Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Perfect Summer Day

Boyfriend makes me blueberry pancakes for breakfast (made with local buckwheat flour, honey, milk, eggs, fresh blueberries, and maple syrup). Early afternoon out on Brighton Beach with friends on the clearest summer day. Lying in the hot sun, gaining a tan, till the heat drives me to stand ankle deep in cold waves.

Back home, some cooking, some cleaning, some preparing for a romantic dinner. A short run around McCarren Park. I haven't been exercising much lately, but these short runs remind me of my past, the dirt path under trees reminiscent of summer runs during college, although those Vassar trees were much older, more powerful, more beautiful, than these few trees trailing around a people-populated park. Finishing my run on the track, the smell of that red rubber reminds me of high school. Seemingly half my high school life was spent on the track, stretching, pep talks, running, sweating, giggling, ogling hot bare-chested teenage boys, running up and down grassy hills, and out onto those sun-dappled country roads before returning back to the track. This track is instead filled with die-hard soccer players, amateur runners, families enjoying their weekend, and lounging hipsters.

Finally, dinner in the waning light on the deck with my loved one: grilled hake (a white fish), marinated cucumber and radish salad, and potato salad. Divine. All made with local ingredients, except for the vinegar, mayo, mustard, and spices. And to drink, mojitos made with mint grown on the deck. No mojito recipe because mine could use some tweaking. I followed a recipe for two glasses, and ended up with four strong mojitos that we couldn't possibly finish on this Sunday night.

Marinated Cucumber and Radish Salad
1/2 large cucumber
2 radishes
1/2 small onion
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
few grinds of black pepper
3 sprigs fresh mint, torn into small pieces (and/or other fresh herbs such as parsley)

Thinly slice cucumber, radish, and onion. In a bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Add cucumber, radish, and onion, and toss to coat. Let marinate in fridge for at least 15 minutes, or longer. Serves 3 as a side dish.

Potato Salad
4 medium new potatoes
1/2 small red onion
2 celery stalks
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp salt
five grinds of black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Chop potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Place potatoes in a pot of salted water, bring to a boil, and then let simmer 10-20 minutes until fork tender. Meanwhile, dice onion and celery, and combine with remaining ingredients in a large bowl. When potatoes are tender, drain and add to bowl, tossing to coat. Can make ahead and keep in fridge until serving. Serves 3 as a side dish.

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