Stick a fork in this project, then top it off with unnecessary chia seeds

Having run out of June Bon Appetit entrees, I finally had a chance to go wild and make anything my heart desired for dinner. Where to start? Cauliflower and greens soup, obviously! Okay, maybe I'm a little out of practice at recipe selection. In retrospect, the description was clearly a red flag: "The color is nice, and the soup is fast."

"The taste is Spinach Water" was probably implied.
I put off this BA#59: tamarind and date agua fresca because it required me to go way out of my way* to find tamarind pulp, but aside from never ever wanting to see my "fine-mesh sieve" again, I was pretty happy with the result. Tamarind is pleasantly sour and there are no gooey seed clumps floating in it.

*To the Indian grocery a 1/2 mile from my house.
No idea why I saved this BA#60: apricot crumble parfait for last, though. It was easy! And ice cream! Why avoid it until the very end?

I mean, look how hard this child is selling it!

I kind of love whoever was responsible for this series of photographs.
SURELY Anna can approach this with less skepticism than Red up there.

"Skeptical" and "forlorn" are two different things, so I'm calling it a success.
WHOA YOU GUYS WE DID IT! 60 SUMMER RECIPES! I have to say, it was maybe the summery-est summer ever, which was the main goal. Being irritated and overwhelmed actually made the time pass pretty quickly, so I'm going to keep that in mind for future attacks of boredom. Based on my experience, I'm going to posit that on the whole, Bon Appetit is probably not for people who:

  • are vegetarians
  • are on ANY sort of budget
  • enjoy their current pant-size
  • dislike crustaceans
  • prefer simplicity
  • hate entertaining

That's not to say that there weren't some hidden gems. I guess since I went to all the trouble to cook the entire magazine, I may as well do a rundown:

