We had our dear friends Pam and Reinhold over last night for a yummy summer dinner. Pam brought a salad from her garden and some kind of delicious garlic scape pesto, and we provided two loaves of french bread, a lot of cheese, and a couple of spreads.
Which is to say: we didn’t cook at all. That’s how it goes in the summer when you have no air conditioning and a stove that is a behemoth intended to feed an army.
I assume that once upon a time, somebody lived in this house who cooked well and often. That person brought in a commercial Garland stove: six burners, two ovens, griddle, broiler. I’m not sure if we’ve ever actually made full use of this thing (I would have no idea how to cook a meal that required all six burners, both ovens, and the broiler), but there it sits.
In the winter, I often stand as close to the stove as possible whether I’m cooking or not, because it’s warm all the time. If it could, it would glow gently and we’d pretend it was some kind of 19th century hearth. But here’s the catch: in the summer, it’s still warm all the time. Whether you’re using it or not. And if you do fire it up, the temperature in the kitchen skyrockets. Our response: don’t turn the stove on in the summer.
Over the years we’ve completely modified our ideas about what constitutes dinner in the summer. Tomato/mozzarella/basil with balsamic vinegar? That’s plenty. Simple salad? Yep, that’ll do. Bread and butter with some fruit on the side? Check. Anything from the grill works, too, although Matt is devoted to charcoal and sometimes we run out of time to get it going after the usual bedtime madness. The kitchen stays cool and we get to appreciate all the fresh fruits and veggies that only really taste good at this time of year anyway.
I do almost all the cooking around here, so the nice thing for me is that cold dinners take no time to make. Finding an extra half hour in the evening helps summer feel a little lazy, like summer should. I’m looking forward to the season this year. Just noticed that epicurious.com has a feature on 115 no-cook meals–that should get me through August for sure.