Thundering into Summer

thAs I type this early this morning, it is thundering a little and sprinkling outside. All is quiet in the house, my coffee is warm and by my side. Is there anything more cozy than a springtime thunderstorm? Not many things.

I was supposed to chaperone a field trip today but that fell through. I think the gods are telling me in their own fabulous way to take it easy today. Maybe I’ll even do something wild, crazy and decadent and plunk down on our front porch for a little spell with a stack of magazines. The almighty schedule has been so crammed lately that sitting for even 10 minutes has not been an option. Porches and rain do go together so incredibly naturally. It’s one of my favorite features of our home. Sit outside with a roof overhead, a comfy place to sit and watch the world go by. Peanut butter and jelly. Donny and Marie (showing my age, ha). Porches and Rain. Perfect.

The seed packets that I bought a month ago will wait until this weekend due to today’s rain and the window boxes will finally get filled, too. The yard is coming to life again. Memorial Day weekend, the unofficially start of summer. What a good string of words, right? I am hell-bent on actually planting those seeds this year, too. I buy packs every year for my favorite sunflowers and then promptly forget about them, only to find them stuck somewhere among my planting things in August. I have visions of towering sunflowers scattered all throughout my garden, their big heads alternately turning towards the sun and looking at the passers-by. Those bright giants are somehow both strong and gentle. To stand in a field of them in Tuscany is on my Bucket List for sure. I imagine them all turning my way, seeming to declare “You made it!”.

As I have been mentioning, it’s been a busy time around here. I can’t really complain, though, as all the items on “the list” have been good things. This past weekend’s big stuff was a musical that my daughter was in as well as my husband’s birthday, back-t0-back, with visiting grandparents sandwiched in between. Needless to say, lots of cooking was done. In fact, I realized that when you have company, all the host really does is cook, which frankly is fine with me, as I enjoy cooking. But a pizza (made by someone else) is looking pretty darned good right about now.

A few new recipes that I stumbled on recently were so good that we revisited them for the hubby’s birthday. Seriously, I had made these about a week ago and he/me/we loved them so much that a mere seven days later, we were chomping on them again. I was laughing while we ate these steaks because I’ve, to date, never seen my husband attack a steak the way he did this one.  These will be perfect for the summer and more pointedly, for this kick-off summer weekend. Easy but just a little bit different. Love!

Hang a flag, pull out the sandals, sit on a porch…

Masala-Rubbed Steak

The original recipe was from Martha Stewart Living and it called for making the spice mixture yourself, but I simply used Penzey’s Garam Masala and turned it into the easiest recipe known to man. We also made this recipe with Porterhouse steaks and NY Strip Steaks (about 1.5″ thick). Both were delish.

Season each side of the steaks with 1 Tb. Garam Masala spice mixture, let stand for about 30 minutes. Cook about 6-7 minutes on each side. Let rest when taken off the grill to let juices settle.

Cucumber and Coconut Salad, courtesy of Martha Stewart Living
Serves 6

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 English hothouse cucumber, cut into thirds crosswise
1 cup unsweetened large-flake coconut
2 Tb. coconut water
1 Tb. fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
2 tsp. sugar, plus more for seasoning
Coarse salt

Place onion in a bowl of ice water. Let onion stand 10 minutes, then drain. Thinly slice cucumbers lengthwise with a handheld slicer or peeler and place in a large bowl. Add onion and coconut and gently toss to combine. Add coconut water, lime juice, sugar, and 1.5 tsp. salt and gently toss again to combine. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Before serving, season with salt and sugar.

*I also served corn on the cob alongside these dishes, which made for a nice colorful plate!

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