Of What Becomes
In the midst of these waning days of summer, this begins the two weeks of the year I feel most torn about. When those summer crops rebel against the changing winds, and reward a gardener’s harvest with last tomatoes, peaches, squash that require no peeling and slice like butter, berries, sugary corn…
All the things only a warm sun and breezy, lusty air could grow so sweet, so delicate, so…pluck-from-the-garden and eat as-is perfect. Never does nourishing that which I crave; savor, feel more symbiotic a relationship between my sense of taste, the earth from where that bounty began, and every hand that watered, shaded, pruned, picked and provided for its growth. Better still when they were my very own.
But then again, I’m a New England girl through and through. I live for the magic of fall here. Look forward to warming soups with crusty bread. Being enveloped by deep, rich, heady flavors. When lingering salt-filled remnants find their way through the window beside me and take shelter in my olfactory. So it begins…nights, brisk in stark contrast to fleeting swelteringly hot days.
It happens ostensibly in an instant. The morning you wake up, and are taken with the sky ablaze in jewel-toned leaves. Trees whose branches dance, and battle with the vigor and smoky swell of swirling winds. Only to relent the inevitable and surrender.
Rubies, garnets, topaz rain down from the sky like a twisting kaleidoscope in slow motion; wistfully landing on a soil brimming with fertility. The air itself breathes differently. Unlike summer humming fire and flora upon your skin, fall is the point at which things are ceasing and creating in the same place, and at the same time. This occurrence radiates every atom of my being. It is not merely felt or endured.
It is inhaled. It becomes you.
Therein lies the tear…Every season has its toll. Both what one takes, and what remains as each is ushered out. The days, just like the leaves, are numbered before my favorite season for filling my plate are withered empty vines; Dead and taunting with yesterday. And my favorite season for life; To be alive; To live on fire– makes its debut.
Tomato + Fresh Mozzarella + Avocado Sandwich
1 large heirloom tomato, or other flavorful variety
8 fresh basil leaves, not too large
4 slices fresh mozzarella, thick cut
4 slices sourdough bread, I used sourdough frencese
1 Tablespoon each, Balsamic vinegar and Olive Oil
Pink or Sea or Kosher Salt + Freshly Cracked Black Pepper (I used pink Himalayan salt)
Mix vinegar and oil in small bowl with 1/8 teaspoon of salt and pepper, set aside. I buttered then lightly toasted bread buttered side down in a 380 degree oven for 6 minutes. You could leave it unbuttered and toast bread in toaster. While your bread is toasting, mash avocado with a pinch of salt and pepper in bowl. Remove bread from oven and spread one piece per sandwich with mashed avocado. Add slices of mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, then drizzle with balsamic and olive oil. Cover with top slice of bread and enjoy.
I wish you the best of all the little Of What Remains of summer.