Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Summer Do List

The moment the calendar flipped over to August I was struck with a level of panic that's normally reserved for small school children. I know summer isn't technically over yet, but there's no more vacations on our horizon and there's a half-dozen zucchini in every CSA box we get. Not to be dramatic, but the end is near.

The finish of summer is particularly painful because we don't really get what I consider a "real" summer in San Francisco. We can usually sleep with the windows open, but there are no chirping crickets, no hot mornings that require tank tops and iced coffee, and very, very few sunburns. 

Thus, the End Of Summer Do List. It's -- you guessed it--  my attempt to make sure we do some of those things that all of you living in sweltering temperatures do without even thinking about it. Things like eating popsicles and grilling peaches. Things that should be obvious summer goals to hit, but are occasionally hard to accomplish when the fog begins to roll in at 4PM and the August daytime high is a balmy 64 degrees. 

Here are a few of the things on The List:
Eat an It's-It in the back yard on a sunny afternoon. 
Can tomatoes. 
Make another batch of jam. (I made strawberry-vanilla in July, but I'm dreaming about stone fruit. Apricot? Plum?)
Grill anything that can be grilled instead of cooking inside. 
Dine alfresco. 
Drink more rose. 
Do yard work.
Play hooky and go to the Coppola Pool
Bake with blackberries. 
Make ice cream. Maybe this recipe? Or this one? 

Ultimately this is a very quotidian to-do list, one that should be easily accomplishable in summer's remaining weeks. Meanwhile, I'll keep on living the everyday, and that means finding things to do with all that August zucchini. This zucchini-orange marmalade tea cake is a start. The recipe is from Tartine Bakery, which is  only a couple of miles from our house. Even though the cases at the bakery are filled with all kinds of pastry and creme and confection, this humble loaf is usually what catches my eye. It's a super moist cake (and yes, I know people hate that word but saying damp just won't do). Those of you who like not-too-sweet cake will find it really hits the spot. 

But, I digress -- and my numerous digressions are part of what leads to the necessity of the End of Summer Do List. So -- get out there and conquer summer. Make a list. Eat ice cream. Because this pang in my heart tells me it's all going to be over before we know it. 

Zucchini and Orange Marmalade Tea Cake
From Tartine Bakery, San Francisco

1 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 inch (23 x 12 cm) loaf tin.  Set aside.  Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and set aside.  In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, oil, sugar and marmalade until just combined.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour until just combined.  Add the nuts until incorporated.  Pour into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 60-70 minutes until a tester comes out clean.  Let cool on a wire rack for 20 minute, then turn out to let cool completely. Keeps well, up to five days. 


dana said...

Mint chip ice cream made with real mint is oh so worth it! Make that one!

Anne Zimmerman said...

Dana, your comment jogged my memory! I now have mint in the house. I think heavy cream must be procured today and ice cream must be made. I'll keep you posted.