For me, summer is all about being carefree and flying by the seat of my pants. I don’t like too much advanced planning. Whether it’s a walk down to the park to take in an outdoor movie, or a multi-day road trip, I prefer to just play it by ear. Summer is all about embracing a more casual lifestyle.
And that includes in the kitchen too. Which is why I’m a fan of recipes like my Orzo Salad with Roasted Corn and Zucchini. It’s easy to make. And even easier to eat!
Pasta salad in general is always a crowd pleaser, which makes it a great go-to dish for any party or event. But I like to do mine a little differently. No store-bought Italian dressings here. And definitely no mayonnaise (I have strong personal feelings against mayonnaise). Instead, I make up my own lemony-balsamic dressing. And I load up the bowl with all kinds of summer vegetables, including corn, zucchini, tomatoes and arugula.
Any home gardeners out there? If so, I know you are up to your ears in zucchini right now. So this salad is for you!
This Orzo Salad with Roasted Corn and Zucchini is light and fresh, and most importantly, it’s ideal for taking along on any type of adventure. Now get out there and tackle summer!
It’s getting to be late summer and that means one thing here in the Pacific Northwest: blackberry season.
Blackberries are something we Seattleites just love to hate. They are an invasive species to the PNW and most of the year they are just a nuisance. Their growth is virtually unstoppable. Sure, you can attempt to cut back their twisted, dense, prickly branches. But still they advance. They cover everything: peoples backyards, alley ways, along sidewalks, parking lots, hiking trails and everywhere in-between. Their bushes grow gnarly and thick with thorns that draw blood, ruin your clothes and will have you running in the opposite direction.
BUT then something magical happens. Starting in the end of July and through August blackberry bushes give us plump, sweet, lip-smackingly juicy berries. And during those weeks we forget how much we hated these opportunistic, unrelenting invaders. And maybe we even feel a little bit guilty for cursing them out so much….
The blackberry pickers come out in droves this time of year to snatch up as many of these little gems as possible during their brief appearance. And I’m no different. I have an abundance of blackberry bushes within walking distance of my house. So with my little bucket in hand, I go on my daily walks with my dog and come home with handfuls of dark, tender blackberries. And if I’ve forgotten my bucket on a particular trip? Well, then I just eat and eat and eat until my tongue is purple and my stomach is sickeningly full. It’s a rough life.
With my first precious haul I made this Blackberry Sauce. It’s ridiculously simple: you only need a few ingredients and about 5 minutes. And what you get is an incredibly luscious sauce that can be used for so many things. This sauce is a bit on the tart side, making it the perfect topping for ice cream, cheesecake or poundcake. I also like to stir it into my yogurt or oatmeal in the morning. Or pour it over pancakes and waffles. It’s even good on grilled chicken and pork. The possibilities are endless!
I will continue to make the most out of this fleeting bounty and harvest blackberries until my fingers are sore and stained. And maybe if I freeze some away to be enjoyed later, I won’t hate the blackberry bushes so much during the other 10 months of the year.