Summer Menu. Or What’s Cooking?

I’m a fairly good cook. Not entirely self-proclaimed. Being a decent cook certainly has its plusses. Friends will happily accept dinner invitations, and nobody orders delivery just before meal time. But it also has its minuses. You see, I love eating out. Hubby might say It’s your birthday, let’s go out. Or maybe it’s Mother’s Day. Or a special meetup with out-of-town friends. That’s about it.

So what does a girl do? She develops an array of effective strategies to get out anyway. This week, for example, I have two lunch appointments in reputable restaurants. Cheers to that.

Happy hour 3 ud71To tell you the truth, deep inside I love cooking. But I’m not into following recipes. I find it boring. Following a recipe leaves no room for creativity. It also requires all kinds of measuring devices and detailed mathematical conversion skills. And I’m a big picture person. So that’s not for me. But don’t get me wrong, I love reading recipes from all over the world. They give me ideas.

flounder fillets ud71Anyway, last night I invented a new dish, suitably light for hot summer evenings. Filet de Flet à crabe. Or flounder fillets topped with a crab meat concoction (a heap of crab meat, one egg, olive oil mayonnaise, a few drops of Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, one poblano pepper, one shallot, black pepper and salt). To be served with spicy baked zucchini, tomatoes and if preferred, some cheese-lemon sauce on the side. After 35 minutes in 400F/200C oven – bon appetite.

filet de flet UD71Everyone will survive and accolades will follow. I know.

Tonight it might be pizza. I like the artistic freedom to throw tasty toppings on a super thin crust. After so many years in Africa, my favorite is the Kilimanjaro. BBQ-alfredo-mustard sauce and extra cheese to remind us of the yellow grass on the surrounding savannah, then small heaps of thinly sliced beef fillet for mini-mountains, topped with snow of feta cheese. A few chopped green bell peppers for bushes and some pineapple chunks for lions lurking around. And mushrooms for other animals. So yummy it requires a long after-dinner walk on the savannah….or at the salt marsh.

So that’s what’s cooking at my place.

island in the bay ud71Figuratively speaking, more things are cooking in the summer heat. Like a meetup with a bird photographer/blogging friend and his family early this week, family visits, photo hikes and overseas travel to cooler latitudes. And also on the summer menu: just relaxing. Recharging mind, body and soul.

What’s cooking at your place? Literally or figuratively.

79 thoughts on “Summer Menu. Or What’s Cooking?”

  1. I’m with you on cooking sans recipes ~> cookbooks are idea generators, not “rule books” to follow. That’s why I dislike baking. Baking requires more adherence to the rules.

    We don’t eat much seafood, but your flounder topping sounds like a winner winner crab for dinner.

    1. It was a winner. And now that I wrote it up, I’ll remember how to make it again. And like you, I don’t like baking – while it calls for egg breaking, it doesn’t allow much faking 🙂

  2. I, too, enjoy cooking. Thank you, Helen for sharing the summer menu, love it! ❤
    I love eggs and crab, that is a delicious combination! 🙂

    1. Cooking has something in common with photography, now that I think of it. You compose something of what you have in front of you 🙂 This dish was very popular…and easy to make. Thanks Amy ❤

    1. Thanks Hariod. I always like to experiment and when it turns out really good, I don’t remember what exactly I put into it 🙂

  3. I’m the same way, I don’t like followng recipes, but I do love reading them.
    This is what I do: I look in the fridge and garden (depending on if it’s summer), then I decide what needs using up first and make a meal out of those ingredients, that way, I use things before they lose their nutrients.
    Pizza is aways a favourite because it can have so many different and delicious toppings, funny, I made pizza and salad last night. 🙂

    1. That’s funny! I do exactly the same and it usually works well. Something tasty and healthy on the plate 🙂 Pizza it is tonight!

  4. Looks wonderful, Helen. Spaghetti red sauce made without a recipe is on the menu here today (cool temps this morning, lots of sun this afternoon) Happy relaxation and travel to you 😉 Susan

    1. Spaghetti sounds good! And the latest ‘wisdom’ now tells us it has good carbs 🙂 I stocked up on pasta last week, there’s so many different ways to throw together a good pasta dish. Thanks Susan, enjoy your summer too!

  5. Now that I’m hungry…thank you. 😉
    I love cooking but following recipes is not my thing either. It’s a base. Have fun this summer! You deserve it. ❤

    1. So cooking you go, my friend 😉 It is wonderful to be “off” for the rest of the summer, I really enjoy to be able to do whatever I want. Or nothing at all. I was just fooling around with Dylan, he always makes me laugh. hugs to you from both of us ❤

      1. When do we get more photos of Dylan? You can’t tell me you haven’t taken tons of pictures. haha! Hugs to you and Dylan from me and Sam. ❤

  6. Fun to see your delectable flounder fillets, Tiny, and hear about your cooking talents. I, too, really like to cook, and bake — I find it relaxing to do, and rewarding to enjoy. Have a fun week of delightful meals!

    1. Putting together a delicious meal is so much fun – and I agree, relaxing too! I love freshly home baked delights, but don’t have the patience to bake more than maybe for Christmas 🙂 Thank you Jet!

