Lofty thoughts on this summer

It is still hot, although upper 80’s, NOT 90’s thankfully!

It is very smoky.

My 3 air conditioners and 2 fans run for 20 hours out of 24. (***Note: I am extremely thankful that I have the A/Cs and fans AND that I can pay the electric bill – It wasn’t as bad as I feared for July!)

BUT.

I realized this morning, that although I will certainly be glad when it gets cooler and the air clears and fire danger lessens … we are in a routine that works for Bear, Auggie and me. When I shut off the air conditioners and fans and open the windows, we enjoy the quiet and the cool morning. We go outside. We try to get 3 or sometimes 4 walks in before the sun gets high enough to heat things up. I do any cooking or baking with the windows open.

Once it warms, the house gets closed up, the air conditioners and fans are back on – I go to work, Bear and Auggie mostly nap.

Late afternoon, as I am fading a bit, Bear gets up. We do a very quick outing to the edge of the woods and then back in the cool house for a treat. A little play time as I fix supper and by the time we’ve all eaten it is starting to cool enough for a slow walk in the woods.

We take a longer walk about 8:00 when it is even cooler and many times there is a light breeze.

Back in the house, a final treat all around and we settle in for sleep.

It is a slower routine in the heat and smoke.

While it is most definitely not my favorite season, I am able to enjoy this summer pace. We are comfortable – mostly :) ! The fresh produce from local growers is at its peak and I am loving every bite of the local bounty.

It is nearly mid-August. Fall is on the horizon. But every day is a gift of time with Bear and Auggie and I am grateful for this time.

This ‘n that

According to an article in the local paper, July was the Fifth Hottest July on Record . We had plenty of days in the 90’s but some of the upper 90/100 forecast did not come to pass so YEA!

Still, I am happy that we’ve cooled a little, although part of the reason for the cooling is smoke from fires in Washington, British Columbia and Montana.

BUT!! – they are saying that there is a chance that some of the monsoon moisture hitting other parts of the Rocky Mountain West, just might make it into our territory. THAT would be welcome!

Meanwhile …

A broccoli rubble beetza! The sweet roast beets go nicely with the salty broccoli-asiago cheese mix.

On to a non-vegetable treat: ice cream.

Early last Summer, I saw No-churn Birthday Cake Ice Cream from In Jennie’s Kitchen . I have an ice cream maker so I took the easy route and churned it. The cake mixed in with the ice cream, absorbing some of the cream is very good! I made it several times. Last year I made it with a bakery white cake but this year I took it up a notch and made it with Mel’s Kitchen Café Mel’s Kitchen Café Lemon Blueberry Cake .

The other thing I like about the recipe is no eggs. I am not a fan of the custardy ice cream base even though that is supposed to be the best and according to gourmet recipes … the more eggs, the better. Jennie’s recipe is heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla … plus the cake. I’ve been using the cream, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla base in various ice creams and not only do I like it, but it is almost too easy.

Then one day I wanted ice cream but did not have heavy cream. I did have cashews and I have often subbed cashew cream for heavy cream in recipes. I gave it a try and it worked and I liked it. Heavy cream is mostly fat and while cashew cream has fat it also has protein and fiber. Probably more than you care to know…

This week’s ice cream is to be vanilla-mint with chocolate brownie crumbles in lieu of cake.

The cashews soaked for about 4 hours and then a whiz in the Vita-Mix…

… and we have cashew cream.

Ready to mix the ice cream: cashew cream, sweetened condensed milk, peppermint extract, a wee bit of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

The container and utensils go in the freezer when the ice cream goes in the maker.

Thirty minutes in the ice cream maker and we have the base.

Mix in the brownie crumbles and freeze. The brownies are Mel’s Kitchen Café Deep Dark Chocolate Brownies .

Vanilla mint ice cream with brownie crumbles. It’s pretty good :) !!

Back to vegetables.

This weeks box and extras: purple onions, zucchini, tomatoes, new potatoes, cucumber parsley, braising greens, lettuce mix 1/2 cabbage and the extras being a whole cabbage and red beets with greens. More good eating this week!

And a post would not be complete without some help from Bear (so tired!) and Auggie.

Cherries!!! … and good bye July!

Flathead Cherries are IN season!

Some years ago, I purchased 20 pounds. It was not a completely happy time with the pitting, etc.

Twenty pounds of cherries is a lot of cherries and I guess if I had to travel far to get them and/or the $$ savings was GREAT, I would … might do it.

I’ve been buying about 2 pounds at a time.

Two pounds is a very manageable quantity and by the time I’m done pitting, I am happy to be done but it is a quick chore.

There are cherry stands along the road on my way into Bigfork.

It is fun to stop and chat and get some cherries.

And today, it is the last day of July … AND tomorrow is August 1 which is day one of my birthday month. Hoo-Rah!

It is still hot and except for a 24-36 hour period … Tue afternoon until Thu morning cool off (back door cold front per NOAA), 90’sF are still the forecast. But it will be August and not July.

Onward!

The weather outside is frightful…

After a week of mid 80’s F, we went back to 90’s, although thankfully low 90’s so far. But 90’s are the forecast future and NOAA says that next week it might go to upper 90’s.

Frightful!

And no rain.

The no rain is typical, and the string of 90’s days is not unheard of but still, not quite typical. And certainly unwelcome!

The wet spring caused grasses and underbrush kind of things to grow and grow and grow. And now they are dead, dead, dead.

Which means they are fire fuel.

Frightful.

But the good news is that Lower Valley Farm – my farmer – has summer vegetables kicking in with a vengeance.

From last week’s haul:

A colorful slaw of red cabbage, rainbow carrots and purple onion.

Red raspberries on sourdough waffles!

Beetza-Beetza!! A pizza with slices of roast beets, drizzled with olive oil, and then roast Romanesco and some cheese. I could do worse for a mid-week supper.

Salmon, sliced cucumber, fresh raspberries – dinner heaven. I drizzled a light sesame oil vinaigrette over the cucumber.

Stuffed Patty Pan squash. The stuffing was hot smoked salmon, purple onion, asiago, mayo and a bit of monterrey jack.

Stuffed zucchini. Stuffing = a tomato-beef-Italian sausage sauce and some cheddar-mjack mix for cheese. Baked potato wedges for a side.

Week 11’s bounty: green onion, purple onion, lacinto kale, lettuce mix, basil, rainbow carrots, cucumber slicer, broccoli, zucchini, patty pan.

Extras purchased: another patty pan, red beets and TOMATOES!!!

The weather outside is frightful.

But the air conditioned inside is delightful.

Onward.