I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve abruptly slammed on my brakes at the sight of fruit for sale since moving to California. Don’t worry, I’m careful. But at least one of every 10 drives involves a brake and swerve.
In this case, it was local cherries.
I’d lost track of the timing since last year, and I wasn’t quite sure what week to expect seeing trucks with them for sale parked at intersections. I was less than a mile from the house last week, when a truck came into view.
No. It couldn’t be. Is it that time already?
I was coming from behind the display so the truck was blocking my view. But just as I got close enough to see those round, glossy cherries piled high in cups lining a folding table – brake, swerve, park.
I’ve always wanted a messy garden. I know that sounds strange. Most people want a gorgeously organized, symmetrical growing plot with every veggie in its place.
Not me. I’ve always loved the look of gardens that are bursting at the seams with greenery growing in every direction. Like a forest gone wild that produces food.
This might be because I lack the skill to produce one of those perfect gardens. Maybe I’m drawn to messy gardens because they are easier to maintain. But really it’s how they look.
I’m getting there.
I totally cheated.
I was walking through the supermarket and it was about 11:15. Lunchtime was quickly creeping up on me, but I knew that I’d have to dive back into recipe work for clients the second I got back home.
I needed something quick to make, but I couldn’t get my mind off the piles of winter squash all around me in the produce section.
I wanted roasted squash. On a salad. With other fall-like things.
So I went over to that little section with all the pre-cut veggies. And there it was. Little cubes of butternut squash ready to pop in the oven.
I buy jicama once in a blue moon. I have no idea why. Every time I get it into my kitchen, I marvel at the crunchy texture and its snackability. (Technically not a word, but it should be, don’t you think?)
So in honor of not completely going all fall on you with recipes, I picked one up last week to show that I still have a little light and refreshing summer left in me. I thought I’d show you what I do with it. It’s also known as the simplest salad ever.
If you’ve been reading my blog a long while this combination won’t surprise you. I starting eating one form or another of cantaloupe tomato salad back in 2011. For those of you who might be new readers, hear me out.
I know it sounds like a strange combination, but I promise it is so good! There is something about the sweetness of both the melon and the tomatoes that is delicious when combined and then drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with black pepper. It’s a refreshing twist to most of the summer salads you’ve had so far this year.
I have some strong opinions about tofu. To be honest, I feel sorry for it. Somewhere along the lines in our food culture it got pegged as a health-nut, granola, only-vegans-eat-it kind of food.
If those are the reasons you eat it, that’s great and all, but I discovered tofu in a much different way and associate it with a very different style of eating.
Early last year I was on a huge salad hiatus. I simply couldn’t get salads to taste good anymore. They were too bland, too blah. Quite frankly, they were living up to their reputation of tasting like cardboard and rabbit food.
Then one day I was assisting with a photo shoot and the recipe editor announced that she had made us a big salad for lunch. Expecting a few leaves of romaine and bottled dressing, I grabbed a bowl and headed to the kitchen.
Next she asked if we would like a poached egg. I love poached eggs, but I’d never tried an egg on a salad. I accepted as I cast my eyes over all the delicious toppings set out on the counter next to a large bowl of mixed greens tossed in a simple miso dressing.
This salad dressing combines tangy lemon and creamy walnuts for a flavor that will bring out the best in mixed greens, pasta or grains!
Salad season will soon be here. That probably sounds a little strange coming from someone who now lives in a place that most people would consider spring and summer year round.
I always thought that my salad cravings were controlled by the seasons, but I’ve learned that this is not the case. Apparently they are controlled by the months on the calendar. Despite sunshine and vegetables being plentiful all the time, I still really only want salads April through August.
This fall salad is loaded with seasonal fruits and topped with candied pecans and blue cheese. The rich molasses balsamic vinaigrette has a mild spice from cayenne pepper.
I have the strangest pattern for salad cravings. For some reason throughout the end of the summer, despite all the light and refreshing produce, salads did not sound good at all. But all of a sudden fall hits and I’m ready for some leafy greens.
Maybe it’s the seasonal fruits like grapes or the heavier toppings like blue cheese that make fall salads surprisingly comforting. That must be why my cravings have finally come around, especially since the temperatures dropped a bit today and the leaves are starting to fall.
Switch up your cold grain salads and add some sorghum! In this recipe, the chewy grain is combined with pomegranate and walnuts, and then topped off with tangy goat cheese.
I was cooling down from my run last week, taking a nice leisurely walk back to the house, when I saw it. Tucked between two houses was a tree with long branches that were bending under the weight of beautiful red pomegranates.
I see fruit trees around here all the time – figs, citrus, persimmons – and while I’ve seen a pomegranate tree before, I had never seen one in our neighborhood. It was gorgeous.
And I want some!
When I see trees loaded with fruit that seem to be untouched I am so tempted to knock on the door and ask if the owners are going to use the fruit. But I have never gotten up the courage. Then again, the stakes have never been quite this high. A pomegranate might be just enough to get me out of my comfort zone.
So here is the plan. I’m going to watch the tree for the next few weeks and if none of the fruit disappears, I’m doing it. I’m going to walk up and ring the doorbell.
I think. Maybe.