Anatomy of a Lazybones Summer Dinner

: The Usual Suspects, Andy, Jenny, Phoebe, Abby
What: Family Dinner
When: A Saturday night in early summer
Where: DALS headquarters, Suburban New York
Temp: High 80s, high humidity
Obstacles/Activities/Extracurriculars: N/A, see: SUMMER

10:00 AM Walk to Farmer’s Market, procure Tuscan kale, baby cabbage, and a pound of Mahi Mahi from the fish guy. (And a dozen cider doughnuts, half of which will be mauled before we return home.)

12:30 Hit the pool. Look at clock and wonder “Is it dinnertime yet?”

2:00 Late lunch, tomato sandwiches. Look at clock and wonder “Is it dinnertime yet?”

3:30 Read a book (Phoebe); Kick a soccer ball against wall eight thousand times (Abby); do a little work (Andy); Look at clock and wonder “Is it dinnertime yet?” (Jenny).

6:15 Quick-pickle an onion, make rice, chop cabbage. Make two gin and tonics.

6:30 Sit on patio while Andy starts a fire. Experiment with mindfulness: This is dinner the way it’s supposed to be. Repeat to self. Wonder how daughter’s feet get so filthy. Say out loud without realizing.

7:00 Contemplate never getting up. Andy heads inside; makes kale salad; returns with Mahi Mahi and tortillas.

7:15 Ask daughter “Remind me what chores must you complete in order to earn your allowance?” Daughter replies “Make my bed, clean my room, set the tabl—OK, I’m going.”

7:30 Table set. Dinner.


Gin & Tonics
Fill two large glasses two-thirds with ice. Add 1 part gin to 2 parts fresh tonic. (Note: Nothing will ruin this drink faster than flat tonic.) Squeeze in the juice from a juice lime wedge and then toss the wedge into your drink. Stir.

Pickled Onions
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced crosswise (optional if you want to avoid heat)

Bring red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, water to a boil, add onions and jalapeños and reduce to a simmer. Cook 3 minutes then drain, add to a bowl and set on table.

Cilantro-Lime Cream Sauce
1 cup sour cream
juice from a small lime
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
pinch of cumin
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha or hot sauce

Chipotle Inspired Rice
Prepare white rice according to package directions — enough to yield 2 cups of cooked rice. When rice is finished, toss in a generous handful of chopped cilantro, the juice from 1/2 lime, and a generous sprinkling of kosher salt.

Grilled Fish Tacos
Marinate a 1-pound piece of mahi mahi (or any firm white fish) in a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. (Add the lemon only about five minutes before you grill.) Once grill is hot, grill filet about 4-5 minutes a side depending on thickness. (Fish is done when it’s firm to the touch with out being rock hard.) Remove fish from grill to a serving patio and break into pieces with a fork or spatula. Add 6-8 corn tortillas to the grill and cook 20-30 seconds a side until you get a little char. Serve fish in tortillas with a few shreds of cabbage and the above toppings.

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Yum. I like to do my pickled onions in the microwave, in the same bowl I serve them from. Saves dishes, which seems to be my mission in life.

Lucy Mitchell

Mmmm, very interesting – quick pickling, am definitely going to try it. Btw, I’m missing your kid book posts – have your daughters read True Grit? Its on my sons school book list and I had a look – its so fantastic.


Fish tacos is one of my favorite meals. I think Tequila and Tonic would be good with this.


My kids were practically lapping up cream sauce with a spoon! Best part of meal.


Ahhhh yes! We did something similar last Friday but with steak, any vegetable that could be gathered from the garden, and steamed rice. Delicious!!

Alexis @ Let's Have Another

That looks delicious! We usually have our Chipotle-style rice with shredded chicken and serve it in bowls instead of tortillas, but grilled fish tacos sound so good and much more appetizing in this weather (especially with a nice cold g&t). And I love pickled red onions – they go with practically everything and are such a simple trick to spicing up a dish!