August 18, 2015

Slaw Days of Summer

It’s been kind of a remarkable summer.

Last August, for the first time, we spent some precious dollars renting a cottage for a week, only to have the weather turn into a not-so-impressive impression of October. With no heat source in the cottage, and after a few days of using the oven, and boiling big pots of water on the stove to put on the table, we surrendered on Tuesday night and headed home Wednesday, having made it in the lake once.

The view from my friend Cheryl's farm.
That first row of trees is where the coyotes live. The moon is the setting Blue Moon.

This summer, I’ve been in Ontario’s beautiful lakes far more often than I have the right to expect. Thanks to my generous friends sharing their space with me and letting me breathe – smelling the overwhelming scent of pine needles on the forest floor…hearing coyotes chatter the night of the Blue Moon, then wolves the next, and loons the night after…and tasting summer food – coleslaw, bbq corn, gazpacho, and marinated flank steak on the grill.

I had s’mores for the first time (yes, that took more than 50 years), and got pulled around a lake on a big, fat tube, for the first time; laughing so hard I was pretty sure my bladder and I would part ways. And I laid on a dock one night and watched shooting stars carve their way across the Milky Way.

Sunset at Bitter Lake, which, by the way, is next to Tedious Lake. Seriously.

I noticed last night we turn on our lamps a little earlier. The cicadas are still around but slowing, now crickets have picked up their chorus – they’re a late summer thing, the sunflowers are in full blush, and the corn is piled up at the farmers’ markets. A sense of mild panic is running through me as I face facts – summer is coming to an end. Because, that is what it does.

I thought I’d share some discovered recipes I’ve tested enough this summer to say with confidence, yup…good food. And if you think about where you serve it, like outside preferably, it transforms into good food karma - meals married to setting – amplifying both the taste and the experience.

Even the s’mores. Though, I have to say s'mores have more to do with setting than taste…it’s a mixture I think could be seriously improved. Smore karma needed.

The karma is up to you. Set the table outside. Or make this stuff and take it to a park and set out a blanket and dishes and napkins and wine, and just breathe. Enjoy the moment. Because all good things come to an end…but so do bad things. And living well is the best revenge anyway, right?

This coleslaw recipe is excellent. It comes from Bobby Flay and the Food Network and is called Bobby’s Creamy Coleslaw. I can eat the bowl myself.

1 head of green cabbage, shredded
2 large carrots, shredded
¾ cup of mayonnaise
2 tbsp sour cream, I used thickened yogurt – and when I don’t have time to thicken it, so be it.
2 tbsp grated Spanish onion, I used red onion
2 tbsp sugar, or to taste – so says the recipe…I found 1 tbsp sufficient
2 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp dry mustard
2 tsp celery salt (go ahead and buy some, it’s brilliant, and some say essential, to potato salad)
Salt and pepper

Mix together the shredded cabbage and carrots in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, onion, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery salt, and salt/pepper. Spoon carefully over the vegetables. Mix. Check for your desired dressing-to-vegetable ratio and add more if you like - but remember, less is more. The important thing is to let it sit in the fridge for a bit - the tastes really mature over time - you know, like us.

I usually only shred half a cabbage to make this, so whatever portion of the dressing I don’t use goes in the fridge. I’ve doused salad, other vegetables, leftover chicken with it. It stands up to everything. And remember summer isn’t over yet. It’s not. It's not. It's not. Mature eh?

So here's to summer 2015 - and I send my love out to Karen, Jain, Andy, Carol, Kathilee, Cheryl, for being with us and/or hosting us, and Denise for letting us give Bitter Lake another chance.


Anonymous said...

I love your writing, it takes me along as you wind out your story and I can't wait to read what you have to say next. YOU, my friend are a wonderful writer! Love, Nic2

nicola pulling said...

And you are a wonderful, wonderful, I'm Nic2...

Anonymous said...

"Smore karma needed"

Words to live by :)