Cover Story

Summer Simple

A lot of good food with little effort

By Sheryl Julian
Globe Staff / August 17, 2011

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This is no time to cook, to turn on the oven and heat up the whole kitchen, run four burners simultaneously, get involved with food projects that take an afternoon. Do that when the beach doesn’t beckon, when there aren’t so many tempting things to do on a weekend, when it isn’t the most glorious time of summer. Right at the moment when we least feel like cooking, farm stands and farmers’ markets are heaped with all the things we’ve been waiting for: tomatoes that really did ripen on the vine, slender slicing cukes without waxy skin, frilly lettuces, voluptuous basil, snappy green beans, corn with its silk still damp.

Buy it all and once you get home, do as little as possible. You may need a saucepan or a skillet, a big bowl or two, something to grate with, a good knife. Toss pasta with a simple zucchini sauce and plenty of Parmesan, mix corn and sugar snap peas for a modern succotash, shred cabbages and fennel into a colorful slaw, and add grated vegetables to quinoa for a salad. As the finishing touch on your vegetarian feast, grill or broil nectarines, peaches, or other stone fruits, tuck a square of dark chocolate into the centers, and let it melt for a moment. You come to the table appearing brilliant, when you hardly did anything. Lazy is looking good.