see ya, summer

Labor Day, and September–in general–always marks the end of summer to me.  Which is always bittersweet.  I’m an August baby, so summer means my birthday.  It means celebrating and letting go.  Mostly, I love the ease of summer.  How you can just wake up, shower, and run out the door with wet hair.  How you never have to wear a coat or bulky shoes.

But, alas, at heart–I’m an autumn slut.  By the time September comes around, I’m ready to hunker down, drink some cider, and hibernate a bit.  I love how the air is just nippy enough to require a sweater.  I love the textures, colors, and smells.  I love how things get a bit more serious.

This summer, though, life wasn’t so carefree.  It seems summer–despite all my intentions and best efforts–was hellbent on making me introspective.  I had some good times, sure, but I spent far too much time with myself.  It was good, though, because I needed the time.  Desperately.  And summer, with all its ease, gave me the space I needed to isolate and unwind.  Now that fall is just around the corner, I’m ready to work hard and get moving.  I’m taking a work hard, play hard approach to my life right now–in an effort to be a whole person and not just a corporate drone.  I’m balancing lots of priorities, but I think autumn is the perfect time to do it–because there are so many anchors embedded in this season and so many things to explore.

This weekend has been super low-key.  I’ve been on a quest to simplify everything.  Purging things and redoing things.  It’s been a good change.  Along with that has been changing my diet, drastically.  We’re no longer using the food service we tried out over the summer, so a lot of my meals lately have been very Paleo.  Meat, veggies, and some grains (not Paleo, but essential for me).  Oddly enough, despite my Martha Stewart-y, over-the-top ways, cooking simply has helped me remember why I love cooking.  It’s reminded me that the smallest things can be amazing.  And it’s also made me bring my knowledge to the table.  We’re still working on doing this every night, but we’re actually doing pretty well.  A lot of it ends up being trial and error.  But it’s fun.

Tonight, we made flatbread caprese pizza.  I was originally making green chili, but haven’t been feeling great.  (Allergies!)  Green chili is a bit of a chore, since I’m not using pre-roasted chilies.  I just bought some from our organic grocer, guesstimating the amounts and making do with the two types of chilies they offered.  Instead of pork roast, I subbed pork chops–due to availability and me not being a tremendous pork fan.  Which requires a bit more babysitting.  It’s a lot easier to go wrong while searing.  In any case, that was supposed to happen today–but it didn’t.  So, I’m making that tomorrow.  I’ll post the recipe and pics if it’s not a disaster!

The plan for the night was caprese and sandwiches.  I’ve been making a lot of paninis lately.  It’s been fun to play around with flavors and really invest in outstanding products.  They really are so easy to make.  Unfortunately, the organic grocer was sold out of my favorite panini bread, so I ended up buying Ezekiel bread and lavash.  I made sandwiches for lunch, and while good, I decided I wasn’t in the mood for more Ezekiel and wanted to try the lavash.  I made the caprese and then debated if I should just do a warm open faced thing on the lavash.  Both my roomie and I had the same idea…why not put the caprese on the lavash and add a little meat to the mix?

Welp.  The thing about last minute spontaneity is that it can either be amazing or scary.  And it’s hard to recreate, usually.  You’ll always learn something.  I dumped the already dressed salad on the lavash, along with a slick of olive oil and more cheese/basil.  It went into the toaster oven, and 20 minutes later, we had a pretty decent looking pizza–that was a little soggy.  Delicious, but so soggy.  I realized why immediately.  Anyway, I still love the idea and was so happy with how fast it came together.  I’ll do it again…only this way.

Happy end of summer, y’all.

caprese pizza

(before toaster oven…too messy to take an after shot…oh, yea…and we devoured it pretty fast)

Caprese Sandwich Pizza

  • 2-3 tomatoes (heirloom preferred), cut in slices and big chunks (if smaller)
  • 2 lavash
  • 2 slices Boar’s Head roast beef
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzerella, sliced
  • 2 slices provolone cheese, cut up
  • basil, to taste
  • sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper
  • reduced balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil, drizzle

(You could also put chives on this.  An onion-y something would be wonderful.  Fresh oregano would also be amazing.  If I was more my fancy self today, I would have dumped some arugula, dressed with lemon juice, on top).

So, the best way to deal with this would be to put the cheese and roast beef down first and stick that in the toaster oven till the cheese melts (about 15 minutes).  While that’s working, put your basil, tomatoes, olive oil, and salt/pepper in the bowl.  The tomatoes will give off a lot off liquid–which is wonderful–but you don’t want it on your pizza.  When the cheese is melted, use a slotted spoon to scoop your tomatoes and place on the pizza.  Drizzle with balsamic, eat immediately, and have a happy day.

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