I do not like to sit at my computer during the summer. In fact, I don't like to do much of anything during the summer. If we lived at the beach, you would catch me lying under an umbrella doing as little as I could with no thought in my mind other than the book I'm reading and some vague notion of what I am going to cook that evening.Take that as an apology for not posting much of anything during the season. If you check back to last summer, you will find pretty much the same thing. Alas, we do not live at the beach, but I spend my days in that half comatose state anyway. I had to rouse myself last week because my wife got an invitation to my daughter's shower. My youngest daughter lives in Washington DC. If you've never been there, Washington is one of those places you should definitely stay away from during the summer, particularly if you live in New York and have to drive the dreaded Jersey Turnpike and I-95 to get there. I do not say this without experience. Not only has my daughter lived there since she attended American University sometime in the late 80's, but my sister's family has lived in the Washington/Maryland area since the early 60's when my brother-in-law, a film editor for NBC News, moved there to be part of David Brinkley's news team. Since that time, our family pilgrimaged to the area at least twice a year. At first it was via Greyhound bus, a truly disgusting experience, and later on by car. On paper, it's about a 4 and 1/2 hour drive. On paper. In reality, it's a death defying hurtle down the turnpike fighting buses and trucks, traffic from the Jersey Shore, back ups at the Delaware Bridge and natural disasters like torrential rain storms. Add to that , the interminable waits at the crossings to New York and you have an idea of the experience. If you think I'm exaggerating, this last trip to return from the daughter's wedding shower took 81/2 torturous hours! We sat at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel for the better part of an hour moving like snails. Forgive me. I love my family. It's always wonderful to see them, but the trip is like some mythical rite of passage through Hades.
Thank God for cheap Jersey gas.
Anyway, here's a quick lazy summer meal made up almost entirely of Trader Joe's products. You will need a herb and garlic pizza crust, a package of frozen grilled zucchini and eggplant, grated mozzarella cheese, grated Romano cheese and a little tomato sauce (I always have 2 cup containers of marinara in my freezer). Simply, roll out the pizza dough which you need to take out of the fridge a half hour before, spread out a layer of sauce lightly, sprinkle on a little oregano, top with pieces of the grilled eggplant and zucchini, then layer the mozzarella and Romano cheeses. Cook it on a pizza stone at 450 degrees till the cheese is bubbley, and serve it with a nice summer salad.
If, in fact, you are so blessed that you can spend your summer lazing at the beach, I recommend Anne Tyler's Noah's Compass as a good read.