Ronnie Paul: The endless summer
It’s officially fall and the occasional smoke-free sky lures many of my friends to go hiking at the river. I’m often invited, but prefer to celebrate such a glorious day differently.
When I wake up to a clear blue sky, my pulse races excitedly. Before even a sip of my morning espresso, I wander around the house looking for anything conceivably dirty to toss in the laundry basket. Even a slight smudge on a sock will do. Sometimes the collected washables overflow and I need Jeff’s brawn to haul the basket downstairs.
My exuberance begins with the simple thrill of measuring the lemon-scented detergent that fights tough stains. Like a runner anticipating a race’s starting whistle, I get an endorphin rush when I hear the last buzz from the washing machine. Now it’s finally time to head outside to the clothesline.
Dragging a basket loaded with wet clothes, I head for the line that’s strung between a tall fir and a still-leafy maple. And for those special “Heavy” loads, I run an extra line from the maple to a tetherball pole whose gnawed ball looks like a bear mistook it for a cantaloupe.
The hammock’s folded away, the umbrellas are lowered, and the tomatoes are canned and shelved. Summer’s over, but a clothesline billowing with colorful sheets and underwear, all waving like a Tibetan prayer flag, helps keep the spirit of summer alive.
I hope these recipes refresh your cooking spirits and taste buds.
The Endless Summer Crunch
When I use summer’s berries from the freezer, I’m transported to a warm sunny beach.
¾ cup blackberries
¾ cup raspberries
1½ teaspoons lemon juice
2¼ teaspoons brown sugar
A pinch of cinnamon
6 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons white flour
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut in pieces
Toss the berries with the lemon juice and mix with 2½ teaspoons of brown sugar and cinnamon.
Combine the Crunch ingredients with a fork, better yet, reclaim your childhood and scrunch everything together with your fingers. The outcome should resemble coarse meal.
Generously grease four ramekins. Divide the berry mixture into each and top with the Crunch.
Bake the ramekins uncovered for 30 minutes until the juices bubble and the top browns. For extra crunch, broil for 2 minutes.
Hot, cold, room temperature: however you eat it, summer feels endless.
Quinoa-Green Bean Salad
Green beans are still blooming, so grab a bit of summer with this salad.
½ cup raw quinoa
1 cup water
6 ounces green beans, cut in bite-size pieces
¼ cup toasted walnuts
¼ cup chopped red onion
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tablespoon fresh dill
Salt and pepper
Bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Turn the flame down, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes until the pearls are transluscent. Uncover, fluff, and cool.
Drop the green beans in boiling salted water. Watch carefully, because it takes only three minutes for them to become tender. When done, rinse with cold water and drain.
Toss everything together and chill before serving.
Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.
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