To see an image of this recipe two steps further along, press the arrow to go to the previous post (right-pointing). I’ve written about the platter of caprese salad in progress there.
Meanwhile, for those of you who are curious, here’s the recipe for this fresh tomato dish, probably my favorite summer appetizer of all time. Favored because it tastes so wonderful, and doubly favored because it’s so easy and quick to prepare — and requires no extra heat in the kitchen during the hot and humid days of summer. (By the way, that link will take you to an older post that includes three fabulous basil recipes.)
I couldn’t resist sharing this photograph, especially since 2009 will be my last attempt at growing the beautifully fluted and scalloped Costoluto Genovese tomato. It slices up so prettily that just looking at this shot was enough to make my resolve waver… but thankfully only for a moment. I really cannot spare the space in my small kitchen garden for an underperforming heirloom that doesn’t ripen until mid-August and only produces a handful of average-tasting fruits per plant.
The variety is clearly not suited to my bioregion’s climate and soil conditions, because I’ve heard it was prolific and tasty in other gardeners’ plots. If my other tomatoes had done as poorly, I’d have an excuse to give it another try next year. But with so many fascinating tomatoes out there, I’m calling Costoluto Genovese a mostly-failed seasonal experiment and moving on to the next one.
Sigh. Sometimes it’s hard to give up the things that aren’t just right for us. I’m thinking of lobelia and sweet peas, which I was able to grow so well when I lived in Canada, and red velvet cake and country ham, two treacherous holiday treats which never used to stick to my hips like they do now.
At least there are tricks for temporarily fooling the sweet peas into blooming. No tricks I know of to reverse aging and restore the metabolism to teenage levels. Although getting outside in the fresh air, with my hands in the dirt and my skin absorbing the buttery sunlight, can provide the momentary illusion of youth — or rather, awaken me to the timelessness of this moment, and the joy and beauty to be found in it.
I hope I can capture a moment of timelessness today. Actually, I make that wish for all of us.