May 3, 2012

Summer Goals

The backyard, through the fig tree. Many evenings will be are spent out here.
Speaking of finding inspiration, summer is almost upon us—long days, warm nights, sweltering afternoons. It's time for good cold beers, taking advantage of whatever water we can find to dive into, and trying new recipes that require little to no cooking.

Except it's also time for pickles, which often lead me to spend hours upon hours on my feet in the kitchen standing over a vat of boiling vinegar. It gets hot.

Anyway, I have goals for this summer. I am so very inspired to be in the kitchen and learn new things.

I'm feeling adventurous... Here's what I want to do with my summer:
  • Grow curcurbits (squash, zucchini, cucumbers, melons...)
    Given my rocky past with the squash vine borer, this could be difficult, but I am up for the challenge. So far (knock on wood), the plants are thriving and we have eaten squash and zucchini for three meals and counting. 
  • Make popsicles.
    My Progressive popsicle mold arrived at my doorstep last week, and the first recipe I tried was a mixed berry and Greek yogurt concoction. It's tangy, healthy, and hits the spot for something cold. But I can't wait to try some of the many, MANY recipes I've posted tons on my kitchen Pinterest board (which begs the question: should I start a popsicle Pinterest board?).
  • Make small-batch pickles and jams.
    In a fit of spring cleaning, I emptied out about 20 jars of pickles and jams from the last two years that we never ate, into the compost bin. It broke my heart, but it also taught me an important lesson: turn to small batches. This will give me flexibility to try many more recipes (hey, how about making it through the Put 'Em Up canning book?), not to mention create less waste.
  • Make homemade yogurt.
    I've been buying Greek yogurt by the quart, and I remember this being such an easy process. So I'll try it again. 
  • Make something fermented, like kimchi or kombucha.
    Oh, yes, I'm going there. Having brought it up in conversation with colleagues, two of them (separately) said, "Oh, you seem like the type of person who'd do that." Though kimchi may be better suited for a winter project since it involves cabbage, home-brewed kombucha may be a lot of fun. Bring on the SCOBY.
And a couple of non-food related summer goals...
  • Learn to play the ukulele.
    I'm somewhat musical thanks to my genes (not my practicing habits), and it is a dream of mine to lay in the hammock all summer playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on a uke. Perched in the garden with my tiny not-a-guitar, Fin by my side, Ryan bringing me a fresh beer when mine runs dry... Sounds awesome, right? My sister just got one, so I imagine there will be some duets in our future. 
  • Take Fin swimming. A lot.
    That girl loves park time, and we haven't gone nearly enough. So I want to try and do that for her, a lot.
What do you want to do with the summer?


Beth said...

Totally bought the same popsicle mold. First up - sour cream, cherries (frozen long ago from the whole food sale), and tequila.