Wednesday, August 26, 2009

sweet relief

The past few weeks, it's been, on average, about 93 degrees Fahrenheit in our kitchen. How do I know this? Well, this little surfboard magnet on the side of our fridge has a handy dandy thermometer on it. I'm really glad it does. Makes complaining about the heat so much easier when I have tangible proof of kitchen temperature.
You see, Mary and I decided to get through this summer without the help of an air conditioner. We had several reasons for this decision. Fresh air is lovely. Air conditioners are expensive. They're not energy efficient. We don't have that many windows, and we don't want to block out light with a bulky window unit. And also, secretly, it makes us (or at least me) feel rather proud to think that we're living without the modern luxury of that quickly-cooled air. Call me crazy; I probably am.The result of this decision, however, is that we sleep on top of the sheets and blankets with a strong fan blowing directly on our sticky bodies. I often find myself padding to the freezer after a few hours of tossing and turning to retrieve an ice pack, which I then tote back to bed with me wrapped in a towel and grasp as if I'm an inconsolable toddler and it is my security blanket. Not to worry; that always does the trick. I fall asleep in minutes, lulled into slumber by the coolness of the melting bundle in my arms.
During the really hot, humid days, draping ourselves over the refrigerator door sometimes provides a moment of relief. Or drinking a chilled glass of water in a stream of hurried gulps. But after a meal, when I kind of want ice cream but know I'll just get annoyed that it's melting so fast, I turn to cool, sweet fruit, slurped up as its juice trickles down to my elbow, and enjoyed so much more because I know it will be gone from the market in a matter of weeks. This watermelon salad was inspired by an incredible appetizer I recently had at The Farm on Adderley, my very favorite restaurant. Personally, I feel it fits even better at a summer meal's end than at its beginning. I have the feeling I'll be making this for years to come, with whatever fruits are in season and whatever nuts and herbs strike my fancy.While I may be wilting in the heat, we've just got to revel in summer while it's here. So soon, it will be gone for another year.
Sweet Watermelon Salad

Several slices of watermelon, black seeds removed
1 ounce of chevre or another fresh, tangy cheese such as feta
10 unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. of your favorite honey
A few pinches of lavender blossoms

Assemble watermelon slices on a plate. With your fingers, gently pry off small nubs of cheese and sprinkle over the fruit. Sprinkle pistachios over next. Dip a fork into the honey and drizzle in quickly over the salad. Sprinkle salad with lavendar blossoms, and serve immediately.

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Adriana Willsie and Kylie Springman ©2009