The sky stays light later. The weather is warm and balmy, or warm and rainy. The farm stands and grocery stores are suddenly full of corn on the cob, watermelon and sales on hamburger meat and Popsicles. Kids are playing Flashlight Tag and spend most of the day barefoot. (Parents are spending lots of time admiring their porch as the sun sets, with large, very full glasses of wine.)
One of the best parts of summer, for me, is the food. I freely admit that I'm a foodie! I always know what's coming into season, and have my favorite recipes. I will drive half an hour to the Farmer's Market just because it's more fun and feels more like summer, rather than shop in the grocery store down the road.
Summer and fall compete for "best recipes", in our house. We do a lot of grilling during the summer and use the meat smoker quite a bit for ribs and wings. But I love to make up stews and soups throughout the fall, and root vegetables and gourds are a staple.
And ice cream! Summer is the season of ice cream. We have several places around us that make ice cream in-house and it is fabulous. I love fresh peach ice cream, and anything chocolate's always a hit, but I love butter pecan!
(My husband's favorite is vanilla. I'm not sure what's wrong with him. We might have him tested.)
One of my favorite summer recipes is for a Lavender Lemon Cake. I have used this one, by Diana Rattray, a few times and it's delicious!
- 8 ounces (1 cup) softened butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 3 cups cake flour, stir before measuring
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces sour cream, light or full fat
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
- juice and zest of 2 lemons, about 5 to 6 tablespoons juice and 1 tablespoon finely grated zest
- juice of 1 lemon, about 2 1/2 tablespoons
- 2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
- 1 to 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
Preparation:Heat oven to 325°. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt cake pan. Cream butter with granulated sugar until light. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, along with half of the sour cream. Beat until well blended. Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining sour cream, scraping the sides of the bowl a few times. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until smooth and well blended.
Fold in the 1 1/2 tablespoons of dried lavender flowers and the juice and zest of 2 lemons. Spoon into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Heat lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon) and 2 teaspoons lavender flowers in the microwave or on stovetop. Strain out flowers; set juice aside and discard the flowers.
In a bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, hot lemon juice, and enough hot water to make a good drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the cooled (can be slightly warm) cake.
This cake is the perfect ending to a simple meal, like grilled hamburgers, corn on the cob and salad- a big favorite in the Kelly house! I hope you enjoy it...
What are some of your favorite summer dishes? Do you associate certain foods or recipes with certain seasons?