Monday, 25 July 2011 | 3 comments

Grilled watermelon & scallop ceviche

When I was 18, I arrived late at night in Lima, Peru, and was whisked off to the house of a family friend with whom I’d be staying. I watched Lima—a city that’s a sensory overload of dirty streets, tropical flowers, political propaganda, colonial palaces, street food vendors, and stray dogs—go by through the open window of the cab and smelled, above all of that, the briny Pacific. When we reached the house, my hostess sat me down at the kitchen table. I had never heard of ceviche before, but as a bowl was placed in front of me, that same ocean-salted tang wafted up. Whatever was in that bowl, it was scented like the sea.
The trip to Peru shaped me in a lot of ways—it was my first time traveling solo internationally, my first exposure to global health and development work, and in my head, I still equate ceviche with dusty adventure and fierce independence. I’ve loved it since. That first Peruvian ceviche was made with a delicately flaked white fish, but Gabi’s version with scallops and watermelon has been on my radar for awhile now. Worrying that the watermelon flavor might be too overpowering, she uses just the palest pink-white part of the watermelon, closest to the rind, in her ceviche. I was not trying to have a lot of leftover watermelon, though, and needed another way to mellow out the flavor. » Click to read more

Tuesday, 19 July 2011 | 46 comments

Zucchini fritters

I know, I know: enough with the squash already, woman! My only response is to humbly ask that you remind me, next year, in the event that my gentleman friend and I plant separate gardens again, to not both plant summer squash. On paper, in my garden notebook, it seemed a great idea to proudly only include native, heirloom varieties in my own garden, turning my nose up at the plain ol’ crooknecks Ben was planting. Now it’s summer, and I’ve got a changed heart and an armful of squash.

So! More squash.
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Tuesday, 12 July 2011 | 5 comments

Summer squash & basil frittata

I grew up in the kind of family who knew that, come summer, you better have an arsenal of recipes at hand for using up squash. Louise and I were packed off for a few weeks each year to my grandma and grandpa’s farm in Indiana, and I have vivid memories of heading off on August Sundays loaded down with a brown paper bag of zucchini in each arm for some unsuspecting church-goer. In retrospect, it was a brilliant idea: make little kids give it away, and no one can turn down the ‘gift’.

This frittata isn’t going to win any beauty contests—and with a hungry Louise waiting to dig in, I didn’t spend time trying to gussy it up for photos—but it’s a nice alternative to exploiting innocent children to use up your influx of squash. Grating summer squash renders it simple to incorporate into a variety of recipes, and I often stir sautéed squash into risottos and pasta sauces. The yellow squash in this frittata lends some nutty heft to one of my favorite easy meals, and goat cheese and basil dress it up for brunch or dinner.

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Friday, 1 July 2011 | 13 comments

Summer platter salads

A very real danger looms that every post from now until the beginning of September will follow the same basic format: I will relate to you the account of a fruit or vegetable I found at the market or grew in my garden, and proceed to gush over it like a lovesick pre-teen doodling hearts in the margins of her notebook ( Sarah + tomato = <3 <3 <3 4ever).

I can’t help it. I want to fall down and worship at the altar of Demeter or Ceres or whichever deity you would like to consider responsible for summer harvests. Every time I discover a blossom in the garden that has started becoming a fruit or pod, I drop everything and run inside to grab my camera, snapping away like a doting mama. You know how parents are apt to show you picture after picture of their kids in various stages of, say, smooshing a first-birthday cake into their face? That’s how my photo library is right now, except instead of children, it’s pictures of orangey-gold squash blossoms and tiny, green cherry tomatoes no bigger than a pinky fingernail.

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