Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Summer, stay a while

Our car is still littered with sand and sky-blue ferry tickets, and the girls' legs have kept a bit of their August brown, but mornings this past week have demanded socks and even jackets. The summer of 2012 was unanimously declared a good one by everyone under this roof – the way summers should be and the way we hope the kids will remember them.   

So good and so very busy, in fact, that I've found it hard to make my way over here, though there's been much to write about. Also…there's the small fact that I'm expecting our third child and haven't had much energy to channel into writing and editing photos…but I plan to make up for lost time before baby boy's January arrival is upon us. So, thank you to those of you who are reading now and who have found your way back here, too.
Driving home on Labor Day, I turned over all the vacation moments in my head like a stash of mementos, and mourned those delicious weeks a bit. Once the last ferry was behind and the soft light of the North Fork ceased shining on us, the malls of Long Island flew by and then the U.S. Open and the hydroponic gardening center, and before I knew it we were home, and the skies opened as if on cue (this, following a nearly unbroken string of sunny days). A couple of days later we were catapulted into the school-year routine.

Summer was sunny days in the foothills and shores, dew on bare feet in the mornings and outdoor showers on August afternoons, looking up at blowing treetops. The briny, funky smell off the marshes drifting through our open windows at night, and the squawking of birds in the bushes our alarm clock in the morning, before the sun even burned through the fog. For Ben, plucking at the banjo – and getting pretty good at it. For me, stolen time on porches and in hammocks with a good book. For the girls, learning to sail and ride horses, kayaking and catching hermit crabs with friends in the shallow inlets around the island. There was good fun with cousins, grandparents, aunties and uncles – and a brand-new baby cousin with sweet toes and a fuzzy head. We read Harry Potter, Book 4 together way too late into the night, most nights. There were rosé-soaked days out on the water with friends – long, breezy days heeling along in the sailboat, or anchored and swimming off the back, the grownups just as gleeful as the under-ten set.


And of course there was eating – plenty of it, because summer wouldn't be right without a succession of satisfying feasts, usually a team effort among friends and family. And because, this summer, I was hungry. Hungry for fish tacos, succotash, ribs, pulled pork, fried shrimp. Blueberry picking and eating, as always. Lobsters and stone fruit crumbles. Ice creams churned by my beloved new ice cream maker, the one I treated myself to in June. Local clams, dug and baked by friends. And a favorite I'd like to share, because we've enjoyed it so much these past couple of summers that I would be stingy not to post it here.

The original recipe for this green gazpacho appeared in Molly Katzen’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook, but I credit friends Tara and Josh for their particular spin, which always makes people go quiet for a moment when they first taste it – in a good way – because the soup is so unexpectedly creamy and rich for the healthy vegan recipe it is. This version uses tomatillos in place of the green tomatoes called for in the original, and most importantly, a sprinkling of freshly grilled corn kernels; the sweetness, smokiness, and subtle crunch of the corn is what really makes this soup. Though summer's on the wane, the primary ingredients are still vibrant in our farmers' markets and CSA (in fact, we just got tomatillos and cilantro today), and this is one of the finest uses of tomatillos I know. Enjoy, along with your own summer memories.
Green Gazpacho with Corn
Adapted from Molly Katzen, Enchanted Broccoli Forest  
4 servings


  • 5 largish tomatillos (husked), quartered, seed pulp cut away and discarded  
  • 1-2 cloves garlic (depending on size), chopped 
  • 1-2 cucumbers (depending on size), peeled, seeded, and chopped 
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced  
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped and seeds removed (leave a few in if you like heat)  
  • A few sprigs parsley
  • 1 small handful cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (cider vinegar or red wine vinegar are best)  
  • Juice of 2 limes  
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil  
  • Sea salt to taste  
  • 1 teaspoon honey or a pinch of sugar
  •  3/4 cup cold water – more if needed
  • Kernels cut from 2 ears of cooked corn – preferably grilled (any method of cooking works)

Throw everything in blender but corn. Process until smooth. Add a little more water if it seems too thick, and more salt if needed. Chill. Serve in bowls with corn kernels sprinkled on top.