Just as it did 8 years ago, when Mr. Gateau and I got married, summer has showed up a bit earlier than expected with several steamer trunks and indicated its intention to stick around. This weekend ushered in a 90 degree-plus heatwave, complete with humidity and evening thunder and lightning. It's sticky and dehydrating, but it's also deliciously relaxing to slow down to a crawl, throw some stuff on the grill, and marvel at how the garden is already getting overgrown and lush.
We kicked off the season with an invitation to join our friends for a little cookout. They did hamburgers, hot dogs, sweet Italian sausage, and shrimp skewers rubbed with spicy Cajun seasoning (perfect). I made my Greek-ish pasta salad, which is really the only kind of pasta salad I can stand. It's tricolor rotini (I used whole wheat here, this is a good recipe for that) tossed with pitted kalamata olives, feta, thinly-sliced red onions, sundried tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, and a big handful of chopped mixed garden herbs, plus olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar. Other additions that would be good depending on who you're serving it to would be capers, anchovies, or roasted red peppers.
This evening we're expecting other friends for grilling, and I'll be serving roasted red pepper and feta dip with pita chips, lemon-marinated green olives, and marinated mushrooms to start, then grilled flank steak (in my mother's trademark marinade of ketchup, mustard, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, garlic, pepper, salt, and a little soy sauce), leftover pasta salad, corn with lime-chili sauce or butter and salt, and a salad of stuff from the farmer's market -- roasted beets, baguette slices with herbed goat cheese, lettuce, and arugula, with raspberry vinaigrette. Then we'll have some fruit and ice cream for dessert. My friends are bringing a summer cocktail, can't wait.