While running on Lake Street this evening, I passed by a couple tending to their petite sidewalk garden. The white-haired man wore a khaki vest with too many pockets and posed quite contently with a hose in-hand over his trough of flowers.
It reminded me of my grandpa and how he’d spend hours every afternoon watering the yard — the front yard, the back yard, the court yard, the orchids, the vegetables, the strawberries, the ferns, the protea, the bonsais, the cacti, even the ditch (an old irrigation ditch we grew marigolds in). I never thought of it as odd, but that was a serious amount of time spent on plants!
How much time do I spend on plants? Only as long as it takes me to cook them. Someday when I live in a city that actually experiences summer, I will have a garden and spend ridiculous hours tending to my plants. Until then, I will celebrate summer from the great indoors.
zucchini with mint and red pepper
grill pan makin’ it happen… real grill, even better!
* 5 medium-sized zucchini
* 1/2 cup olive oil, divided in half
* 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* a dozen large mint leaves, finely sliced
* 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you like)
* salt & pepper
Preheat your grill to medium.
Cut each zucchini in half crosswise and then cut each half into 1/8″ planks. In a very large bowl, toss the zucchini with 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Lay the zucchini on the grill and cook for about four minutes per side, keeping the heat moderate so you’re sweating them and not really giving them a ton of color. Turn the heat up to high and grill for about a minute more on each side to mark them. Depending on the size of your grill, this may need to be done in batches.
Remove the zucchini to a large platter. Whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil with the vinegar, mint and red pepper flakes. Drizzle this over the zucchini, being sure to evenly distribute the pepper flakes, sprinkle with salt & pepper.