Sunday, July 01, 2007

Dinner on the Patio

I know a lot of folks who are deliriously happy about the onset of summer. Not me. I hate being hot. I'll go out in the cold without a coat and happily shiver until I get where I'm going but the heat makes me miserable, especially at night when it makes sleep difficult. I'm not going to handle the climate crisis graciously, you can bet on that.

There are, of course, a few good things about summer. The fruit is gorgeous and varied, my garden goes wild, and we can enjoy our covered patio. Years ago someone decided to slap some extra roof over the northwest side of our house, making a very dark little corner which, frankly, is quite unpleasant most of the year. But in high summer, it's a wonderful place, a cool refuge from the sun's rays complete with the soothing burbling of my home-made washtub fountain. We move the houseplants out for the summer, and we've been covering the walls with an odd collection of mirrors to bring a bit of light into the dim space and for a couple of months, it's not a bad place to be, especially on a warm evening at dinnertime.

The kids had been asking for onion pie for quite a while, so I finally indulged them even though it made the kitchen even hotter. With the fan set up, I was good to go, chopping and sauteeing onions in a mixture of olive oil and butter until they turned a rich, deep brown.

I put the caramelized onions into a deep pie dish, scattered grated cheddar and fresh thyme over the them, and then made a quick biscuit dough and plopped it over everything. Half an hour in the oven, and the whole thing was tipped out onto a plate, ready for serving.
After last week's cheesemaking I was all ready to give it another try. I found some beautiful heirloom tomatoes which I sliced up and layered with the slices of fresh mozzarella. I drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar over everything, along with a pinch of salt, black pepper, and some chopped fresh basil.

The final dish was sauteed garlicky zucchini, fresh from the garden of friends. I remember thinking they were crazy to put their zucchini in so early but they called it right this year. My plants are still spindly while they've been eating fresh zucchini for quite some time.

It was declared by all to be a fine meal, which is something in this household of picky children. Should you feel inclined to try the onion pie yourself, you'll find the recipe here.

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