Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Gold

ROBERTA: It's been such a weird summer in New England, cool and wet. Doesn't it seem like we haven't hit the summer food season with the same gusto as usual, even here on the blog? I did make a killer blueberry pie and we've had a terrific lettuce and asparagus season, but everything else in the garden is slow, slow, and slow. And then today, I read a horrible article in the New York Times food section about a late tomato blight that's expected to wipe out a large percentage of the tomato crop in the northeast. Yikes! I ran right out to inspect my crop: no sign of fissures and sores so far!
So let's hear it from you Jungle Reds: what's your favorite summer treat so far or what are you looking forward to for the rest of the season?

And p.s., one of the food-related treats I'm anticipating is the new movie directed by Hallie's sister Nora, based on the book Julie and Julia, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Cannot wait to see Meryl Streep as Julia Child!

HALLIE: As I look out my window, it's raining again. Sigh.

Cherries. Have they been incredible this season or what? And last week we had some amazing peaches. Barbecued chicken! We never drag out the charcoal grill until summer. And my friend Maggie just brought me three vine ripened tomatoes and I remembered what they're supposed to taste like...essence of summer. The tomato blight is very scary and, I gather, widespread.

RO: Are we talking food or something else? Summer means white wine sangria and bbqs with friends, big kitchen sink salads and lots of grilled chicken. A good friend just turned me on to something called Sekt. Never heard of it before but it's a German sparkling wine like cava or asti spumante(in these tough economic times, I save the bubbly for special occasions.) Nice and summer-y.

Non-food treat? I can't wait for my month in Wellfleet. No phone, no cable, no obsessive checking of emails.

HANK: Oh, summer. Are we having that this year? It's so rainy around here, people are just--defeated. Walking around in the rain, no umbrellas. Just--getting wet. Forget about it. Fuzzy hair and damp clothes and flip flops. And usually during the summer we have dinner outside on the patio every night--not this year. But we are saving a LOT on irrigation.

Anyway--food. Peaches! I found some wonderful ones, and when they're good, they're so terrific. And blueberries. And oh, we've had lobster, and I do love it. And proseco with elderflower liqueur. Like a kir. And rose wine from Provence...cold cold cold.

And how about iced coffee? And iced lattes? Got to love them. And right his very minute--we're grilling fish and asparagus outside. Not raining! Yay! Gotta go..

RHYS: I've experienced enough heat to share with everyone who has had a rotten summer. Book tour in Houston, Scottsdale, LA and now over a week in Florida. My biggest treat so far--swimming in the ocean twice this week as we drove around Florida and abandoned drive by signings for an hour or two on the beach. The water was incredible--warm, gentle waves, just right. We did pay for it a little with sunburn as we stayed in for an hour and the sunscreen was gradually washed away.

We've also had some amazing food on this tour--cold seafood platter on a dock, and dinner in a very trendy South Florida restaurant with decor right out of a movie (speaking of which I also can't wait to see Julia and Julie. I love movies about food, and I love everything Nora has done.
Incidentally, cherries have also been fantastic in California this summer. One of my favorite fruits, along with peaches, mangoes, papaya.

ROBERTA: Tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, lobster, cherries...what summer treats are you enjoying?


  1. Summer here means firing the grill and big, thick Angus burgers topped with everything and anything you can salvage in the fridge and fresh corn on the cob grilled in the husks. I would happily trade our heat and humidity for rain! We're aren't quite as bad for drought conditions as southern Texas, but we're about 6 inches below normal. I don't know where they came from (certainly not here - lol) but the fresh pineapples have been outstanding, too!

    Okay. Now I'm hungry and it's not even 9 a.m. yet. *wanders off to forage*

  2. Summer here means hiding inside in the air conditioning, and avoiding the daily afternoon thunderstorms.

    Our growing season gives us two (sometimes 3) crops of vegetables, but by now, most can't take the heat.

    And Julie/Julia is a movie we're actually planning to see in the theater. We'd go today, but have to pick our son up at the airport.

  3. Luckily Hallie reminded me to buy cherries! And I forgot to add one more guilty pleasure: I bought hot dogs (turkey:), split and grilled, laid on farmer's market bread, layered with mustard, sauerkraut, and chopped sweet onion. oh my gosh, I'm starving now too....

  4. Ah, summer fresh food...

    Just back from a week in northern Maine, where it didn't rain until this morning. Local raspberries were a delight. The best lobsters we have ever eaten. One of the best guilty lakeside treats were BLTs with thick bacon, local tomatoes, local lettuce, sourdough bread, and lots of real (not low-fat) mayo, which isn't fattening while eaten on vacation (right?), washed down with a fine Maine IPA.

    Then came home to find the intriguing and decrepit boat shop at the end of my street, which I have put in a short story and in my book (in progress) and which I mentioned in blog comments here, burned down, this afternoon! [Good thing I was out of town, otherwise under suspicion?] Am off to take more pictures.


  5. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and cantaloupe have been wonderful this summer in Texas, though I'm pretty sure that none of them are local. (Especially the berries.) I love berries on almost anything, so it's been a pleasure to eat them 2-3 times a day. Wherever they are coming from,I bless the sun that shines and rain that falls to produce such healthy, hugeous berries.

    The basil, dill, and rosemary are in fine form here -- if coddled -- which I do. The butterflies were also loving my dill, so I gave them one bush and bought another to grow on the screen porch. Fun to eat corn & lemongrass soup with dill and basil chiffonade while watching the butterflies make free with the dill in their supper, too.

    Avocados, peaches, and watermelon have also been great this year. And there are some killer local salsas out there. I love summer food!

    And I look forward to Julie & Julia also. :)

  6. Haven't seen J&J yet, but has anyone seen 500 Days of Summer? Delightful.