This weekend marks the unofficial kick-off of summer, and here in Toronto we couldn’t have asked for better weather. Let me put it this way; I was in Vegas last weekend and it feels just as hot today.
The first cottage guests have already come and gone, the barbecue worked its magic on a dozen summertime skewers, and the Pinot Grigio was flowing freely.
With people dropping by each weekend, I’m usually on kitchen duty, yet I don’t mind at all because:
1) I enjoy the prep and cooking that goes into making meals for large groups. Plus, I got the moves like Jagger. (Maybe not. But I’m fast, and that’s what counts here.)
2) I especially love the challenge of drop-in guests and middling fridge ingredients. (Top Chef Cottage: Quick Fire Challenge. Make a vegan feast for 10 in 15 minutes!)
3) Most importantly, if I do the cooking, I don’t do the cleaning. (Cottage rules.)
What’s more, summertime cooking is easy cooking. Compared to Christmas’s competitive feasts, during the summer nobody wants intricate hors d’oeuvres, a big turkey and sides, layered cakes and cookies, mulled cider and gobs of chocolate. Instead, it’s all about sparking up the barbecue (or smoker), and throwing on some burgers and steaks, whipping up big bowls of fresh salads, or even a simple platter of juicy tomatoes with basil and olive oil.
During summer we let the fresh foods speak for themselves, asparagus, corn and beans becoming the snap, crackle and pop of the vegetable world. Meats sizzle, tofu does its own thing, and ice cream is ever-present. If you think about it, it’s actually the longest and busiest entertaining stretch of the year.
In other words, it’s the perfect time to reciprocate a long put-off dinner invite.