  7. That looks really tasty indeed. Nothing’s cooking here at the moment, but I’m hopeful that before too long we won’t be eating out so much. Tonight we’re invited to our neighbour’s for a BBQ. I’m taking the salads……bought of course. 🙂 Enjoy your lunch dates, Helen. xx

    1. I hope your kitchen will be ready soon! It’s great you have good neighbors and BBQ on a summer night sounds great! I’m looking forward to ‘shooting’ at the salt marsh tomorrow and then going for lunch with my blogging friend & family. Have a beautiful week and keep cool, Sylvia. XX

  8. What’s cooking? Literally, the insides of my nostrils when I step outside. We’ve endured 100+ degree days for weeks with the forecast calling for more of the same for 2+ weeks. Alas, a gift of living in the high desert. The upside is that it appears we may bypass our annual monsoon season – the intense heat being in lieu. Love the fact that you don’t follow recipes. Echoing that practice here, Helen. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your latest concoction. It looks/sounds delicious and of course, samples would be most appreciated.

    1. Oh that is hot! We are only above 100F heat index wise. This is supposed to be the rainy season for us, but we haven’t seen a drop in weeks here on the beach. It seems both of us only follow some good ‘recipes’ for life itself…and that is well enough. Looking forward to receiving your ‘recipe book’ 😀

      1. Touche to your clever play on recipe books. 🙂 I will admit, however, to following – diligently in some cases – to ‘my own’ recipes. Thanks for your fun reply, Helen.

  9. Eating a great tasting meal is like reading a great book…at the end of it you feel satisfied and jubilant! 🙂

  10. Probably something on the grill or salad – not super motivated to get moving. It’s been one of THOSE days. Your dinner looks delicious – I am certain it was tasty. Have a wonderful week.

    1. Thank you Karen. Our summer this year is hot and although this is our ‘rainy season’ we have not seen a drop in weeks. I am looking forward to visiting the Nordic countries in a few weeks and experiencing cool summer nights 🙂 Have a wonderful week, Karen.

  11. Good on ya Tiny! Yeh, I don’t cook to recipes either, I just feel the times and amounts and my wife is amazed that it is so good, when she has to follow a recipe:-) Yes it is that kindred creative flair that we bloggers share that takes us to another level in experience. I am sure everyone had a most enjoyable meal experience:-) Have a great week!

    1. I like to think cooking is a bit like photography…you compose something nice from the ingredients you have at hand 🙂 Creativity can take so many different forms. Have a wonderful week, my friend.

  12. Wow! You are creative in so many ways! But, it does seem like a summer menu with “just relaxing” should also include a few out-to-dinner nights. 😉

    1. I think cooking is a creative activity and when I have the time, I really enjoy it, but I’m hoping the summer menu also brings a few out-to-dinner experiences! Have a wonderful week, Cyndi!

    1. I love salads in the summer too, but I can only have a salad so many times. Soups are my favorites when we have a few cool days in the winter – so not too many soup dinners in a year 🙂

  13. I was only saying how much I’d enjoyed the meals over the past week, Helen. I can’t follow a recipe; and if I do I substitute this for that and watch with surprise to see what the result brings. It’s amazing how a little sugar or salt can change mundane to delicious. Naturally, I keep all that to myself and let my dinners talk for themselves. Generally they say yum… 😉
    Your Filet de Flet à crabe sounds delish; I do love crab especially. And, I love to cook!
    Here’s to cooking the adventurous way, dining out (or breakfasting out, which is a weekend habit), and letting inspiration guide… 🙂

    1. Inspiration is such a wonderful guide….for delicious results in whatever we do 🙂 I can easily see you love cooking too. Experimenting, creating from whatever we have is great and often brings sweet surprises! Have a lovely, inspired week, Carolyn. XX

  14. What a beautiful plate of food! My son loves to cook and arrange food attractively, too.

    I’m not so creative in the cooking department, but I frequently make changes to recipes. I make constant use of my slow cooker because I am a morning person and prefer to get any cooking out of the way early in the day. I guess I’m lucky my husband likes to eat out as much as I do. 🙂

    I have a deal with my sister-in-law, who is a fabulous cook. She cooks and I clean up – yes, I’d rather clean than cook – go figure…

    We’ve just said good-bye to son and daughter-in-law who were visiting, and are now getting ready for a visit from daughter and granddaughter. (Daughter takes after me – her husband does most of the cooking.) Might take a proper vacation in August, depending on how things go for husband’s work project.

    Enjoy your summer plans, Tiny!

  15. Flounder! Hmm hmm hmm. That fish always reminds me of a dear friend who passed away a year ago – he could make a mean flounder dish! It seems yours is mean, too judging by how it looks and the ingredients. PS/.. Your pizza describes my Africa beautifully 🙂

  16. You can come over and cook for me anytime! I do eat out at restaurants but mostly eat at home because I know what ingredients are in my meals! Too much hidden sugar, salt, emulsifiers, in restaurant meals. Having said that, I do have some favorite restaurants. I think the best cooks don’t adhere to recipes… what is the fun in that?

    1. I only do ‘guest cooking’ when I stay about a week or so 😀 I actually had a great restaurant meal today with my blogging friend and his family ‘Croquetas de Langosta’ with Maine Lobster meat. Delish…

  17. Some exciting cooking going on here. I have a friend staying who likes to cook! She likes to invent dishes, like you. It’s a great skill to have.

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