Sunday, October 7, 2007

Dining Alfresco ...

... As summer wanes into autumn.

Bathe in the soft, golden light, gently warming, yet bringing with it a hint of crispness, a slight chill. The sky is blue as blue can be and the sunsets are spectacular. Put on a sweater, pull up a comfy chair. I'll pour you a glass of wine as we savor simple food and these last harvest days before we go indoors for the long winter. Eat up, it's all good for you.
Broad beans from the farmers market sautéed in olive oil with slices of Claudia's garlic, Cypress Grove's Truffle Tremor, pitted kalamata olives, so easy to pop into your mouth, heirloom tomatoes on a bed of organically grown arugula - both from the farmers market - drizzled with a basil-balsamic vinaigrette and punctuated with chunks of fresh mozzarella, Neiman Ranch incredibly delicious dry salame (not too much though, just look at those circles of fat!), small, sweet peppers, fried in olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt, black unpitted olives paired with slivers of roasted garlic (a favorite of mine from France), local whole wheat walnut bread from Brio, grilled andouille sausage with a grainy dijon mustard for dipping, line-caught smoked salmon (pair this with goat cheese on a slice of walnut bread - heaven!),

and always, always a glass of wine - sometimes rosé if it's warm out, but mostly a deep, satisfying red to ward off the approaching evening chill.

Savor the sunset as long shadows creep along the garden creating deep shade here, a pool of golden light there. The sound of honking prompts you to lift your head to the sky to watch the geese flying south in their familiar V- formations. Closer above you the last of the swallows flit about, dining on the just-hatched winged ants, so rich in the protein the swallows will need for their long flight south.

We must never take this bounty of nature for granted. We must nurture it, hold it in the hightest esteem, care for it, honor it, assure its cycle of life - as dear as our own.

Copyright © 2005-2007, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved