endless summer

Do you know that mid-summer feeling? And by that I mean the slight panicky feeling at the thought of days that once seemed stretched out like the never ending horizon, rapidly dwindling down to a precious few. The comforting feeling of countless days ahead, which once seemed like way more than enough, to recapture-to accomplish all of those summer things you dream about? I know that feeling. I felt it months ago.  And then, through that cruel trick of time that continues to sneak up on me every year, that never ending horizon slams into the unstoppable wall of August.
There have been visitors from another country, Friday night concerts on the Green, al fresco dining, vacations, long hot days by the pool, crazy busy week ends, working in the garden, Saturday mornings at the Farmer's Market, Sunday afternoons eating buttery corn on the swing, watching a summer thunderstorm roll in, fireworks viewed from the deck, music under the stars, amazing home grown produce, two baby fawns living in the backyard, bitter sweet visit to my childhood home, a few long lazy days of nothing, and most of all, time spent with friends and family...It may be that I'm feeling nostalgic about the timelessness of early summer, or it may be that I am looking for ways to avoid accepting the responsibilities of impending fall ...B-U-T-  
I still have a lot of summer stuff  to do. YIKES!  is all I can say.

When that's about all I can say, the time is right for a le salade pour une.

Salad is my dinner choice when I have only myself to nourish and my own taste buds to please. It's a simple, beautiful thing, easy breezy, and capable of endless variation. What follows then, is not so much a recipe, but an account of a culinary creation on a sultry evening in late July with only the stars as my dinner guests.
It all starts with fresh spring greens or romaine also invited to the party could be avocado, juicy heirloom tomatoes, freshly roasted beets, something sweet (strawberries or oranges), crisp (radishes or shaved fennel), cheese (Gorgonzola or Roquefort) to lend a whiff of indulgence, crowned with cheese beingets or plump, pink shrimp (if I'm lucky) and balsamic (that has been slowly aged in wooden barrels for 25 years) or a creamy homemade blue cheese dressing... as I said, endless ingredients. I'm reeling with the possibilities, can you just imagine! oh swoon!
mmm kay? I still have stuff to do. You probably have stuff to do, too. But here's the thing, I made this tart: it doesn't just taste like summer, it also simulates the illusion of summer. Lemony desserts snag me somehow, all that yellow sunshiney lemon and white fluffy cloud meringue and the taste is big enough to fill all those summer day memories as seen from the perspective of late-May...filling even the stretched out never ending horizon. Now that it's almost August, I don't have much in the way of a final masterpiece to show, but this tart comes close. High falutin as it may sound, this tart is a dream to make [easy peasy, lemon squeezey]. Just dump all the ingredients for the crust into a food processor [it doesn't even need to be rolled out and gently lifted into the pan], cook up the custard, whip up the meringue and chill [you and the tart]. 

lemon meringue tart


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