We came back from our holiday in Spain almost a week ago. It was lovely and we really enjoyed the warm weather and all the sunshine. Here in The Netherlands, August sometimes feels like the beginning of fall. Do you feel it too? That crisp air in the early morning? It gets me fantasizing about pumpkin pie, woolen socks, sippin' hot chocolate. But I'd hate to fast forward while there is still so much delicious summer produce out there and the evenings are still quite long. Thats why I'm sharing my recipe/blog posts agenda with you, so we can enjoy this season a little longer.
- Homemade rooibos orange iced tea
- Plum butter w/ cardamom & vanilla (tastes like Christmas weirdly enough)
- Vietnamese summer rolls w/ mint, salmon & avocado
- No churn matcha & chocolate ice cream cookies
So as you can see, I am not done with this season yet. Besides cooking and baking most of my days are filled with watching reruns of Hart of Dixie and The Office, reading blogs, sleeping et cetera. Pretty quiet I might say. I am actually very excited for the blog makeover. Hopefully I can change my name and design in a two or three weeks.
Lately I've also been thinking about something else. Where do I want to live in a few years? Rob and I aren't really big city people. We both grew up on the countryside, and although I'd like to live near a city or in bigger town than where I used to live as a child, I am kind of done with being in the middle of all the buzz. I read a piece in Kinfolk's summer edition about communities and that without a community we can never achieve a sense of belonging, a feeling most people seek.
Our society is more fragmented than ever. I sometimes feel we're all individuals, living our isolated lives. Yes, we are connected, because of technology it's easier than ever. And that's ok, even great at times, I agree. But we are not grounded, we are not a community anymore. I see this phenomenon happening in some places around me, especially in the cities.
I personally need this sense of belonging. I want to live in a community where people are welcomed, and hospitality is valued, just like friendliness. So I hope I will end up in a small town in a few years, together with Rob and hopefully have a little family one day. Grow my own vegetables and fruits, be part of a community, shop locally, contribute, go to town meetings (all you Gilmore Girls out there know what I mean!) and feel this sense of belonging.
Shall we move on to the salad? It is a perfect recipe for these end of summer-days. Salty mozzarella, sweet peaches, pepper-y arugula, savory pine nuts, and a sweet and tangy glaze.
Grilled peach summer salad with mozzarella & arugula
For the salad:
2 peaches, quartered
½ tbsp olive oil
pinch of salt
2 cups arugula
fresh mozzarella, torn in pieces
1 avocado, cut in slices
a handful of pine nuts, toasted
salt & pepper
For the balsamic glaze:
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of palm sugar
How to make it:
1. In a bowl, coat the peaches in olive oil and sprinkle with a small pinch of salt.
2. Heat your grill to medium high heat. Place the peaches on the hot grill, cut-side down, and cook for about 3 minutes on each side. Set aside to cool.
3. In the meantime you prepare the balsamic glaze. Mix the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan on medium heat. Turn down the heat when it starts to boil, let simmer until it thickens. Keep stirring frequently.
4. Coat the arugula in a little bit of olive oil and sea salt. Assemble the salad. I started with the arugula first, before adding the avocado, then the peaches, mozzarella and toasted pine nuts. Sprinkle with a little bit of balsamic glaze and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Best enjoyed right away.