So there’s been a bit of a lapse since my last post.. and as I looked at the published date, I thought, a month? How did that even happen? It doesn’t really feel like we’ve even done much and then I look at my calendar and realize we’re sitting on August’s doorstep. Our summer seems to be flying by with a string of occasional weekends away (day trips to the county, cottaging and camping), dinner and drinks with friends, hanging out with family, and trying to spend time outside while the good weather lasts.
I had a list (somewhere) of all the things I wanted us to do this summer. I always feel this burst of motivation to be more sociable and participate in more stuff in the summer, since we spend so much of the year bundled up inside. As we transition from July to August, I’ve been thinking about how these dreamy summer days are fleeting and that we haven’t checked enough things off of my list. Partially because we live in a pretty incredible region which has so much to offer, especially as this time of year (too many wine/beer/food establishments to count in Prince Edward County, festivals in Kingston, seemingly endless lakes to swim in). But also because I get serious #FOMO when I see pictures on Instagram of some event I missed or some place I have yet to visit (a hike at Rock Dunder, a trip to the Adirondacks, a certain Jimmy Buffett themed party in my parents’ backyard).
As I think about all the things we’ve been up to, I’m beginning to realize that summer is the time to cast the lists aside and just enjoy what’s in front of us. Tradition is good, but it’s fine to not pick strawberries, raspberries AND blueberries every year. It’s fine to not have something planned for every weekend. It’s a good reminder to focus on the small things: savouring our after dinner walks, picking blackberries from the bramble trailing the fence in our backyard, reveling in the reward of a cold drink after a scorching day at work.
One of my favourite parts of summer is the abundance of vibrant produce in our garden, at the market, and from our CSA. This salad comes together super quickly, and is my ode to the local food economy: radishes, fennel, snow peas, and basil from Roots Down Organic Farm, organic spelt berries from Sonset Farm, and strawberries from Fruition Berry Farm. Cheers friends!
fennel spelt salad with strawberry black pepper vinaigrette (vegetarian)
serves 5-6 as a side
1/2 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced, about 1 cup
3-4 radishes, thinly sliced, about 1/2 cup
2 cups cooked spelt (see notes)
1/4 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled
1 cup snow peas, strings removed
a small handful of basil, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
salt and pepper
strawberry black pepper vinaigrette
1/4 cup strawberries (I used frozen; see notes)
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then add a pinch of salt and the snow peas. cook for 1-2 minutes, then drain and run under cold water or place in an ice bath. Slice in half lengthwise. Combine in a medium bowl with the spelt, goat cheese, fennel, radishes, and most of the basil and pistachios (reserve some for garnish).
Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth; strain if desired. Add the dressing to the salad and gently stir through (you may not need all of it), adding more salt and pepper to the salad as needed. Top with the remaining basil and pistachios.
I had some spelt already cooked in the fridge when I made this recipe as part of my attempt to do weekly batch cooking. I usually soak spelt the night before I plan to cook in cool water, then drain and rinse the next day, and boil in salted water (like you would pasta) until cooked through. You probably need about 1 cup dry to get 2 cups cooked.
After I made jam, we froze the rest of our strawberries so they wouldn’t go bad. I’m sure fresh strawberries could be subbed in with no problem. The measurement (1/4 cup) was after being defrosted, and included the juices.