I’ve been making some really good summer meals — sometimes. Sometimes the creativity fails, and I throw hot dogs on the barbeque. Here are a few memorable meals from the last two weeks (since I missed posting last week.)
**Last Thursday’s menu** Quinoa salad with black beans. Gazpacho.
**Keepin’ it cool** The kids requested something cold. I mentioned that certain soups are served cold and all were intrigued. I could not find a recipe for gazpacho, so I winged it. Pureed chopped tomato, cucumber, garlic, green pepper, and a handful of stale bread bits with 6-8 cups of water (can’t remember). Added salt, pepper to taste, plus a good slug of vinegar, and a sprinkle of oregano. Albus was a huge fan. Meanwhile, I steamed the quinoa, and chopped similar veggies, and tossed a lemon dressing together in a large bowl, to which I added the cooked quinoa and a cup or two of cooked, leftover black beans. Did not add feta (kids don’t like feta). Did add huge bunch of chopped basil picked fresh from backyard.
**Last Friday’s menu** Gallo pinto picnic (beans fried with rice).
**Not entirely sure I’d recommend this, but …** AppleApple was playing an extra soccer game, fairly early, a week ago Friday. There wasn’t time to eat supper before leaving, which I only realized while in the process of whipping up the gallo pinto. So I packed it into a large bowl and added extras to the picnic basket: grated cheese, grape tomatoes, tortilla chips, salsa. Add plates and cutlery, and fruit for desssert, and it all worked out. Yes, we looked a little odd eating our supper by the field. But at least there was a picnic table.
**Monday’s menu** Tomato sauce tossed with pasta. Green salad with maple dressing.
**Cooked by AppleApple!** She made this meal essentially by herself. She followed a recipe for the sauce, which did come within a hair of burning to the bottom of the pot, but was rescued just in time. Still, we only had about half the amount of sauce I usually make; this inspired us to toss it with the hot pasta. She also made the salad dressing herself. It’s so easy to make homemade salad dressing in a small glass jar with a lid! (A bit of oil, a bit of vinegar or the juice of a lemon, maple syrup, dijon, salt and pepper. Shake. Pour. Toss. Done.)
**Miracles do happen** CJ and Fooey ate the pasta covered with sauce. If the sauce is separated out, they refuse it. They didn’t even question eating this meal, and requested seconds. I think we have a winning recipe here — fewer options are sometimes better.
**Tuesday’s menu** Quinoa salad. Sausages on grill.
**Sausage splits** To economize, and because I don’t think we need to be eating that much meat, I grilled three sausages, split them in half and lengthwise, and served them already in buns, one bun each. It turned out not to be enough to satisfy big kid appetites, at which point I forced the quinoa salad on them, at which point we discovered the quinoa wasn’t as good this time round (even I had to admit it). At which point, Kevin finally arrived home from Toronto just in time for all of us to leave for soccer. He took his sausage to go.
**Wednesday’s menu** Gado gado: an Indonesian feast!
**What was I thinking** So … Kevin was working late in Toronto, and the two big kids had invited friends for a sleepover. Naturally, I decided to emerge from my office goggle-eyed and semi-present and whip up an elaborate Indonesian feast. Right?! That is exactly what happened. Of course, in some senses it’s really easy food to make. In others, it’s time-consuming, takes a ton of chopping, and uses lots of dishes. However, it all worked out because Kevin arrived home just as I was placing food on the table. We all ate together. The tofu was not popular with the children who were not mine; but otherwise, this meal was a hit.
**Gado gado, what is it?** Gado gado goes like this. A heap of yellow rice (1/2 tsp turmeric flavours two cups of uncooked rice) served upon a bed of spinach. I arranged halved hard-cooked eggs around the side, one half for each of us. Toppings can then be added, as desired. I offered: steamed broccoli, fried onions with zucchini, fried tofu cubes, crushed peanuts, unsweetened coconut, and hot pepper flakes. Once a plate has been made, a lovely peanut sauce is poured over top. I will say this: it was phenomenally good. I will serve it again, perhaps at the next big family gathering. Other topping options include finely chopped cabbage, banana slices, or other fruit. Flexible! Delicious! Vegan!
**Thursday’s menu** Hot dogs on grill.
**Sigh** It was all I could manage. In fact, I barely managed it.
**Friday’s menu** Lonely grilled bun with cheese and garlic. Plus fruit.
**Context** The kids were spending the night at my mom’s. We had a Bailey’s pickup (so much fruit! Cherries, peaches, plums, and blueberries!!) There was a stale bun on the counter. Kevin had to take Fooey to a soccer game. I ate alone, reeking of garlic. It wasn’t half bad.
**Saturday’s menu** Noodles in peanut sauce. Chopped napa and fennel and radish. Cupcakes and plum cake for dessert.
**Ho-hum** The peanut sauce was bland. I used actual peanuts, as we’d run out of peanut butter. It was made with coconut milk and curry. It needed more curry, more salt, and more peanuts.
**Dessert** If there’s dessert on the menu, you know something’s up. Yes, we had guests, and one arrived with yummy cupcakes and plum cake from a new bakery across from the Kitchener market called, I think, The Yeti. Correct me if I’m wrong …
**Sunday’s menu** Pizza from Pepi’s.
**The start of a tradition?** This Sunday and last Sunday everyone came along to my soccer game, which is usually scheduled for Sunday afternoon/evening. Both games involved travel, and by the time they’d ended, we knew everyone would be hot, tired, and hungry. So last Sunday, we offered pizza as a reward for 90 minutes of Mom-playing-soccer. Honestly, it was a reward for everyone. Pepi’s makes great pizza (downtown Kitchener). We order one Hawaiian, one vegetarian with tons of green olives. It makes for a happy supper, few dishes, and a good end to the weekend. Plus I really like having everyone come to my games. Even if they have to watch their mother get slide-tackled/clotheslined/or otherwise badly fouled at least once a match. Apparently this is how (some) grown women play recreational soccer?