03 June 2014

Easy summer meals

In the winter, I love staying in the kitchen and warming myself up over a slow-simmering soup on the stove or in front of an oven churning out bread and cookies.  In June, I'm eager to get out on a porch with a Michelada. I still want to eat delicious food, but I don't want to feel trapped in the kitchen when the weather is absolutely perfect outside (which it is for exactly two months in the summer here in northern Colorado).  So, here's what I do:

Spend one morning or afternoon cooking up big pots of 

  • barley/wheat berries/farro/rice 
  • mung beans/lentils (cook in boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes for brown lentils, 25 for mung beans)
  • beets or some other slow-cooking vegetable (more favorite method for roasting beets is here)

Refrigerate in separate containers.

In fact, just these three ingredients, along with some chopped scallions and fresh cilantro and store-bought peanut sauce, will yield a tasty salad for picnics or porch-sittin', like so:

(That's actually my patio.)

All of these ingredient can be frozen, but you'll probably get through them in a week.  Then, each day you can stir-fry some fresh vegetables quickly, season with rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, peanut sauce, Sriracha, etc. to your heart's content, and toss with some beans for protein, beets because they're delicious, and grains because they're grains. The photo below shows mung bean sprouts (in colander), napa cabbage, broccoli, scallions, and carrots. Be creative and you won't ever eat the same meal twice.  

By the way, that Michelada is also easy as pie: 

  • Rim a glass with lime juice and then coarse salt, as in margarita preparations.
  • Drop some hot sauce into the bottom of the glass.
  • Pour in your beer.
  • Top with a lime wedge. 

I like to snack on tortilla chips while doing this.