Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Midsummer Night's Feast

I know, it's just past midsummer. From my point of view, though, summer is almost over (thanks to a life lived by the academic calendar), and this is almost the last hurrah.

But there's still plenty of excellent summertime produce to be eaten, and so last evening I invited the lovely Phoenix and Mr. Nice Guy over for a summer feast of midsummer risotto.

I generally only make this risotto once a year. It's not difficult, it's just that the timing has to be right to have perfectly fresh tomatoes and corn and zucchini and basil all together on the same plate. And I'm thrilled to say that last night's dish not only tasted even more fabulous than usual and looked good to boot (thanks to Mr. Nice Guy's careful and artful stirring), it was almost 100% organic and locally grown (aside from the arborio rice and Parmesan cheese). Almost all of the vegetables came from the organic farmers at the market, aside from the one tomato and the basil leaves from my own garden.

Along with the risotto, we had a big bowl full of fried okra, which Phoenix discovered was ridiculously easy to make and wonderfully tempting to eat. (After using an entire quart of okra, two skillets full, we had none left. Yep, it's that good.)

Dessert was equally simple and satisfying. I had picked up some Red Haven peaches from Bauman Orchards at the local grocery store over my lunch hour yesterday, and though these peaches aren't as fully ripe as the Red Globes I had a couple of weeks ago, with a little Moroccan mint sugar they turned out to be just the right softness and sweetness. And since I still had plenty of the Haut Sauternes in the refrigerator, of course I had to share that for the full blissful experience.

Soon, I'll be wanting lots of kale and squash and apples and cider and all sorts of comforting fall foods. The cool nights tell me that that time isn't too far off, and I'm starting to eye my jeans and sweaters with a longing for a cozy warmth.

But while summer's still here and fresh summer produce is still to be found (or picked), I'll make the most of it.

And I'll savor every bite.


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