It was a hot, lazy Sunday, and I spent the afternoon trying to put summer in a jar. That is all I did today. We were up late last night, enjoying friends and dining in the garden. There was even a cool breeze, a welcome respite from what has already been an unusually hot summer. We talked, we laughed, and we drank too much wine. Just like you’re supposed to do on a Saturday night. The ladies did a quick stirfy of pattypan squash, Italian tomatoes, garlic, onions and green beans, fresh-picked from the garden and dressed with a little olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. The guys grilled wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon to perfection on the Big Green Egg. We topped the salmon with very gently cooked Spice Girl eggs, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, which makes a simple, rich sauce that complements the salmon perfectly.
After sleeping in, sipping some coffee and paging through a wonderful new book, Local Flavors by Deborah Madison, I was inspired to loll around in the kitchen…for the entire afternoon. I love to do that on Sundays. I made a batch of garlic jelly with our own fresh garlic. The roasted garlic is pureed with apple cider vinegar and then cooked down with sugar and fruit pectin. It will be amazing brushed on pork or chicken when the cold weather comes. Then I roasted ripe, red Roma tomatoes until the skins were slightly charred and burst open. I could actually hear the skins pop under the broiler. Roasting tomatoes brings out their rich color and flavor.
I roasted more garlic, too–four whole gorgeous heads of it. I chopped onions and shredded fresh basil. I love the scent of basil, don’t you? After the tomatoes cooled, I slipped their skins off and seeded them. Then I chopped them up into nice chunks. Everything went into a giant pot with a shower of sea salt and a crackle of pepper, and simmered together, like one big happy Italian family. The taste of summer in a jar. Preserved via a nice, long hot water bath, this gorgeous sauce, served on a bed of linguine with shavings of Parmesan, will be a wonderful reminder of the summer garden on a cold winter’s night.