Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Simplify, Simplify

As the years pass, I find more and more that late spring here in northern Ohio reminds me very much of early spring in Atlanta. Though the morning begins at a pleasantly cool temperature, a languid humidity drapes itself in the lush foliage overhanging the streets, and by the time I get to work, I'm feeling a bit damp and more than ready to guzzle something cold and refreshing.

Then, by the time I'm ready to head home at the end of the workday, the sun is blazing, and I choose the shady route home, hoping for a cool breeze to cut the edge of those 80-degree rays. And after climbing the stairs to my shaded but still too-warm apartment, I sure don't want to cook.

That's why this week I've decided to simplify meals. Though I'm still working through the Indian food from the weekend, along with those cashew cookies, I can barely bring myself to boil a pot of pasta and have instead opted for some fresh and, yes, non-local salad and vegetables from the grocery store. (The farmers' market starts in a week and a half... I can't wait that long for fresh greens!)

With such supplies laid into the refrigerator, I can have a simple salad of mixed organic greens with a bit of feta cheese, some sunflower seeds, and a light vinaigrette for dinner. Or, I can make a variation on fattoush, with fresh cucumber and tomato in a lemon and olive oil dressing.

Of course, it wouldn't be fair to face the start of summer without some thick, creamy, cooling haydari and nutty flatbread for a snack that verges on dinner:

And for breakfast, since I haven't even got the energy in the morning to whip up a batch of pancakes, I dug a recipe out of my memory, reminiscent of my early vegetarian days: peanut butter applesauce. Made with one banana, three heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter, and about 3/4 c homemade applesauce, then pureed in the food processor, this simple dish tastes like dessert but wakes me up nicely in the wee hours of the morning.

Simple, wholesome, satisfying. What more do I need during this heat wave, aside from plenty of cold water? And all of this should last me into the holiday weekend, though not quite to the opening day of the farmers' market.

Sometimes it's good to get back to basics.


At 5/26/2007 11:16 AM, Blogger Alyssa said...

Yummmy! Our farmer's market in Central Ohio started last week, though the pickings are still slim and I'm still learning how to shop the farmer's market, I did get some lettuce this week and a 1/2 dozen eggs (I'm hoping they taste better than store eggs, I'm not a big eggs person, but I hear the pastured ones are fabulous). Your recipes are so creative. I will definitely have to try the lavender ones listed above.

At 5/27/2007 6:32 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Thanks, Alyssa! I am jealous that your market has started already... six days and counting here!

I do hope you find the market eggs to be better than store-bought. I don't often find eggs at our farmers' market, but I can find local free-range at the co-op, and they seem so much more satisfying with their deep golden-orange yolks.

If all else fails, you might be able to find dried lavender at North Market (the little shop with the bulk teas and coffees)... but if you can find some grown locally, even better! The lavender is nice in sugar or butter cookies, too... something simple. A friend of mine would also argue that my lavender-sauteed apples are worth a try, and also very easy.


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