If you listen closely, you can just start to hear it. It’s the voice of fall whispering. She calls out through the cool mornings and evenings, through the few leaves starting to drop, and through the subconscious longing for apples, pumpkins and warm foods.
For now, I’m not listening. I’m tuning out her voice and soaking in these last beautiful sun-filled days. One of these days I’ll wake up with eagerness to make our annual trip to the orchard. I’ll be dreaming of pumpkin pie and kids in costumes seeking out treats. But not now.
Currently, I’m still enjoying bathing suits, iced tea, and simple meals that taste of summer. The kind of meal where you quickly run in from outside not knowing what to make, but finding yourself with plenty of produce, you have dinner ready in an instant. The one where you forage through your pantry grabbing at a few staples, your imagination going wild and your stomach rumbling in anticipation. These meals are like delicious Kodak moments that I tuck away into an edible memory bank, knowing that I will long for these tastes about six months from now.
I reach for a can of white beans and a jar of sun-dried tomatoes. I grab a zucchini, which I always have on hand and often don’t know what to do with the current bounty. A quick trip outside to my little garden and I have a small handful of rosemary. I open the can, rinse the beans, add a few hefty spoonfuls of the tomatoes and the flavorful oil that comes with it. The rosemary gets a tender mince and all is tasted and adjusted with salt and pepper. On top, a vegetable peeler slices perfectly thin and elegantly long strips of zucchini. If I happen to have feta, goat cheese, or Parmesan on hand, that gets tossed in as well. A hearty tug on a loaf of crusty bread and dinner is served.
All the while the splashing outside continues. The iced tea flows freely and we savor the last burst of heat, the sounds of gleeful laughter ringing throughout the neighborhood, and the tastes of summer. Soon there will be fall, I’m almost ready.
by Ashley Rodriguez
Chef, food blogger, and full-time mom. Read more of her writings at www.notwithoutsalt.com