Or late summer. I suppose there’s a difference. Some people might take issue, being sticklers for exactness. That’s irrelevant. It’s not mid-summer, as next month, only a scant two weeks away, is September. The traditional time for “fall” and heading back to school.
High summer. Time for bouts of insufferable heat. Pop-up thunderstorms, which if running through evening hours, promise foggy tomorrow mornings.
Summertime. Prime grilling time. We’re fortunate here, that we can grill almost all year. If one doesn’t (and I don’t) mind a little snow and cold that makes surplus heat from the flame feel pretty dog-gone comfortable. But summertime is when grilling is best and almost expected.
That means steak – whether you favor ribeye, strip, filet, hangar, or some other (probably regionally named) cut. Blessed with a long summer season, though you could, I don’t think anyone would really want to do steak or burgers every time they fire-up the grill. “Every time: should be no less than four times a week.
Perfect alternate choices for the main grill item are chicken, pork, (beef or pork) ribs, or when it’s available, good lamb, fish, and “dogs” of every description. Real professionals, handily master roasts, and such. In that respect, I’m still pretty much the novice, though more than once I’ve grilled a tasty pizza.
And there’s little reason to do the “sides” in the kitchen – corn on the cob, potatoes1, asparagus, and other vegetables all work on the grill with only the slightest change in technique. One surprise though, is that vegetables usually require more time on the grill than meats. Fine. Sit back in a nearby chair with friends and family, chat, and if you’ve a mind, sip something more than refreshing.
Summer evenings. Waiting on the Grillmaster to finish and plate dinner. With enough light left, goldfinches and cardinals working away at denuding the zinnias and echinacea, first pulling off all the petals, then getting their fill of seeds. Later, fireflies. An occasional mosquito. As evening becomes real, swallows chasing whatever it is they chase high enough in the early evening sky they are invisible unless you know to look for them there. Depending on your latitude, cicada, crickets, or frogs for background music.
Summer. Sometime in summer, it’s time to plant garlic for next year. Maybe it’s later. I don’t know. That’s a question for my younger “big” sister. I’ll have to ask her. I could look it up but it’s a good reason to telephone to remind her “I rely on you for expert advice.”
Of course, you have to travel summer to get to my favorite time of year. Autumn. The part of autumn that starts in the northern US when you can hear and smell the field corn ready for harvest. Harvest you know is going to proceed the first early snowfall by only one or two weeks.
Autumn. The hard gourds finally ready to pick. Pumpkin, squash of a dozen varieties. The hardy greens that love cooler weather and struggle through summer – Kale, cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, the last peppers. Then the “holidays,” starting with Halloween. Big sister’s favorite as “it’s the only holiday that unabashedly celebrates candy!” Then Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Year seems not to make the official “I love the holidays” list. At least for me. Maybe because January declares spring with attendant muddy roads, winter refusing to give way to warmer weather, the struggle of another year.
But right now, it’s summer. Only one or two hours left before I can go out to fire-up the grill. Maybe fish tonight, with a nice mix of grilled vegetables. Yes. That sounds good. I’ll check with the Boss.
*1 I’ve a grilled potato recipe that is unbeatable. It’s so good, it runs a remarkably close second to “fully loaded” when it’s not fully loaded. Not in the Foodie or Recipe Blog business, I’ll not bother to detail that unless someone really wants me to. Also have a mushroom recipe for a superb accompaniment to steak or really any grilled main course. Same deal: no one wants to know; I’ll not waste your time.