I love the slow, free-form days of late summer.
My kids are done with the few camps they enrolled in and our days unwind lazily. We often take a long walk to the park or in the neighborhood when their binge-watching needs checking or we need to talk about what we all want to do/see/eat in Paris.
We have impromptu picnics, or get ice cream as needed.
And everywhere I go I’m picking up berries
and putting them on
and in everything.
I’ve also been taking long walks and eating with friends I don’t see nearly enough.
I like to turn leftovers or farmer’s market loot into simple lunches we can eat on my porch or backyard and catch up (like with this grilled tofu and quinoa bowl with veggies and mint-tahini dressing).
Late last week I realized it’d been too long since I’d hung out with like my pal Bernadette, so I called her up.
She says she’s always so flummoxed come meal-making time, so I made a plan.
First we took a long walk in my beautiful neighborhood
and then came back to my kitchen to cook together.
She is headed off to a big family reunion in California and I wanted to arm her with one of my favorite warm weather salad recipes–Le Puy lentils with cherry tomatoes, cucumber and lots of lots of fresh herbs.
It’s so refreshing –and it lasts happily in the fridge for days (just add the tomatoes right before serving as they don’t like the chill).
We had so much fun chopping and then eating– and she was so excited to add a new dish to her repertoire.
Here she is showing off her efforts.
Isn’t she a doll?
(I made so much that I packed up most off the leftovers and left it on friends doorsteps).
Another day I made this Thai Turkey Larb – and a different friend and I scarfed it down in lettuce cups (with my family eating the remains in wraps that night).
And this weekend I turned leftovers from the previous night’s grill
into killer pork-corn-avocado burritos for another girlfriend and I to enjoy after our walk.
Don’t you love these kind of leftovers?
And now, I’m dying to show you this wonderful bake sale I stumbled upon in my neighborhood early Sunday morning.
It was set up so beautifully –umbrella, chalkboard sign, homemade stand and the all-glass accessories.
I got to talking with both the dad and mom who were helping their kids run it.
They both talked about how much they love to cook and bake and they wanted their kids to have fun with it, too.
The guy made the stand from a pallet as a Father’s Day present for himself and his crew, and they’ve enjoyed baking every weekend and selling their stuff to neighbors known and new.
I started with some of their cold brew coffee
and it was spot-on (and check out the adorable sugar pourer).
But here’s the thing — not only was the stand set up adorable (as were the kids running it), but these guys made some incredible food.
I bought almost everything they made and it was all so delicious.
I brought it all home and the kids and I gobbled it up on our front porch.
The biscuits were amazing with their homemade jam
and the zucchini bread was one of the best quick breads I’ve ever eaten in my life — impossibly moist, fragrant and flavorful.
What a treat– and I hope I’m able to find this stand out front again.
These folks (and their outstanding food) perfectly embody what make this little neck of the woods so special.
Thanks, biscuit-making neighbors! Good job, Zack and Lucy — you’re stellar stand owners.
So that’s life in Portland right now — an embarrassment of riches from the farmers markets, and happily the time with friends to most enjoy it.