Ebb and Flow (and Peaches, Yo)

Summertime doesn’t like to be forced to move in a straight line. Summertime has a point.

grilled peaches with feta and mint

A few weeks ago I went surfing for the first time. Well, “surfing,” anyway, since probably you need to be able to stand up on the board and/or reliably catch waves without being pushed into them to qualify to ditch the quotes. Still, I figured that getting my sea butt before moving on to the legs was worth the extra punctuation. (Look for the term sea butt in nautical-inspired collections on the Spring/Summer 2010 runways, and don’t forget you saw it here first.) Since I like Jack Johnson, Roxy and Weezer, in a sense (the fashion sense) I’ve been just a few strong paddles away from the big kahuna for years. Plus, I like to exercise extreme caution and often saddle perfectly jovial situations with the uncomfortable weight of real-time introspection. If that doesn’t scream surfer chick, what does?

Around the same time, I disappeared from here for a little while without so much as a farewell. In truth, I didn’t really plan to be gone for long. Certainly not for three weeks. I missed us! (And thank you, by the way, for reminding me that you do, too. It’s awfully humbling to know you care.)  The good news/bad news is that I no longer think or emote coherently when I’m not writing about thinking and emoting, so as of today, you’re stuck with me again every Tuesday. For the safety of myself and others.

Primarily these uncharacteristic behaviors had to do with the fact that after a sweatered, moldy June, July finally gave us some summer days to be lived. I mean really lived. A person ought to be raised to know how to milk the best days of summer dry, and I take my pedagogical duties very seriously in that respect. It’s quite a time commitment, albeit one that can be substantially fulfilled at the beach.

surfer chickie

But the thing is, this site isn’t the only place I’ve been absent from recently. There’s also the kitchen. Strictly speaking, I’ve been feeding people (admittedly sometimes with the help of the Italian-ice shack and the weirdly spectacular happy hour at the Salt Creek Grille). But with a few exceptions that will probably make their way to these pages in the course of the next few weeks, there haven’t been any revelations. And it’s because I haven’t really been trying.

For a little while I felt guilty about not having much of an appetite. Even after having stepped deliberately off the corporate track, it’s hard not to get swept up in the tremendous forward momentum of this worky-worky world. Sometimes I love the buzz of collective ambition as much as the next girl. But other times, namely now, it’s infinitely more appealing — and oddly, almost more of a challenge — to live by the ebbs and flows of these summer days. Food, work, play, kiddos — sometimes you’ve just got to dive in and see where the waves take you. Even if you have to ride on your butt.

starfish cupcakes

There’s something gorgeous about summer food that’s willing to cobble itself together, don’t you think? Food that leaves you time to throw a beach-themed first birthday party designed by a big sister, and to in fact attend the whole party. Food like a big plate of grilled peaches with feta and mint and nothing else. If not the world’s most nuanced dish, it doesn’t leave much room for complaint on a sunny summer day.

Off to play. See you next week.

Grilled Peaches with Feta and Mint

Serves a small crowd as an hors d’oeuvre or a light side dish

6 large firm-ripe peaches, quartered (or 10 medium peaches, halved)
½ cup crumbled French feta
2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
Canola or grapeseed oil for brushing

Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Brush the cut sides of the peaches with a little oil. Grill for a few minutes on each side, to soften the peaches a bit, warm them through and create grill marks and a bit of smokiness. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with the feta and mint, and serve.

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