This is my favourite part of summer. My reasons are twofold.
1) Fall is just around the corner and fall is my most favourite season. Particularly since this is the first year that I am not a student fretting about the first day of school.
2) Mid-August marks the point in the summer where all of those with green thumbs realize that they planted way more than they can handle and subsequently pass along their goodies to those of us who couldn't grow mould if we tried. Translation: copious amounts of free produce coming at me from various family members in various corners of the city!
It is at this time of year that I wish my refridgerator was reversed: one exposed shelf and three rows of vegetable crispers rather than the two measly crispers I have now. Surely such a thing must exist in vegan heaven.
Until I invent such a fantastic contraption, I have loaded my awkwardly designed refrigerator to the limit with fresh picked beans, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and tomatoes (of every size, shape and form). And because these treats are so fresh and vibrant in and of themselves, I've been cooking in such a way that doesn't result in them being smothered in the excessive sauces that I use in the winter to hide the wilted crap I find in the produce aisle of the local supermarket.
In fact, this summer's constant flux of sun-rain has made for one of the best growing seasons in southern Ontario history and has resulted in produce more flavourful than I can ever remember.
This light tofu dish is quite possibly the soybean embodiment of the season itself. The ingredients list is shockingly minimal for something that has so much flavour: tofu, olive oil, garlic, ripe tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, lemon juice and basil. That's it.
I used cherry tomatoes from my grandma's garden. They are so sweet they might as well be candy.
The leafiness you see on top of the tofu is garden-fresh basil, which quite possibly has the shortest shelf life of all greenery so when I have it, I use it.
I made a creamy asparagus pasta to go along with this tofu dish because I was starving the night I made it, but for those really hot August nights it would be perfect on nothing more than a bed of lettuce and a light Italian dressing.
The recipe is from Vegan Express but you can also find it on Nava Atlas' website.
And as aside, another summertime "let's use up all this fresh produce" favourite of mine is spelt noodles tossed in olive oil and hot sauce and topped with whatever fresh veggies I can find. In this case, it was more of the above sweet cherry tomatoes, along with garlic, green onion and zucchini and topped off with fresh oregano and parsley:
I just can't get enough pasta these days, what can I say.
If anyone else has any produce they are looking to get rid of before the weather turns, you know where to find me. After my disasterous attempt at growing veggies last summer I am not above begging for your scraps.