Wednesday, 22 June 2011

treasuring summer

One way that I treasure summer is by eating it. I love the heat of summer (especially when I'm near water), but I'm not a big fan of a hot house. So I'm looking for cool cooking ideas. If you have any to share in the comment space below, I'm all ears.

Here's a little recipe I devised the other week in order to eat some ripe mangoes and not heat up the kitchen. For this recipe, you don't need to heat anything except the water to make the couscous. Boil a cup of water and put it in a bowl with the 1 cup of couscous; cover with a plate for 5 minutes. Cut up the rest of the stuff while you're waiting. Uncover the couscous and toss it with a fork to let it cool off a bit before adding the other ingredients and tossing it with the dressing.

Mango Couscous Salad

1 cup couscous, raw (or use 2 cups cooked rice or quinoa)
2 cups chicken chunks, already cooked (sub in tofu)
1 tomato, chopped
2 mangoes, chopped (sub in peaches or apricots)
chopped up mint, green onion, cilantro to taste
feta or bocconcini cheese - top with this (optional)

1 1/2 T. rice vinegar
1 T. maple syrup (optional but really yummy)
1/2 t. sesame seed oil
1 T. canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Spring Rolls

We brought these camping last year because they were so easy and good. We just put a bit of warm water on a plate, let the rice wrap sit in the water for maybe a minute or so until softened, then move it to another place to stuff it with your choice of fillings, then wrap up the sides and ends, dip, and eat!

Rice paper wraps (we can get them at our grocery store with about 50 in a pack)
Warm water on a plate

Filling ideas:

  • vermicelli noodles, cooked
  • shredded lettuce
  • carrots, thinly sliced
  • tofu or chicken or beef or pork slices or shrimp
  • hoisin sauce mixed with sugar (for dipping)
  • sprouts
  • fresh basil, cilantro, and mint
  • cucumber, thinly sliced
  • mango, thinly sliced

Hoisin dipping sauce:

1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 T. peanut butter
peanuts, chopped

And speaking of ideas, I'm looking for ways that our little family can have a small summer solstice fiesta, nothing big, nothing fancy - just some simple ways to celebrate things summery. I like to treasure and welcome each season. The summer solstice was officially June 21 (yesterday) this year, but I'm sure summer won't mind if we wait a few days before properly celebrating. Here's what I have so far: something that involves sun + water + fire.

Happy summer to you!


  1. Looks yummy! Your fresh spring rolls look very similar to mine. The dip is identical (and so easy). Before asparagus is gone, try putting in a cooked spear in the middle. So so good!

  2. I'll get some at the market and try it before they're gone! Sounds yummy.

  3. Guess, my comment didn't workt the first time! should make some sun tea - with fresh mint! - Sharon Bauman

  4. Mmm... sun tea - I've never made it myself, but I love it! Do you use a big glass jar? If so, where do you get a big jar?

  5. COOK OUTSIDE! I'm thinking of buying a hotplate that I can hook up outside so that we don't even have to boil water in the house. It's crazy to think we use energy to heat water, which heats the house, while also using energy to try to cool the house down. Boiling water outside would cut out the middle man I think....

  6. or you could get a new bbq with an element on it - that's what we've done! Yes, cooking outside is a marvelous idea.

  7. i definitely want to make those spring rolls! here is a recipe we love to make in the summer:

    Bean Salad Wraps

    In a bowl, mix together:

    1 can of black beans, rinsed
    1 small yellow pepper
    2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
    2 tbsp red onion, chopped
    1/3 cup mayonnaise
    1 tbsp lime juice
    handful of fresh spinach

    spoon into tortillas for a delicious wrap! (i love to eat guacemole and lime chips as a side)

  8. OK. Kristen - I'm going to have to try this recipe. Looks very yummy! No cooking + vegetarian and filling too! Perfect. Thanks!