Bowl of tomatoes and cucumbers and feta and salami and beans

After making myself an unusually good salad lunch (this bean salad above: ripe tomato, cucumber, feta, oregano, salami, and red wine vinegar), I sat down this weekend to dream up some summer meals for the month of July. .

I usually start with Mark Bittman’s classic 2007 article Summer Meals for inspiration. Most of the “recipes” are really just ideas – fresh, in season, simple meals. Lots of seafood. In the summer I need things to be easy, not get the kitchen too hot, and make me feel vaguely like I’m in middle school summer again.

Shopping is a little bit more relaxed – Trader Joes and Whole Foods for some basics, my farm share, and I like to pick things up at Farmers Market – I’m lucky to have a weekend market right down the street.

In Season (in Massachusetts)

  • Fruit: end of the strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches mid-month. I’m still gorging myself on cherries (mostly Ranier), and typically buy whatever is on sale at the store. The melons starting – watermelon, cantelope.
  • Vegetables: Lettuces, Green Beans, Beets, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Kale, Chard, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Leeks, Peppers, Spinach, Zucchini/Squash, Tomatoes (at least hot house). My fresh herbs are all doing well in the planter: parsley, basil, dill, cilantro, oregano.

Cooking Projects:

  • Nan’s Gazpacho: my grandmother used to make large containers of gazpacho all summer long to take to Maine.
  • Jordan Marsh’s Blueberry Muffins. This classic recipe from Marian Burros in the NYTimes. I think of my grandparents whenever I eat blueberry muffins (although admittedly those were more likely to be from Market Basket or Costco.)

Recipes: (I mostly use NYTimes Cooking app for specific recipes outside of my own cookbook collection.) Here are a few I’ve bookmarked:

The List Summer Items:

  • Summer Corn + Tomato Salad
  • Cold Peanut Noodles with Chicken and Cucumber
  • Grilled Hot Dogs and Baked Beans
  • Kraft Dinner Mac + Cheese from Canada
  • Can of B+M Brown Bread with Nutella
  • Watermelon and Feta Salad
  • S’mores
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Köfte and Shepherd’s Salad, and cold Ayran
  • Fried Hamsi (little fish) with lemony salad
  • Fried fish tucked in bread

What to Eat When I’m Tired and Don’t Want To Cook:

  • Trader Joe’s Chicken Drumellas and a bag of broccoli never disappoints.
  • Tinned Fish Rice Bowl. If I’m a little more ambitious I can bake fish from this. Usually I add some cucumber, avocado, rice vinegar, seaweed, ginger. 
  • Taco salad. Ground meat from the freezer with taco seasoning. Cheese. Chopped tomato. Sour Cream.
  • Lobster Cobb: lobster, blue cheese, tomatoes, avocado.
  • TJ’s Lamb Vindaloo + TJ’s Cumin Marinated Chickpeas + Yogurt

Eating Out:

  • Lobster Roll Quest (I’ll aim for one every week or two.)
  • Pammy’s
  • Mochiko Chicken Sandwich
  • Rancatore’s Chocolate Shake
  • An Italian Sandwich (from Monica’s, DePasquale, or Linden St. Deli)
  • A cider donut (even though it’s early in the season)
  • A Flo’s Hot Dog
  • Barnacle Billy’s (Steamers and a Crab Roll)

What’s on your summer table?