Although an extensive list, some of my very most favorite things about summer include:
1. Time to travel far and wide
2. Time to explore close to home
3. Time for “summer tasties.” Aka GOOD FOOD. My favorite any time of the year, of course, but something special in the summer.
I talk about the first two quite a bit in Boomtown Diaries, so this time, I need to give just a little shout-out to the third one. In the summer, the produce aisles are bursting with color, the farmer’s markets are bursting with home-grown goods, and the smell of anything on the grill tantalizes everyone’s senses for miles around. Since the last day of school (aka, my last day of packed lunches and cafeteria food), I haven’t held back on all those promises I made to myself of summer tasties, all throughout the long winter months.
Let me give you a sampling of just one amazing weekend full of summer tasties.
It started when I collected my Bountiful Basket:
This was like Christmas. I paid a reasonable price a few days in advance and on the designated Saturday, went to collect my basket. It was a beautiful sight. For days I ate fresh apple slices, nectarines, butter lettuce, peppers, and cucumbers, and drank lemon-lime-cucumber water, which apparently is bursting with health benefits.
I didn’t eat the brussel sprouts, though. Some habits die hard.
I had also never done much with avocados, but when I found them in my basket I decided I was craving homemade guacamole, so I did a little research online and whipped up my own version of various recipes I found, taking out things I didn’t like and adding a couple others. It turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. See the recipe below.
That same weekend, I hopped over to a nearby boomtown which every Saturday night from Memorial Day to Labor Day grills “hamburgers in the park” for anyone who wants to stop by and fork over a couple bucks to the local Lions Club. Why are these hamburgers so good? I don’t know. But they are. I’ve been trying to get my hands on them every summer Saturday since the days I was ten years old. Growing up, we played a game of whiffle ball every Saturday after eating hamburgers. These days, the whiffle ball gang is scattered far and wide, but the hamburgers are still tasty.
I enjoyed my first “hamburger in the park” of the summer on the same Saturday I picked up my bountiful basket. Double the bliss.
The next day, we put some of the peppers from my basket to use and grilled some pretty amazing steak kebabs.
They were also somewhere on the scale from Christmas to heaven.
(Saul was also very interested in these kebabs.)
And to top it all off, I had found a Coke in a little boomtown convenience store that was from Mexico. For those of you who don’t know, Coke from many countries south of the American border tastes much better than American Coke. My brother Joey, who once brought me a Coke from Guatemala, says it’s made with real sugar unlike our American version, which is made with high fructose corn syrup. I admit, both the Guatemala Coke and the Mexico Coke have proved their superiority in my book.
Plus, why does it taste better from a glass bottle?
It’s just one of those little mysteries of life.
Why are hamburgers grilled in the boomtown park by the Lions Club the tastiest of all?
Why did I feel an almost-spiritual connection to that beautiful, colorful bountiful basket? Can fresh fruits and vegetables speak to the soul?
Why did I use the word “bursting” three times in this blog post?
Why haven’t I made steak kebabs every day of my life?
Maybe these aren’t deep life mysteries. Maybe they are just more evidence of the fact that summer, including all of its “tasties”, basically kicks butt. Maybe summer makes everything crisper, fresher, crunchier, more tender, and more refreshing.
Here is one recipe for a delicious summer treat.
2 avocados, peeled, pitted and mashed
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 red onion, diced
2 T chopped cilantro (I used fresh)
1 diced tomato (I actually used 2 roma tomatoes since they are a bit smaller)
1-2 diced jalapeño peppers (skip if you don’t like much spice)
A pinch or dash of cayenne pepper
Mash together the lime juice and salt with the mashed avocados. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Add or remove ingredients to taste. Refrigerate and SERVE!
A summer tasty. Delicious.