  1. Cucumber and radish salad. An unfortunate, vinegar-drenched beginning. C-
  2. Roast chicken with
  3. Pistachio salsa and
  4. Peppers and corn. A for the juicy chicken, B+ for the pistachios, C+ for the oddly bland peppers and corn.
  5. Taqueria guacamole. I'm not sure what guacamole would have to do to get less than an A from me and I hope never to find out. A
  6. Rajas poblanas. Very nice vegetarian taco filling. Slightly spicy and tangy. A+
  7. Fresh corn tortillas. These were just fine, but I'm deducting points because there are perfectly good instructions on the back of the masa bag, so tortilla recipes are pointless. B
  8. Brown rice salad with crunchy sprouts and seeds. Nice flavor. I do not believe "crunchy sprouts" actually exist. B
  9. Cantaloupe-basil agua fresca. Just eat a cantaloupe and save yourself three hours. C
  10. Tomato-basil sauce with polenta. It's hard not to give a good rating to anything that makes the house smell this nice, no matter how much polenta confuses me. A-
  11. Halibut with spring onion and summer squash sauté. Light, quick, summer-y. A-
  12. BombeBasticks. Delicious. Difficult. The name just made me roll my eyes all over again. B-
  13. Fresh chorizo. Yes please. A+
  14. Creole-spiced shrimp. For someone who emphatically dislikes shrimp, I actually enjoyed this a lot. A-
  15. Kielbasa with onions and poblanos. Generally, if something is intended to be served with mustard and crusty bread, it's a winner. Also extremely easy to put together. A
  16. Black rice salad with mango and peanuts. Eh. My personal preference is for rice, pasta, and grains to be hot, which is going to be reflected in the scoring for all of these salads. B-
  17. Watermelon and grapefruit agua fresca. See #9, replace "cantaloupe" with "watermelon." C, but when vodka is added it's an A, so we'll give this one a B overall
  18. Pico de gallo. This is a standard, acceptable version of pico. B+
  19. Yucatan-style habanero salsa. I wouldn't make it again, but having consumed it and survived gives me a nice, warm (very warm, actually pretty hot) feeling of accomplishment. B
  20. Cumin and ancho chicken. It's possible that I'm just a fan of taco fillings. A+
  21. Tony's steak. Good flavor, and I like that at least some of the summer recipes involved the grill. Could have had a better texture. A-
  22. Quinoa tabbouleh. I think quinoa is my exception to the above-stated "no cold grains" rule. A-
  23. Shrimp in adobo. For someone who emphatically dislikes shrimp, I...found this to be edible. B-
  24. Pink lady milkshakes. So unnecessary, yet less disgusting than they sound. C+
  25. Cocoa-date truffles. A little bit of a mess to make, but really, really good for something with no refined sugar. A
  26. Grilled pork chops and peaches with pole beans. Yay for the grill and yay for the great flavor on the chops and extra yay for grilled peaches. Boo for green beans that retain structural integrity. A-
  27. Spiced cucumbers and coconut milk. I think this one benefited from extremely low expectations. B
  28. Fish filets with tomatoes, squash, and basil. This seemed very healthy. B-
  29. Curried spelt salad. I could not face these leftovers, so Dan had to finish it. C-
  30. Grilled flatiron steaks with
  31. Tomatoes and
  32. Tapenade. B+ for the steaks, B+ for the tomato salad, A for the tapenade because IIIIII loooooove olives.
  33. Vanilla-roasted rhubarb and strawberry. Smelled better than it tasted. B-
  34. Cucumber salsa. I can barely even remember this, so it was obviously neither great nor awful. I'm going to guess "pointless." C+
  35. Slow-roasted salmon with
  36. Cherry tomatoes and couscous and
  37. Yogurt sauce. The salmon was not particularly special, especially for the cover recipe, and it required the kitchen to be hot for a long time, C+. Cherry tomatoes and couscous are fine, B. Yogurt sauce was the KEY element of this dish, A-.
  38. Seared short-rib. I cannot cook beef correctly. Bon Appetit continues to let this happen. C
  39. Quick-pickled onions. Good way to brighten up tacos. A
  40. Toasted guajillo chile salsa. It was a little tough to track down dried guajillo peppers, but the result was really nice. A-
  41. New potatoes with dill butter. The least objectionable Scandinavian dish I have yet encountered. A-
  42. Carrot and yogurt sauce. This is exactly what it sounds like. I found that it tended to get lost amongst the more...interesting Danish flavors. B-
  43. Shrimp and cucumber salad with horseradish mayo. I only had one, tiny, aquavit-fueled bite of this, so this will probably be an unfair assessment. C-
  44. Peach-blueberry ice cream pie. Why not? B+
  45. Aquavit spritzers. Keep in mind that I did give these extra credit for helping inspire some pretty sweet dance moves. F
  46. Blueberry Smash. This benefits from being the only other cocktail and not containing aquavit, but it was still pretty bitter and unpleasant. I don't go for sweet drinks, but had to add a little sugar to make this palatable. C
  47. Grilled clams with herb butter. Mmmm, herb butter. A-
  48. Basmati rice and summer vegetable salad. NO. RICE. SALADS. EVER! C
  49. Strawberry tarts with ginger-nut crusts. A pain to put together, but highly tasty. B+
  50. Summer house lobster salad. This one is tough. How can you put a price on adventure? Oh, $14/lb? Okay. C+
  51. Black barley, fennel, and radish salad. No. C-
  52. Hot fudge sauce. This is like guacamole. Don't ruin it and you're gonna get an A. A
  53. Marshmallow sauce. Not for me, but the kiddos love it. B+
  54. Sweet-and-salty peanut butter sauce. You have no idea how hard it's been for me to know this is in the fridge and not just gulp the rest of it down. A+
  55. Cherry compote. Almost too virtuous, containing real fruit and whatnot. B+
  56. Wet walnuts. Hee. A++
  57. Chocolate, cardamom, and coffee ice cream sandwiches. Probably the best "grown-up ice cream" entry. A
  58. Chia limeade. If you really like limeade and you don't want to have to share, this is one option. C
  59. Tamarind and date agua fresca (above). A good excuse to check out your Asian grocer. Interesting flavor. B
  60. Apricot crumble parfait (above). Much, much better than the children suggest. A
And that's that! Overall average: B. Turns out I really like tacos and ice cream! What a journey.