It's almost the end of summer time, and I honestly can't say that the living's been easy, but the cooking has been.
Take Tuesday night's dinner: lime and garlic chicken breasts, roasted potatoes and cucumber and tomato salad. My picky eaters gobble up potatoes, roasted with olive oil and sea salt, faster than French fries. The homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers were dressed with what Bonny from Hip Cooks calls the "Holy Trinity" - a splash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sea salt. Simple and easy.
Easier yet? Pick up a roasted chicken from Soumarelo in Pasadena. The chicken, along with a package of pita bread and a pint of rice pilaf, costs a whopping $7.99. Toss your own salad and dinner is served.
Summer time drinks tend to be on the sweet side: lemonade (made from backyard Meyer lemons), Sangria (backyard lemons and oranges) and sweet tea. What's the common denominator in these three beverages? Simple syrup.
I once paid $6.00 for a bottle of simple syrup, which is more embarrassing than the time I paid $20 for a pair of J. Crew flip flops that I could have purchased from my local Rite Aid for 99 cents. In case you didn't know, simple syrup is equal parts sugar and water, brought to a boil and simmered slowly until the sugar dissolves.
I usually make a cup of simple syrup at the same time that I make the beverage, but I recently got smart. I made up a quart of simple syrup and now store it in my refrigerator so that beverage making is simpler than ever. (Japanese coffee shops frequently offer a small bottle of simple syrup at the table for iced tea. Brilliant!)
While I was at it, I decided to start storing water in the same kind of bottle. Mozza Pizzeria uses a similar bottle for their free tap water, as does the Bodega Wine Bar at Paseo Pasadena. For some reason, the water tastes better when I pour it out of the glass flask.
I think I just posted a recipe for water. How simple is that?