As a kid, the ‘the dog days of summer’ arrived in August and spelled boredom. Dogs don’t play in the buzzing heat of a long, hot Prairie summer day, and neither do kids when this boooorring time of holidays sets in.
Oh, to be a kid again, with nothing to do in August!
I find this part of summer now takes on a sense of urgency. I want to make the most of it — rest, swim, eat; hike, rest, eat; repeat — yet get things done, too. The lake beckons, but harvest has begun. ‘To dos’ become ‘must dos.’
So I’m sure you don’t want to spend more time than necessary in the kitchen right now, either. Here’s a few simple recipes to make the most of August’s fruit and vegetables before getting back to your resting, or rushing, as need be.
(And to save you a bit more time, here’s what I found about the origins of the phrase ‘dog days of summer.’ Wikipedia says it dates to ancient times when the rise of Sirius, the dog star, signalled arrival of summer’s hottest weather in the Northern Hemisphere — although in some traditions, the dog days began in early July.)
The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. – Natalie Babbitt in Tuck Everlasting
Raspberry Peach Clafouti
An elegant dessert, traditionally made with cherries, that’s easier than pie. This recipe uses raspberries and peaches, but you could substitute any fruit of your choice to bake into this pancake-like batter. A clafouti is good hot or cold, but cooled it will flatten and have a much more dense and spongy texture. It’s divine served with whipped cream.
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 3/4 c. 5% cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 c. chopped peaches, peeled fresh or well-drained canned
- 1/2 c. fresh raspberries
Butter a deep 9- or 10-inch pie plate. Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat eggs and sugar in a medium bowl using an electric mixer. Add cream and beat until combined. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt. Sprinkle fruit over bottom of prepared dish. Pour batter over fruit. Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until set. Cover loosely with foil during cooking if the top is browning too fast. Serve warm or cold.
Tip: If you are using canned fruit make sure it is thoroughly drained and patted dry.
Source: Dairy Farmers of Canada.
I’ve often made a version of this using a grilled eggplant. This recipe started appearing on all sorts of websites last summer. It’s a great way to use up plentiful zucchini — and all the other raw vegetables you’ll want to dip into this very tasty spread. This is also a very good spread on sandwiches.
- 1 medium-size zucchini, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 c. tahini
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for garnish)
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
Brush the zucchini with oil and place on the lower rack of the oven and broil until lightly browned and just starting to become tender. Remove and trim ends, then slice in half lengthwise. Scrape out the larger seeds. Place the zucchini cut side up in a lightly oiled skillet and cook at a low heat until tender (about 10 minutes). Cool then purée in a food processor until smooth, adding tahini, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper. Serve garnished with paprika.
Buttermilk Beet Soup
This is another recipe for something not too common — a chilled soup. Cold soup is really refreshing for a hot summer day, and all you have to do is take it from the fridge and serve.
- 1-1/4 lb. medium beets, trimmed
- 1 c. sour cream
- 1/2 c. fresh orange juice
- 1/4 c. raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. honey
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- 1 c. buttermilk
- 1 apple, peeled and diced (optional)
Cook beets in large pot of boiling water until very tender (about 50 minutes). Drain beets; cool slightly. Peel and coarsely chop. Transfer beets to food processor. Add sour cream, 1/2 cup orange juice, vinegar, honey and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into large bowl and whisk in buttermilk. Thin soup with more orange juice, if desired. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. Garnish soup with diced apple, if desired, and serve. Serves 6.
Source: Peak of the Market.