Yay! It's official! That time of year we poor deprived Canucks have all been waiting for. The time when, as we're reminded by the Perimeter Institute — the Canadian heartland of theoretical physics located in Waterloo, Ontario — we bask in the radiant heat of a 4.5-billion-year-old sphere of searing plasma that fuses 620 million tons of hydrogen per second.
In other, more down-to-earth words, summer's here! Time for fun in the sun! That means finding cool — in the total sense of the word — meals that satisfy and keep us out of the kitchen as much as possible, unless your kitchen is open air.
I follow a couple of tips for happy summer eating. Number one: keep things simple. That usually translates to using the stove as little as possible and certainly not turning on the oven, unless it's late at night.
That leads to tip Number Two: keep things fresh, fresh as an edible flower. That means availing our fine selves of all the superb fresh produce out there this time of year — from your kitchen garden, your full-on garden, and all those fine farmers' markets.
For the latter, here's your guide in one quick take. Rip it out and post it on your fridge with a beat-up magnet; copy it electronically and post it on your Facebook page. Whistler's farmers' market is every Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. until October 12, and every Wednesday 3 to 7 p.m., starting July 2, in the Upper Village (4545 Blackcomb Way). Pemberton's: every Wednesday 4 to 7 p.m. until October 8 in the lovely new market barn, 7437 Frontier Street, right in the heart of town. The farmers' market in Squamish is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday to October 25 at Cleveland and Victoria in beautiful downtown Squamish. North Van, West Van and Vancouver proper have so many farmers' markets you'll have to source the ones you want yourself at the B.C. Association of Farmers' Markets website here: http://markets.bcfarmersmarket.org/market-search?region=7.
But don't confine your fresh-eating vocabulary to tossed leafy greens in salads and loads of fresh fruits, like those strawberries from the Fraser Valley and, coming soon, delicious local tree fruits.
One of the smartest and most nourishing things you can do in summer is cook to perfection a pot full of veggies in the cool evening when you're locked into your best summer reading. When they're done to perfection (use barely enough water to cover them, little or no salt; a sharp knife pierces them easily when they're just done), drain and save the pot liquor for a summer soup. Plunge the green beans, potatoes or whatever into cold water to stop the cooking process. Let them sit a bit at room temperature, then pop the lot into the fridge for days of royal summer dining.