So this post was supposed to be done on Sunday, but unfortunately I, unlike Max, am:
- Not super organized with respect to this blog. Or life, really.
- Apparently quite disposed to losing drafts. It’s already happened twice, and this is only my second post on here…
- Bad at publishing. And keeping pictures in.
Now that that’s over with, what I really wanted to talk to you about was my intense love of summer (in honor of the recent solstice). Summer sunshine, the faint scent of honeysuckle on summer breezes, the fact that it’s suddenly okay to eat ice cream at any time of day for any meal, the lack of classes (and the stress that comes with them), shorts and sundresses and sandals, playing with things like water guns and bubbles, more festivals, picnics, cooking outside, the lush green of deciduous tree leaves, the pervasiveness of some of the best fruits… the list really goes on forever, so I’ll just stop there and save you my rambling. Basically, summer is THE BEST.
In terms of food, what I really love about summer is the freshness things tend to have. Growing up, my family had a vegetable garden, so I equate summer with beautiful juicy tomatoes, plenty of zucchini (mostly finding its way into delicious breads), various types of salad leaves, beans, and luscious blackberries and raspberries. Thus, to really celebrate the start of summer, I wanted to make something that captured that freshness. For some reason, in my mind that immediately equated to summer tacos, something I previously had just about zero experience with. Surely, this couldn’t be too hard…
Recipe of choice: Fried Summer Squash Tacos with a Charred Corn Salsa from A Cozy Kitchen, found here.
These tacos are everything I wanted them to be; fresh yet substantial, and just bursting with flavor. Basically, they’re composed of 3 parts:
Courtesy of Trader Joe’s, because I was NOT making tortillas. I chose the little ones because I like mini things.
THE SUMMER SQUASH BATONS:
Honestly, I was skeptical of these at first. A vegetarian taco? My thoughts in a word? “Ehhhh…” I very nearly substituted chicken for these but then for the sake of remaining true to the recipe didn’t. The verdict? THANK GOD I DIDN’T. These are so yummy, and definitely substantial enough to carry the tacos. I chose to bake instead of fry them, but because the corn (more about this soon) was taking so long, my oven was occupied. As a result, I attempted to fry some of them… until I realized that my entire room was filled with smoke, and I was in danger of setting off the building’s fire alarm. After that I opened a couple of windows and stuck to using the oven. They still were as crispy and yummy as any deep-fried fries you might find. Since we had so many (I didn’t exactly strictly follow the recipe with regard to amounts…) my roommates enjoyed eating some of them with ketchup as fries. Also, squash is now my favorite thing to cut; it provides just the right amount of resistance and yet cuts like butter.
CHARRED CORN SALSA:
THIS IS MY FAVORITE PART OF THE ENTIRE MEAL. The flavors combine perfectly: the sweetness and slight smokiness of charred corn, the kick of jalapeño, the freshness and acidity of the lime juice, all mixed together with red onions, ricotta salata (which I subbed for the unfindable queso fresco), and cilantro. Granted, this was also the most time-consuming part of the meal, simply because I lack a grill or gas stove or any other sort of similar fire source. I tried to char the corn using the oven, but even after nearly an hour of cooking (when it had clearly cooked and even begun shriveling), it was no closer to browning. Finally, I gave up on the conventional oven (mostly because I needed to cook the squash batons), and threw the corn into the toaster oven on high for a few minutes, when it finally charred a little. Still, all that grief was worth it when it all came together.
I would definitely make this again (maybe even just the individual components), though I’d take into consideration the time commitment and probably find a different way to char the corn.
Recipe difficulty: 5/10 (It wasn’t that difficult, except maybe actually frying the squash batons…)
Overall experience: 3.5 Connie heads out of 5! I spent much of the time cooking panicking because I didn’t realize how much time everything would take, but I really enjoyed the outcome.
Taco: AHHH I’M FALLING.
Lime slice: “I will never let you fall/ I’ll stand up with you forever…~”