Every summer, there’s a week where the magic happens. At first the harvest unfolds slowly; leafy greens and alliums are joined by radishes and carrots, variety sprouting up as the weeks tumble by. By the time the cucumbers make their sturdy appearance on the vine, the harvest is no longer lazily unfurling, rather, it has become a veritable explosion of shape and color. For me, the magic week happens when the shift in pace is so palpable that simply opening the veggie box seems to discharge a trace of midsummer magic into the air. This week’s veggie box full of sweet corn (a full dozen!), cherry tomatoes (red and yellow!), humble zucchini and summer squash (always holding down the fort!), jalapenos and bell peppers and onions and cabbage (and more, oh my!)...had me cartwheeling across my kitchen (at least in my head). It’s the week where abundance is undeniable. It’s the week where my gratitude for seasonal eating swells to new heights, reminding me how grateful I am for what we go without so that I can fully absorb and appreciate the fleeting beauty of this season. It all tastes like summer. It all smells like summer. All so purely elemental - sunlight and rain and soil, the genetic intricacies so carefully enclosed within tiny seeds, the miraculous science and magic that conspire to coax carrot seeds into carrots and tomato seeds into tomatoes, and everything in between.
In the midst of a world that seems ever divided, with real issues that need to be solved, I find myself at once inspired to create change and inspired to embrace the little joys around me. These morsels of happiness are not trivial. They’re the lifeblood of a contented life. Of being whole. Of replenishing our hearts and souls so that we can move forward as positive forces within this world. Taking time for mindfulness, gratitude, and simple indulgences isn’t frivolous, it’s critically important. In that spirit, I share my summer eating bucket list. It is this seasonal eater’s ode to the season and vow to appreciate every last bite.
Before the wood smoke curls through the crisp night air of October, I will eat…
...a whole tomato like a tangy, coreless apple. I won’t hold back on the salt.
...delicate summer squash salad.
...bell peppers with skins blistered from the grill.
...cured and grilled cabbage served with Brookford blue cheese. I won’t want to share this.
...marinated and grilled eggplant.
...crunchy, zesty cucumber salad.
...sumptuous gazpacho. With crusty bread.
...salt potatoes. (Contented sigh.)
...tangy-sweet grilled onion steaks.
...an entire batch of homemade salsa. In one sitting.
...grilled pizza smothered in Brookford mozzarella, bacon, tomatoes (thinly!!! sliced) and grilled eggplant.
...silky marinated zucchini.
...corn grilled in the husk, smothered in Brookford butter.
...grilled, bacon wrapped jalapenos. With a cold beer.
...and by the time the mornings bring a soft haze of frost on the field, I hope to find my belly full, my heart basking in summer’s residual heat, and my palate satiated. We’re in the thick of summer’s magic. Let’s devour it.