despised peas. Luckily as I grew older my tastes matured and now peas are one of my favorites.

Once again I'm growing peas this summer. Peas are so easy to grow. You just start from seed and watch them climb up a fence. There's really no maintenance involved. I have two varieties: shelling peas and sugar snap peas, which can be eaten whole—pod and all. After picking six quarts of peas, I know I've got a lot of cooking to do to use up my haul. Some of my favorite recipes for peas include this creamy soup and this sugar snap pea stir-fry.

I love to serve a vegetable sauté with dinner, because it's quick and easy to prepare. With only five ingredients, this side dish of peas is perfect. Mint is a traditional herb with peas because it adds a fresh flavor. Don't be afraid to use it—a little goes a long way.

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bluegrass-zucchini-muffins-019b-1024x682A pleasant, bright fragrance wafted from the work bowl of my food processor as I pulled the top off. I had just whirled granulated sugar and chopped lemongrass through the sharp blade of my faithful workhorse, producing a delicately-scented lemon-infused sugar.

I was preparing to mix up a batch of zucchini muffins with subtle hints of lemon without the tart bite and plump, sweet blueberries.

I have lemongrass growing in my little garden this year. Lemongrass is a staple of Asian cuisines, used like an herb to add aromatic, lemony flavor without the bite of citrus. It looks like grass, but the portion closest to the soil eventually becomes long, thick, pale green and reed-like. This lower portion is the usable part of the plant.

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