Thursday, June 05, 2008

Summer fare

I know there are some people out there who like to map out their dinner schedules ahead of time: They know they’re making grilled salmon salad on Tuesday, homemade pizzas on Friday and stovetop macaroni and cheese over the weekend. I am not one of those types of meal planners. Though I meticulously plan my shopping (always have dark chocolate, fruit, Greek yogurt, goat cheese and a variety of sausages for pizzas on hand) my meal planning is much more spontaneous.

Inspiration most often comes from what I catch in bits and pieces from the Food Network and read in newspapers, food magazines and on food blogs. If I see a recipe that looks good, I can’t stop thinking about it until I make it.

Here are a few great recipes I have come across recently. I’ve made all of them at least once, and I recommend them without reservations:

Crostini with sun-dried tomato jam from Giada DeLaurentiis
I made the jam a day ahead of time and bought my baguette from La Chatelaine.

Spicy, Garlicky Cashew Chicken by Melissa Clark in the New York Times.
The recipe suggests grilling the chicken but we used the broiler since we were out of propane. It still turned out great.

Rhubarb-Sour Cream Snack Cake with Walnut Streusel from Cooking Light.
My dad likes to say that people like rhubarb because it’s simply a vehicle for sugar. This recipe is one of many that support his premise. When I made this for my book club I garnished the cake with whipped cream and a sprig of mint and it looked very cute.