Savoring Summer

I am not going to be one of those people that starts lamenting the end of summer at the beginning of August, but I won’t lie – I’m feeling the end ticking nearer and nearer. Okay, so maybe I am one of those people, but rather than hosting a pity party and shedding tears that there weren’t enough tomatoes, days with sand in our toes, and sun on our faces, I’m going to do my best to soak up each day.

It’s probably no surprise that one of my favorite ways to savor the season is to eat of its bounty. So from here until the end of September, you will find me eating pounds and pounds of tomatoes, serving up slices of melon with a whisper of vanilla salt (just tried it last night for the first time and I’m never going back), picking blackberries off the wild vines, eating fresh peaches and letting their sweet juice drip down my arms and face.

We’ve had a pretty incredible summer this year and perhaps that’s why I’m already feeling a bit of sadness to see the days slip away so quickly, but what I’ve learned with seasons – any season in life – is that if you spend your time willing it to not pass, it won’t listen to you. I’d rather spend these days tucking away flavors and memories to recall when another season is upon us.

This recipe mingles all of my favorite flavors of summer into one bowl. It’s where sweet and savory collide into a flavorful salad filled with vinegar-spiked bread and a showering of fresh herbs. We really believe in the adage “What grows together, goes together” here, when peaches and tomatoes become fast friends. And it’s not just with this recipe—the next time you make the classic Caprese salad, try slipping in a few peach or nectarine slices there as well.

I hope that we all find the time to savor all that this season blesses us with. And may there be an endless supply of tomatoes and peaches until squash hits the basket.

Ashley Rodriguez

NotWithoutSalt.com

Award-winning food blogger

Author of Date Night In



Featured Recipe: Roasted Tomato and Peach Panzanella

SERVES 4

Ingredients:

1 pint / 280 g cherry tomatoes, divided

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

1⁄4 cup / 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 cups / 85 g 1⁄2-inch bread cubes from a rustic loaf

2 garlic cloves, minced, divided

1 peach, diced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup chopped assorted herbs (I used basil, dill, mint, and tarragon)

1 cup baby arugula

1⁄3 cup / 60 g goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place half the pint of cherry tomatoes on the prepared sheet and toss with a generous pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes, gently stirring halfway through the cooking process. Cut the remaining cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.

3. Place the cubes of bread on a second parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of salt, and 1 minced garlic clove. Toast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and completely crisp, stirring after 10 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature.

4. In a large bowl, combine the roasted tomatoes, remaining minced garlic clove, diced peach, vinegar, oregano, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Gently toss to combine and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

5. Finish the panzanella by adding the crisped and cooled bread cubes to the bowl, along with the herbs, unroasted tomatoes, and arugula. Toss well and let sit for 10 minutes so that the juices start to soften the bread, still leaving a crunch. If you prefer the bread a bit softer, you can let it sit for longer.

6. Finish with crumbled goat cheese and serve.


Know Your Produce: Summer Stonefruit Care

Stonefruit’s (peaches, nectarines, pluots, etc.) biggest enemy while ripening is moisture, coupled with lack of airflow. Set ripening stonefruit on a cloth or paper-covered counter top or in a place where it gets plenty of airflow. Try setting them stem side down to ripen, which lessens the chance of them rolling and bruising.

To test for ripeness, gently press around stem – when flesh gives slightly to pressure fruit is ripe. Never squeeze the sides of the fruit, as even a small bruise will be cause enough to turn into a rot/bruised spot on your fruit as it is still ripening. Stonefruit ripens from the inside to the outside, so if fruit is soft all over it is most likely overripe.

Once your stonefruit is ripe, it deteriorates very quickly. Within a day of being fully ripe, if left out of refrigeration, you can have overripe/spoiled fruit and some very attracted fruit flies. Check daily and place in refrigerator as soon as you notice the stem area has begun to soften. Once refrigerated, plan to use within a day or two.