Real summer food.

Four weeks in, the lazy days of summer break have ousted the careful weekly menu planning of the school year.  Baseball, swimming, and pick-up games of (pick your outdoor yard sport) are more appealing than indoor food prep, so dinner has become a free-for-all buffet of whatever the fridge and pantry have to offer when the sun finally goes down.

It’s stupid, I realized tonight, as guilt prompted me to roast the new potatoes that my husband brought home Sunday from our friend Bobby’s farm.  They were delicious, even my children (and their guests, who wandered in from the yard) agreed.  Fresh summer produce is real food at its absolute best.  So here’s the first entry in what the “Master of the House” category was supposed to be in the first place, a collection of basic, not terribly original, but foolproof menus that anyone, even I, can manage on a regular workday night, for the greater enjoyment of family dinner all year ’round.

Grilled flank/flatiron steak: marinate meat at room temp for 30 minutes (I use Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, and Maker’s Mark); grill 5-7 minutes per side; rest for 10 minutes; slice across the grain

Oven roasted potatoes: quarter fresh new potatoes; toss in olive oil, sea salt and Herbs de Provence; add some peeled garlic cloves if you want (I use a half a head of garlic and about 6 fist-sized potatoes); roast at 425 for 35 minutes, turning them over with a spatula about halfway through (or not, it really doesn’t make much difference)

Summer squash: slice squash (3-4) and white onion (1/4-1/2) then halve the bigger slices; boil with a little sea salt and butter until tender (30 minutes, ish)

Spinach & mandarin orange salad with Makoto dressing (or whatever you and yours like)

And just to keep that inner Martha Stewart in check: Easy Bake oven cakes for dessert.  Yes, seriously. Family dinner without humor isn’t much dinner.  Enjoy yours.