Plenty of quick and easy summer recipes offer delicious choices
Summer is the season of lazy days, listening to the ball game or reading a book while relaxing by the pool. It’s also the time of year when families pack up the car and hit the open road to go on vacation. For parents, summer can be a stressful time as they wonder how they’re going to handle having the kids home from school. Still, nearly everybody looks forward to the season where the days get longer and people work out and diet in order to get their bodies ready for public viewing at the beach. Every season has its own rhythm, such as the food people eat, and summer boasts quite a few simple recipes that everybody, including those residing at The Avenue at South Orange, New Jersey, can easily prepare.
South Orange, New Jersey, boasts a small town vibe as the township has an overall population of 17,021 individuals. (1) This quaint atmosphere dovetails nicely with the slower pace of the summer season. Children are thrilled when the last day of school arrives, allowing them to break free of the dreadful jail that is education. Grades 8 and 10-12 have their last school day on June 19th while all other grades get out on June 18th. (2)
One food that truly represents summer is the watermelon. Many residents of The Avenue heartily enjoy eating watermelon after its been suitably chilled to help beat the heat. But watermelon is pretty versatile as one can add it to smoothies and even fruit or vegetable juices. Watermelon can also be added to a fruit salad, and another option is adding it to salsa as it goes great with grilled shrimp or fish. Kids will love frozen pops made from pureed seedless watermelon with the addition of honey or cane sugar. (3)
Summer is definitely grilling season, whether one’s fuel of choice is wood, charcoal, or propane gas. There’s something inherently relaxing about grilling some delicious food while friends and family just chill out. Numerous vegetables, such as corn, are great for grilling, and fish and shrimp are also popular options. Of course, when Independence Day rolls around, it’s almost mandatory to fire up the grill and begin cooking platters of hot dogs, brats, and hamburgers. Kabobs are another tremendous grilling possibility.
The slow cooker can be a lifesaver during the summer. One can just put in the necessary ingredients, go to the movies, the beach, or shopping and then return home in the evening to a meal that is already prepared. One simple recipe is Korean pork lettuce wraps. The recipe begins with the cook whisking together miso, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper, and gochujang or Sriracha. Next, a pork shoulder is placed in the slow cooker along with the soy mixture that was previously whisked. After cooking 6 to 7 hours on high (or 8 to 10 hours on low), the pork should be tender. The pork should then be shredded and placed on lettuce leaves, along with radishes, green onions, cucumbers, and additional gochujang or Sriracha if desired. (4)
Cynthia Hernandez of The Avenue at South Orange says, “I’m always happy to see summer return. While I no longer get sunburned playing outside in the sun all day like I did as a kid, I still take time to enjoy the laid-back, lazy feeling of just relaxing at the beach or by the pool. Growing up, I always associated summer with ice cream as my parents would buy it for me from the ice cream truck that traveled through our neighborhood. As for keeping things cool, I enjoy drinking homemade lemonade while going on a picnic, and nothing beats an ice-chilled watermelon on a hot summer day. There are a lot of summer-themed recipes that are quick and easy to do, and I confess that I’m a total sucker for anything grilled. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the necessity of having fried chicken, potato salad, and macaroni salad on a picnic.” (5)
5) Quote from Cynthia Hernandez of The Avenue