Impromptu Summer Meals

We had a very good friend from St. Olaf over on short notice today and I managed to cook up a fun summer lunch. Amazing what you can come up with using the stuff you’re trying to get rid of before a move.

We’ll call the main course “Pizza Quiche.” I threw 6 eggs, 1 c. of 1% milk, and some salt, pepper, cayenne, and oregano into the blender and then whipped up a pie crust by combining 1 c. white flour, 1/2 c. whole wheat flour, some salt, a dash of dry mustard, and a dash of dried garlic flakes, then quickly blending in just under 1/2 c. canola oil and about 1/4 c. of buttermilk. It was a really tasty crust and I rolled it out pretty thick to line my pan. I lined the bottom of the crust with slices of pepperoni and a couple handfuls of drained petite diced tomatoes from a can and a generous handful of shredded cheese blend. I poured on the egg mixture and then added more pepperoni, tomatoes, and cheese and baked the whole thing at 425 for 15 minutes and then 350 for another 25. It came out perfect and the whole wheat crust was really nice.

For a salad I threw together spring mix with spinach, four sliced strawberries, and half a sliced peach. I dressed it with an ice cube I had from two summers ago of fresh blended basil, melted and combined with lemon juice and a bit of oil. The basil went great with the fruit!

Our friend brought a bottle of sparkling white summer wine which was lovely, even though we drank it out of little disposable plastic punch cups since we just packed our wine glasses.

For dessert I served a bar of Lindt dark chocolate with chili that a friend had given us as a hospitality gift a few weeks back and a bowl of fresh cherries. May’ve been my last shot at creative cooking and hospitality in this apartment, and it was fun!

Last night we had a similarly creative dinner out of what was on hand, shared with a good friend from church who we invited on short notice. It was the end of a busy day of packing. I used up a 1 lb. pork tenderloin from the freezer, seared on the stove and then baked an hour at 350 covered in a mixture of coarse dijon, honey, and cloves. I microwaved sweet potatoes (It’s magic, I tell you!) and served them whole in their skins with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar for toppings. Salad was left-over bottled dressings on big ice-cold wedges of iceberg. So pretty! Dessert was tiny scoops (all we had!) of vanilla ice cream generously smothered in fresh sliced strawberries and garnished with squares from a sea salt Lindt dark chocolate bar.

I think what I find most fun about cooking like this is the complete lack of forethought and the ingenuity of using up stuff from our fridge and freezer. I guesss I just tend to like improv, if it’s in a medium I’m comfortable with.


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