Food Friday: Summer Smackdown


Apparently Mr. Friday has been reading Food Friday, and feels as if I am taking advantage of his warm and generous nature. He seems to think I don’t appreciate his willingness to stand outside, and survive the heat and the onslaught of blood-thirsty mosquitos, while he toils, cooking meat over the back yard grill.

Well, yes, dear. While you survey your back forty when you baste and turn slabs of ribs, and when you flip sizzling hamburgers with the canine companion following your every move, I DO prefer to be inside. Sipping chilled (though economical) white wine. Listening to the The Dinner Party Download. Slicing cool seasonal fruits, whipping torrents of heavy cream, and arranging my homegrown hydrangeas. You go out there and do battle with the fire and the elements. I am enjoying the air conditioning. The alternative is clear – grilling or take out pizza.

Apparently it is my turn, in his estimation, to step up the summer dessert game. Sure, sliced organic strawberries served in vintage cobalt blue glass bowls are tasty – but could they be better? The pressure is on. Mr. Friday has a new gas grill, I have a massive new Kitchenaid mixer. We will observe BBC rules of engagement from The Great British Bakeoff – good manners at all times, with gasps of admiration and warm murmurings of encouragement throughout.

Night One:
He grilled admirable locally sourced Italian sausage and garlic Parmesan bread. Deelish. I made a rather exquisite Strawberry Fool. A cool, light, amuse bouche.

Night Two:
He grilled exquisitely marbled petit filet mignons and roasted baby potatoes. I assembled light-as-a-cloud Eton Mess. Jolly fine.

Night Three:
Rain. Out came the wok, and all the myriad bottles of soy sauce, rice wine, miso sauce, and garlic, jasmine rice, hot chiles, chicken, green onions, oyster sauce, fish sauce and mysterious incantations. I twirled up individual Peach Pavlovas. Alliterative and refreshing.

Night Four:
Mr. Friday skillfully grilled gourmet all-beef, grass-fed hot dogs with perfect grill marks for the Fourth of July. As a change from fresh fruit – I baked all-American chocolate chip cookies. From scratch. Humble, yet magnificent.

It was an escalation of desserts – starting small, sweet and simple; adding texture and layers as we went along. Fruit, whipped cream, meringues and then chocolate. A natural progression, as summer evolves.

The Summer Dessert Smackdown is in full swing. Join in the fun!

Strawberry Fool

It does not get much easier than that! Watch the video:

Eton Mess

This says four servings – I think it was closer to eight – meringue-wise. We had plenty of leftover meringues for the next night and individual Peach Pavlovas, and I still have 3 meringues in a bag waiting for the next Summer Dessert Smackdown. Egg whites stretch forever apparently…

Peach Pavlova

Note: We made individual pavlovas with the leftover meringues from the night before. And the amount of sugar in the peach mixture can be reduced by half. But this we found was a super clever way to use some of the basil from our burgeoning basil farm. So sophisticated! Yumsters!

“Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.”
― Alice Walker

About Jean Sanders

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