Are you still here?
I hope so. This little blog garden I’ve been cultivating has been abandoned for what I believe to be the longest number of days in it’s yet still very young lifespan, and I hope that your interest has not waned or withered and gone the sad way of the small cactus I unintentionally thirsted to death last week. (Yes, it’s apparently possible to march a cactus to it’s early demise by watering it too little, as my more-black-than-green thumb has sorely discovered.)
My absence has not been borne of laziness or lack of things to talk to you about; it has been the product of one enormous move (1,794 miles door-to-door, to be exact), the unpacking of one hundred and thirty-eight boxes (seriously), and the typical stops and starts associated with properly settling one’s self and ones’ things into a completely new residence (of which, there are a zillion). I have finally and successfully made that leap however, and have officially resigned my post as fast-tracked New Yorker to begin my journey as bright-eyed and beaming Coloradoan.
Though I had anticipated a myriad of headaches to be associated with the trip (and as braggart as I feel revealing this) – there were none. The movers were gregarious, cheerfully bantering with me whilst heave-ho-ing our lives onto their flatbed. The plane ride itself, although slightly delayed, was staffed with an affable flight attendant who winked and charged me for one glass of JetBlue’s finest red instead of two I consumed. My arrival was perfect, with James waiting at the gate, grinning and ready to lug my heavy bags and inform me there was a much needed home-cooked meal waiting at home.
And finally, just seven days later, we spent the most welcomed first night in our new house surrounded by boxes but filled with that serene feeling of having arrived somewhere safe and permanent. Truly the only ‘headache’ I encountered was a slight short-of-breath lightheaded reminder that Boulder is a whopping one mile higher in the air than my former residence, and even that has since tapered off and been replaced with what I suspect to be that more permanent natural-high feeling of being truly happy.
It is absolutely wonderful here: It’s flowering and green, it’s criss-crossed with bike lanes and hiking trails, it’s always moving and forward thinking, it’s creative, it’s delicious, and it’s understanding. Granted I have only just barely nicked the surface and realize I am still very much in the honeymoon stage – Boulder and I have not yet had our first lover’s quarrel. Everything is still dewy and young to me. I have more space than I know what to do with at the current moment, more movement than I have had in ages, an absurd amount of sunshine, and already so much fantastic support from friends and family.
And, it’s still summertime. Glorious, fuzzy, warm, unrestricted summertime. There are ripe peaches, and delectable tomatoes, and fresh basil spouting all out of the markets in quantities that were last here for what seemed like a fleeting moment one painfully long year ago. Peaches so juicy you need to stand over the sink to take a bite and tomatoes so firm and ripe they need but a smattering of sea salt to transcend into something that reminds you just why oh why you woke up at the ungodly hour of seven-thirty on a Saturday morning to make it to the farmer’s market before they sold out.
This salad is everything you envision when someone dares to utter the word ‘summertime’ under their breath while its still blustery and biting outside: refreshing, light, fulfilling, and bright. The goat cheese adds enough heft to make it a proper lunch, the basil punches up the fruit and keeps things savory, and the lemon dressing adds a slight twang that cuts through the sweet peaches just so. It is pure summer, defined. I am thankful that I have successfully forded this most recent turbulent section of my winding river, but then again – we’ll always have summer peaches and tomatoes – and for that alone, I feel lucky.
Peach and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Basil, Goat Cheese, and Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
serves 2 as a light lunch, 4 as a side dish
As there are very few ingredients in this salad, use only the best and freshest ones you can find, and a good quality olive oil for the dressing. Do not use pre-crumbled goat cheese if possible – it will retain the best taste and texture if you crumble your own from a log.
This will taste best as soon as possible after making it, while the fruits are still firm and the basil has not wilted excessively.
2 peaches (ripe but still slightly firm is best)
2 tomatoes (an heirloom variety, or mix of yellow, red, or green is best)
3 oz goat cheese, crumbled (half of a small 6oz log)
½ cup (small handful) fresh basil leaves
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
1 Tbsp champagne/white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, to taste
fresh cracked pepper
First, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, and honey. While whisking constantly, add the olive oil in a slow and steady stream. Whisk until emulsified, and set to the side.
Cut the peach into wedges and discard the pit. Core the tomatoes (or cut around the core), and cut them into wedges that are approximately the same thickness and size of the peaches. Bundle and scrunch the basil into your hand and using a sharp knife, cut it into very thin strips.
Place the peaches, tomatoes, and basil into a bowl, drizzle with the dressing, and toss gently until the dressing is coating all of the fruit. Season with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, crumble the goat cheese on top of the salad, and toss once again gently just to mix.