Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer in Oklahoma

Hi Allison! I hope you're holding it together in Iowa City--every time I listen to the news I hear more dire reports about the flooding all over Iowa, and I worry about my Under Water Iowan friends. Oklahoma is rainy and grey, but far from being flooded--and, since I live at the top of a hill, I don't think I have too much to worry about.

Anyhow, I thought it might be nice to cast our minds back to the beginning of the summer, when (here, at least) it was sunny and gorgeous everyday, and things were in bloom.

One of my favorite things about coming home for the summer is making the drive from still-chilly-in-May Iowa to the hotbox that is Tulsa, Oklahoma. My mother's garden was flourishing, the air buzzed with insects and humidity, and I was happy, happy, happy.

We have raised-bed vegetable gardens in our backyard--this tomato teepee hasn't yielded any edible fruit yet, but there are a few little green tomatoes struggling to grow--I say struggling, because we haven't exactly been attentive farmers around here.

My strawberry patch is doing well, though! Okay, not SO well... mainly because I'm too lazy to go harvest the fruit, so it all gets eaten by the rabbits, possums, armadillos and raccoons that inhabit our backyard and live under our deck. Those three strawberries were rescued before the wildlife could get to them, and man, were they delicious. It made me think of eating Amanda's strawberries and taking video of our strawberry-tasting experience. Like all home-grown strawberries, these seemed to be a million times sweeter, tarter, and sourer than strawberries you buy at the store.

Okay, now to the food part of this entry! I don't exactly have a recipe for you today, more like a suggestion. And that suggestion is: make ye some salads! For me, the quintessential summer food is a cold prepared salad, pulled out of the refrigerator whenever dinner happens. Salads are great for the summer because once they're in the fridge, they require no forethought whatsoever.

This was my dad's birthday dinner... a veggie dog, some cold cantaloupe, potato salad, macaroni salad, and pea salad. In all fairness, I should admit that I cooked exactly none of this... it was all my aunt's doing.

I think my favorite was this pea-and-egg salad. It doesn't require a recipe... just mix together some defrosted peas, chopped hard-boiled eggs, cheddar cheese, red onion, bell pepper, chopped cucumber, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Another great thing about salads: the proportions are all to taste, so you can customize them to your heart's content.

A more real entry is coming soon, but for now I've gotta go help with dinner! This eating thing, it never ends, let me tell you.

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