Tag Archives: summer

There have been picnics

There have been picnics, but not enough.

There was an afternoon at the beach with the setting sun unfurling a spangled ribbon across Puget Sound, and lazy Sundays watching the sailboats on Lake Union, and time spent lying on a blanket staring up into the fluttering leaves of summer trees.  We ate on restaurant patios every chance we got.

But I haven’t gotten full use out of the hammock for this year, and we haven’t grilled enough, and frankly, I am not ready for fall just yet.

I need just a few more weeks of sunshine.

At the farmer’s market this Saturday, it was obvious that we are teetering on a razor’s edge between summer and fall.  The sunshine warmed the top of my head.  There were still berries, but more apples and pears.  Boxes of gourds cozied up next to piles of sweet corn.

This is the time of year when tomatoes come into their own in Seattle.  After a long, cool summer, we finally have tomatoes of every color, heavy and fragrant, filled with warmth and sunlight.

These juicy heirloom tomatoes are fragile.

The utmost care is needed to get them home without splitting, and they will not tolerate long storage.  The simplest preparation is the best way to enjoy the range of heirloom tomato flavors—some tart, others sweet or mild.

These tartines are made with only a few ingredients, so don’t skimp on the quality of the bread and mozzarella.  And hurry before tomato season is over.

Late Summer Tartine

  • Close grained French bread, sliced
  • Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Fresh Mozzarella
  • Basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Run bread under the broiler to toast lightly on the top side only.  Layer slices of tomatoes, thinly sliced mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves.  Stir oil and vinegar together, then drizzle lightly over tartines.  Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.

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Because It Is Summer

Some lazy summer afternoons, my interest in a full meal fragments into a mosaic of inchoate cravings, farmer’s market finds, and refrigerator foraging.  It starts like this: “What do you want for dinner?”  “Huh?

Eventually, I start rummaging.  I’ve got figs so soft that their juice is turning the paper bag damp at the bottom.  I had to buy them because it is summer and fig season is short, but I had no clear idea of how I intended to use them.  A package of prosciutto.   Two ears of corn, for which I body-checked several other patrons of the farmer’s market in the morning as a mosh-pit formed around the heap of corn.  A bit of leftover white bean hummus and a couple of pitas.

It is odds and ends, but no matter.  The corn goes on the grill, then the figs.  We crack open a few bottles of icy beer and sit on the patio just savoring the warmth and light of the day.  The sounds of the city are muted up here–birds chirp and the cat perks up his ears.  The breeze shifts, bringing a whiff of someone else’s grill.  Shards of sunlight glint off the lake.

Within minutes, it is time to eat.

This is barely a recipe, but the result is more than the sum of the parts.  The salty, chewy, slightly crispy prosciutto cradles the juicy figs, so tender that they drip sweet, hot juice.

Grilled Figs & Prosciutto

  • 8 fresh figs, rinsed and halved
  • 8 slices prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise

Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.  Wrap fig halves with a slice of prosciutto, and place on skewers with a small space between each.  Grill over low flame, turning as necessary until browned and crispy around edges.

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