It's inevitable. When something ends, another begins. Some things end quickly, at the speed of light, unexpectedly. Other things fade slow, like the embers at the bottom of a fire pit, knowingly. Seasons are much like the latter. We know, instinctively, that the end of one season is upon us, as is the beginning of another.
I love seasons. I love every single season. Summer lends itself to long days spent swimming in lakes, barbecuing in the backyard, laying under the stars, people seem filled with a playful spirit this time of year. Winter gives us the excuse to hunker down, sit in front of the fire, sip on hot drinks, don cozy sweaters and big boots. In spring we blossom, shed our winters shells and watch the world come to life, the days slowly growing longer, the air littered with the scent of blossoms. Then there's autumn, oh sweet autumn, in you we see the slow death of summer, the air smells nutty, soft winds blow amber colored leaves from their high branch homes, pumpkins littering streets and stoops.
There is magic in each of you.
For a food obsessed girl the seasons not only represent the changes in weather or clothing preference, each brings a new bounty to cook and enjoy. Winter is chocked full of squash, vine fruits and root vegetables. In spring we see the beginning of whats to come in summer, blossoming vegetables, budding fruits. Summer is chocked full of options; leafy greens, berries galore and giant ripe tomatoes, just to name a few. I love the weeks in which two seasons collide. Only then, and only for a brief while, are we able to combine the bounty of both.
This salad is exactly that. A bit of summer, our current season, and a touch of fall, a taste of what's to come.
Fresh leafy greens are paired with slices of garnet pear and fresh white peach chunks, grilled nectarines with Terres de Volcans blue cheese and toasted pecans, barbecued rounds of salted sweet potato and a light tangy maple vinaigrette.
(barbecue a sweet potato, you'll thank me)
This period, those short few weeks between the passing of one season and the beginning of another is fleeting, but absolutely worth taking advantage of. You've got a few more weeks to enjoy the fun and bounty of summer, and a few weeks to ready your fall wardrobe, pull out your dutch ovens and prepare yourself for the magic of autumn. What better way to celebrate than in the backyard, with a salad chock full of the tastes of both, perhaps a good beer in hand?
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons really, I mean really good maple syrup
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
pinch of cayenne, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. My favorite, the simplest, and least dish mess way to make a vinaigrette? Place all ingredients in a mason jar, secure lid tightly, then shake the hell out of it. Viola!
2. Douse your greens.
3. Eat & enjoy!
Serve it up buffet style, in the back, with a side of buttermilk biscuits (and did mention, cold beer?)