This week. I practiced being on summer vacation.
I walked to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. On a weekday. And spent far too much money on things that have nothing to do with summer. Ramekins. A rolling pin. Glassware.
And far too little money on things that have everything to do with summer. Popsicle makers. Beach chairs. A Mercedes convertible with the top down and Top 40 music blasting from the state-of-the-art speakers.
I ate cherries. Many of them. Possibly an entire bag. By myself. I thought about baking with them. But it’s summer, remember. And in the summer you don’t turn on the oven. (Ha. This coming from the girl who just bought a butternut squash from Whole Foods. Because she felt like it. My oven will be on. Aplenty. Boy am I glad that the AC/electricity bill is already accounted for in my rent.)
I worked on my beach hair. You know. That wind blown kind-of-wavy-kind-of-messy look. Part “I just had the best sex of my life”. Part “I just walked on the beach”. Part “What, I just woke up looking this good”.
And, what everyone knows and no one wants to admit. Part “I’m too lazy to do anything with my now lower back length hair other than shake it under the blow dryer for a few minutes”.
Well. At least the last two are true.
I refused to think about school. At all. Whatsoever. Because who thinks about school during summer vacation? Never mind the fact that I have a test tomorrow on two weeks worth of material. Practicing for summer vacation. Much more critical.
And. Of course. I ate this salad. Because during the summer. People eat things like salad.
(Some of us also eat things like butternut squash. But for now. I’ll conform.)
It was not supposed to be a salad. It was supposed to be an appetizer. Made with dates instead of figs. And minus the arugula, goat cheese, and dried cranberries that I threw in for posterity. But when you’re cooking for one. Making appetizers just doesn’t make that much sense. And making salads makes a lot more sense. Not that I care very much about sense. But you know. I have to be rational some of the time.
Actually this salad was incredibly delicious. Sweet dried figs (Trader Joe’s was out of dates. For which I’m glad. Very glad. Because I really like dried figs.). Salty pancetta. Tangy honey goat cheese. Bitter arugula. My mouth was happy. Very happy. And so will yours be. When you make this. What are you waiting for? Summer’s almost here. You’d better start practicing.
Roasted Figs, Pancetta, Almonds and Chile
serves 4, adapted from Symon’s Live To Cook
2 cups dried figs
3 oz pancetta, finely diced
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Put the figs on a baking sheet and roast about 5 minutes or until heated through. Turn off the oven but leave the figs inside.
3. In a pan, cook the pancetta until it is almost crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the almonds and continue cooking until they brown, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the red pepper flakes and broth and simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in teh butter, stirring until butter is melted. Add in the lemon juice and the parsley.
4. Add the figs to the pan and swirl and toss them in the sauce.
If you just want to make the appetizer, then stop here. But if you want to make the salad, then toss with arugula, some goat cheese, and dried cranberries.
Also, the Regional Recipes: Vietnam round-up is posted! So be sure to check it out and to also go see where our next country is going to be!