Yes, I did indeed just use “embrace” and “end of summer” together. You see, the way I see it, June is for the planning, July the languishing, and August the embrace at the end. Think of it as a warm hug goodbye, until next year.
While I’m three weeks out until the official end of my children’s summer vacation and school commencing in September, I know that August is the last chance to really find that feeling I search for each summer. I am searching for an elusive moment when the kids are all smiling, still wearing their swimsuits from water play in the sunshine, the backyard table set for alfresco dining, piled high with fresh salads and roasted vegetables, the garden at the outskirts of the yard bursting with ready-to-be-picked produce.
Photos by Shaina Olmanson | FoodforMyFamily.com
This idyllic view of what August brings sits at the corner of my mind in March when I’m sowing seeds into tiny pots, in April when I unearth the last year’s roots from the ground, in May when I carefully extract plant from pot and introduce it to the sun-warmed soil, in June as I water and weed, and in July as the first fruits appear and start to balloon on the vines and bushes.
So, while I am always sad to see the summer fade, I embrace this last hurrah, with its plentiful harvests and calming days. I breathe deeply the summer air, knowing that all too soon I’ll be covering my shoulders with sweaters and my face with scarves.
This salad is built upon the activities of the last few weeks: pulling root vegetables from the dirt, picking berries off the bush, uprooting the midsummer lettuce plantings from their homes. The earthiness of the beets pairs with the sweet-tart blueberry bursts and the salty Gorgonzola for a salad I was proud to serve to my family and then a table full of guests the very next week.
|Roasted Beet and Blueberry Salad||
- 1 pound baby beets, rinsed with greens removed
- 6 cups romaine, cleaned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, optional
- 1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400º F. Wrap the washed and trimmed beets in a foil packet and place in the oven. Roast until tender, 20 minutes or more depending on the size of the beets.
- Remove the beets from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Peel the beets, using your fingers or a paring knife to pull back the first outside layer of skin. Once they are roasted and cooled, this should come off quite easily.
- Place the romaine, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, Gorgonzola and almonds in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey, tarragon, sea salt, and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil to create an emulsion.
- Before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss.
How do you embrace the end of summer?