Welcoming summer, as always, with open arms

Hello, Americans! How was our first grill of the season? Nobody jumped the gun and grilled before this weekend, right? Even those who live in an area of the country whose bearable outdoor days are rapidly dwindling, tumbling ever faster into four months of lung-and-soul crushing heat, making this more of a last than first hurrah vis-à-vis backyard activities? Good, good.

As GRILL THINGS WEEKEND is a bit of pressure, I decided to warm up with Cookbook #58: The Best Grill Pan Cookbook Ever (Marge Poore, 1999). Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Alternate title: The Only Grill Pan Cookbook I Have Heard Of Ever.

I went with the Grilled Eggplant Salad with Tomatoes and Feta, which proved a really delicious lunch with the minor quibble that I found the grilled eggplants entirely unnecessary.

Unless you like your tasty foods to have bland sponge-beds. I'm not judging you.

Verdict: I should use my grill pan more often. It's not the book's fault that eggplants don't taste like anything, it's my fault for continuing to forget that fact time and time again. At least grilling makes them prettier! Keeper.

Monday morning breakfast was from a rerun cookbook, but it marked my first attempt at scones and was a glorious, cast-irony success. Homesick Texan's Apple Cheese Jalapeño Scones: highly recommend.

I will probably add jalapeños to all future scones just in case.

I didn't go strictly traditional with the midday grill (unrelated side note to those with regional English-language variations, if you ever invite me to a "barbecue" and serve hamburgers and hot dogs, there will probably be tears). Instead, I decided to give grilling pizza a shot, mostly because it seemed the easiest loophole to wriggle through in terms of Cookbook #59: The Original Cook Like A Man Cookbook: The Last Male Art Form (Tabasco/McIlhenny Company, 2004). Provenance: this very clearly arrived in my mailbox for free. Previous recipes on this blog: wouldn't you have noticed if I had inexplicably started COOKING LIKE A MAN? (None.)

Look, I'm not going to bother bickering with something that was published by Phillip Morris. (Note that the original title was the Marlboro Cook Like a Man Cookbook.) Just accept that it is tiresome and vaguely reminiscent of some lesser episodes of Home Improvement. I will point out that the recipe for BBQ Clean Out The Icebox Pizza is essentially 1) find some pizza dough; 2) put cheese and other stuff on it; 3) cook it over fire.


I guess I will cop to the fact that at some point in college I filled out a Marlboro survey in a bar in exchange for one free pack of cigarettes and in the past 12 years have been hounded through several addresses and one name change with thrilling items such as lighters, bandanas, coupons, and this particular depressing cookbook. There are HIDDEN DANGERS TO SMOKING, children of America. This is what I'm saying.

I balanced the scales with a Sweet Onion, Thyme, and Farmhouse Cheddar pizza from the far more pleasant Pizza.


And then I edged those scales right over to "kinda girly" with Cookbook #60: Better Homes and Gardens Fruit Desserts (Better Homes and Gardens, 1996.) Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Was the recipe for Peach Pecan Ice Cream quite good or was my genius addition of a splash of Frangelico the key to its deliciousness: the world may never know.

Sweet scoop of mystery.

Anna loves a patriotic holiday. She was all over helping me with that last recipe, for example.

Her job is to clean the kitchen. I don't ask questions.

Though I'm not sure she was sold on this America-sized serving of lemonade.

She takes her lemonade European-syle (100 mL, no ice).