It was as though I was a leaf in a swollen, racing river, twisting and bobbing in the speeding current. The river began in May and zoomed me past the languid banks of summer, where folks picnicked and sunbathed and lazily swatted at flies.
Not me. I sold my house, which meant I bought a house– and that meant lawyers and buried oil tanks and inspectors and chimney linings and remediation and termites and fitful sleep and skipping spin class and barely making my deadlines and packing every single day for weeks and weeks and weeks. And in the end, the only reason we were packed on time was that we have friends who are gooder than good and came over every day after work and wrapped bowls and wine glasses and stuffed boxes with crumbled newspaper and taped hundreds of boxes closed.
One weekend, the very last weekend before we moved, we had summer. It was glorious. Every year, the best weekend of the summer is one we spend with four close friends at a house on the water that two of them are thoughtful enough to own. (For the record, we loved them just as much before they had the house.) We lolled around and felt the sun on our skin and happily feasted on glorious food they cooked for us, and when the sky was lit only by stars, we sent Chinese lanterns full of hopes and wishes floating up toward the heavens. For two days, we forgot about boxes and paper cuts and writing FRAGILE on cardboard with Sharpies.
Then we came home, back to a house that was nothing more than a series of paths through boxes, a house where we couldn’t even cook eggs, and for two more days we packed, and on the third day we moved.
And so it is that this was the summer that almost wasn’t, but was– thanks to good friends who packed and cooked and called and helped and cared about our dogs’ well-being throughout all this nearly as much as we did. They gave us that gem of a weekend that made the river pause from it’s frenetic race toward autumn, to stop long enough to let us enjoy the smell of food sizzling on a grill, the flavors of produce fresh from the farm stand, and most of all, the reminder that our seasons matter too much to let them pass unheeded.
Here then, is a recipe to celebrate the last week of summer.
Grilled Watermelon Steak with Arugula-FetaTopping
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 (1 ½-inch thick) wedges watermelon
2 cups arugula or watercress
¼ cup crumbled feta
2 tablespoons pepita or sunflower seeds
- Heat the grill for medium high direct heat cooking (350-400 degrees).
- Whisk the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper together; set aside.
- Brush the watermelon steaks with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil And place on the grill. Cook until grill marks appear on the underside, about 1 minute; turn and grill until the underside is again well-marked, about 1 more minute.
- Combine the dressing with the greens; place over each wedge and sprinkle with the feta and pepitas. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings
Per serving: 137 calories, 4 g protein, 13 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 2 g saturated fat, 190 mg sodium