These recipes originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of HomeLife Magazine.
Growing up in Florida, I had little experience of seasons other than eternal summer. It goes without saying that clear blue skies and 85 degrees year-round would appeal to most, but our little family craved the daily afternoon thunderstorms. You can imagine the anticipation when we decided to change paths and move to Tennessee to experience diverse seasons.
After my husband secured a position in Nashville, the kids and I took a quick trip to help seek out a home.
On our last day in town, we spotted a little gem on a hilly, green cul-de-sac. Driving by our prospective neighborhood one evening, prior to purchase, my husband reported, “There was a gaggle of kids chasing bunnies and fireflies.” Apparently, that’s all I needed to hear. The next day a sold sign was placed in the front yard and our new home was secured.
Living among the seasons has proven to be all we anticipated. I still eagerly await the arrival of each one. That said, this Florida girl still gets seriously excited for summer. Maybe it’s a throwback to my childhood, or maybe I miss being outdoors through the winter and spring months. I don’t particularly miss the heat, more the new warmth of a flirtatious June evening when the first firefly sighting lets me know that summer is finally here to stay.
When the heat cools and evening falls, I’m quick to grab an iced tea and head to the porch for the best sunset sighting. Any excuse to linger outdoors a while longer will do. I’m even prone to garden by floodlight or converse long past dark with anyone strolling by. That’s the thing I’ve learned about living among seasons. We tend to appreciate living in the moment because there’s an understanding that this is fleeting.
Topping my A-list of summer activities is a Saturday night dinner party. Sun-kissed friends gathered outdoors, the table set with fineries, and enjoying a meal together while conversing by candlelight makes every bit of preparation worth the effort. If you’re eagerly awaiting summer as much as I am, set a date, invite friends over, and try this light and fragrant menu. As sure as the seasons change, I promise it’s easy, pleasing to the palate, and leaves plenty of time to enjoy fireflies and friends.
5 lbs. chicken pieces (bone-in thighs)
6 cloves of garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/4 c. olive oil
8-10 pitted prunes
8-10 large pitted Spanish green olives
1/4 c. capers
3 bay leaves
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley (chopped)
Marinate: In a large bowl combine minced garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers, and bay leaves. Add the chicken thighs and coat completely. Cover with plastic wrap or seal in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for several hours. (I recommend overnight.)
Cook: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a 9 x 13 baking dish with ingredients from marinade. Spoon brown sugar on top of chicken pieces. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Chicken is done when knife inserted into thickest part allows juices to run clear.
Serve chicken on a platter with the prunes, olives, and capers. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Makes 6-8 servings.
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 c. sliced almonds
1-1/2 c. sugar
8 large egg whites (room temperature)
1/2 tsp. salt
Zest of 1 lemon
6 Tbsp. flour
1 c. heavy cream
1 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp. orange extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position rack in the center. Butter springform pan. In a food processor, add almonds and sugar and process in short bursts until nuts are evenly ground and combined with sugar. Add salt to egg whites and blend on high until soft peaks form. Gently fold almond mixture into egg whites along with zest. Fold in flour one tablespoon at a time. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until knife inserted in the center pulls out clean. Let cake cool.
In a stainless steel bowl, combine the cream and confectioners’ sugar and beat with mixer until soft peaks form. Add orange extract and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Cut cake into 8 pieces and serve a dollop of fresh whipped cream over each slice. Makes 8 servings.
Anne Crist’s Mint Iced Tea
8 regular tea bags
1 large bunch, or 16 sprigs of fresh mint with stems
1 c. sugar
4 c. water
Boil water. Place tea bags and fresh mint in a gallon sized container. Add boiling water and let steep for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Squeeze all tea bags and remove from container, then run the concentrated mixture through a strainer. Pour tea infused with mint back in gallon container and add sugar while liquid is hot. Stir well until sugar has dissolved. Top off with ice until liquid measures one gallon. Serve in a tall glass or Mason jar and garnish with mint sprig. Makes 8 servings. Enjoy!
For more Biblical and practical counsel for the home, subscribe to HomeLife Magazine here!
Laura Schupp is the author of Our Newlywed Kitchen: The Art of Cooking, Gathering & Creating Traditions. Learn more about Laura at OurNewlywedKitchen.com.