On not turning on the oven

Oh I felt so clever last night. I had radishes and pearly barley to use and, strangely enough, I found a recipe that used both. Thumbs up! But it involved turning on the oven to roasted some very pretty cubes and slices of vegetables. Thumbs down! It was hot yesterday evening and the house had not cooled off yet. But when I get an idea in my head...

I probably could have done a lot less pre-heating but I overestimated my knife skills and it took longer than I thought to make the pretty zucchini cubes, and mince the garlic, and run outside to snip some rosemary and thyme. Anyway, the house was quite warm by the time we sat down to the fragrant grain and vegetable mix. It was good, but...warm. The recipe came from the San Francisco Chronicle where it never warms up enough in the early summer to make you think twice about turning on an oven.

That got me thinking about what can we do to have substantial enough dinners that don't require an oven and we aren't roaming around looking for cookies to fill us up an hour later. The CSA box from Beneficial Farms is cranking into summer produce high gear and filling our refrigerator with large piles of bulky vegetable (for instance, collard greens are really big, like fanning Cleopatra big). All vegetable meals, yes!

However, like most Americans, I'm convinced I'm not going to get enough protein, which is probably not true. I'd really prefer not to eat meat at every meal and would prefer to limit it to just a few times a week. It is time to bring out the beans and grains. While that would be most righteous, inspired by an article in The Atlantic (http://food.theatlantic.com/artisans/welcoming-summer-with-seasonal-chee...), I thought about making cheese a regular part of the meal. It will be like we are always on a picnic.

The greens have been coming fast and furious from the CSA and we have had a small disagreement about how to best prepare them. Mr. Husband thinks every green can just be lightly sauteed and I argue that sturdy greens such as collards need to be braised to make them supple. Since I do a great amount of the cooking, my method wins. For example, to go with some grilled trout, I made Five-spice collards to which I added turnip greens to clear out the vegetable bin. It didn't require that much liquid (about 1/2 cup for 2 pounds of greens) and it made a lovely sauce to accompany the now smoky and sweet tasting greens. Again, Jack Bishop's Vegetables Every Day to the rescue. Thanks Jack!

So, right now we are grilling and I will be planning on doing my best to not touch the oven, except for the brownies I'm baking this weekend, does that count?

For your cooking pleasure:
Barley with Walnuts & Roasted Spring Vegetables