Happy Moanday: Summer Luvin!

After taking some (planned. sorta.) time off from the blog, I am back with a vengence (and more recipes!). I'm staying in New York this whole week, something which has not happened since the weekend of April 24. That means I can strive for bigger and better recipes without worrying that the leftovers will sit, sad and lonely, in my fridge for many days (like the panko-crusted chicken from Memorial Day and half of my homemade walnut-arugula pizza).

This week things are finally starting to resemble summer, with blue skies and fair breezes. Summers have, traditionally, been rough times for me, eating-wise. The summer after sophomore year was my first time cooking for myself for an extended period of time, and it did not go well. For some reason the dorm in which I was staying had barred the kitchen to any summer residents. A friend living in the same dorm bought a hot plate, over which we boiled water for our spaghetti, but that was the extent of my cooking. I mostly lived off bags of popcorn, Easy Mac, ramen, and cereal, with occassional trips to the vending machines. I probably would have gotten incredibly fat if not for the fact that I was so poor even ramen stretched my budget.

The next summer was a little better, since I also spent a good amount of time in Dave's new apartment. Our dinners usually were some variation of chicken and pasta (spaghetti and lemon chicken, chicken parm, ziti and peppercorn chicken), which is just about one step up from cereal and Easy Mac. That summer I also lived in New York, wherein I first began to try out some different recipes, thanks to Google (searched for "budget cheap easy recipe"). That's where I made my first quiche and attempted my mom's lemon shrimp recipe. It was fun, although I often fell back on the pizza crutch (also a factor: the Dunkin Donuts across the street. I breathed lemonade coolatas).

Last summer I settled into a routine, tried out some new things in earnest, and began to actually think of myself as someone who could cook. While once cooking seemed to me an endless depressing drudgery of recipes to research, ingredients to buy, and meals to prepare, I now look forward to all these things, excited when I actually produce something flavorful. My substantially larger salary as well makes it easier to splurge on an $8 roll of goat cheese, without then having to forgo some essential (milk? who needs milk?).

And this summer, with a full year of cooking under my (longer) belt, I'm excited to branch out even more, especially since the quest to find more recipes for the blog has me searching for ever-more entertaining meals.

Enough conjecture, what's on the menu? I'm looking for something light, slightly sweet, and delicious. Maybe my wonderful glazed salmon, or possibly some other kind of shrimp (why does fish always seem so light?). Summer means veggies, salads, berries, cool meals without a lot of cooking. Once I had a very delicious, very refreshing chilled melon soup. And light, thin breads like crepes and paninis. Hmmm.... I'll have to think about this...

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