This evening my daughter is off to a wedding with her father and grandparents, and my son stayed behind with Eli and I – he’s a little young as an attendee for evening weddings yet, and mostly happier to be left behind.
He dug his own little garden and planted, telling me that while he’s not sure yet he wants to be a gardener, he might be so he’s giving it a try. And maybe we’ll get some late season flowers and wax beans as a result, which never hurts.
I spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen, canning and preserving. Pesto, pickles, and a start at tackling the bounty from our trip to pick blackberries, which typically ripen around now, just in time for my birthday. I’m not quite sure yet what we’ll do with the ones we don’t freeze, but I’m leaning towards Blackberry Financiers, which are a favorite and store and freeze well, for a summery treat in the cold and dark of winter. I have some wild Maine blueberries too – the net of this is that in and around the tasks we have in the final 12 days leading up to our wedding, there’s a lot of food to put up.
Which is why lunch was a simple arrangement of tomatoes and cucumbers from the CSA, basil from the front yard, and red pepper and feta spread with mozzerella from the farm we picked the blackberries at. Simple, tasty and absolutely beautiful, as summer food should be.
Dinner was slightly more involved, but only slightly – Rosemary Ranch Chicken, fresh corn, couscous and salad, but still one of those fresh summer meals that fills without leaving you feeling too full. I’m sitting and listening to the cricket chorus, and our sunflowers are in full bloom, both sure signs that summer is coming to an end.
We are just a few days away from the wedding, and deep in the throes of both house projects and of food preservation for the summer. So far we’ve put up several kinds of berries and made pesto and canned pickles – both the bread and butter and dill kind – and blanched and frozen kale. The tomatoes, peppers and tomatillos are just starting to ripen, which means September weekends will be filled with sauce-making and salsa verde.
Summer meals are best when light, leaving the intracacies of cooking for the colder months. Eli is always ready to grill, and we have a salad to complement our meal most nights.
Summer is, when done right, is easy and delicious. Soon it will end, and with that ending comes the chilly nights and more complex meals and flavors – curries, roasts, soups and root vegetables. But for now, I’m grateful for the bounty of the season, for the pleasure of picking my Sungold tomatoes for the season and adding them to our butter lettuce from the CSA. This is the time of year where everything is delectable, right outside the door, and for far too short a time, readily available. I love all the seasons, but I will miss the summer lettuces and cucumbers, even when I happily trade them for squash and pumpkins.
For now though, I am reveling in the bounty that our warm season brings. I hope you are as well.