The heat has been broken. Finally I sit here at my table on the deck cool and even slightly chilly. It is early morning and I feel the dampness of the evening melt into my skin. Despite the drought our watermelon and pumpkin vines are growing, winding their way towards each other, grabbing hold of each other. The tomato plant has green fruit and the herbs on the deck are behaving wildly.
The children are tan and covered in scrapes from bike and skateboard accidents. The boys have almost gotten the hang of the breast stroke in their morning swim lessons and my daughter is learning little by little how to catch a lightning bug without squishing it in her small hands. All three of my children are lean and quick. Throughout these long days, I find they are more interested in climbing trees than sitting still to finish their meal.
I have been eating a lot of pasta dressed only with olive oil and a coarse grind or two of salt and finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon. Beneath the hot pasta a small handful of either spinach leaves or arugula slowly wilts in the heat. I let it sit and come to room temperature before taking the first bite. Everything now is slow, light and easy.
I made the Avocado and Mango Salad from the cookbook Memories of a Cuban Kitchen weeks ago and think I’ll make it again this week. The recipe says to use mango or papaya so I used both. It also calls for a bed of watercress but at the time all I could find was arugula. The peppery bite worked in this salad just as well.
Ensalada de Aguacate y Mango
1 bunch watercress, stems removed
1 large, ripe Florida avocado or 2 smaller Haas avocados, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
1 large, ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced
1/2 medium-size red onion, cut in half lengthwise and each half cut into thin slices
Pure Spanish olive oil to taste
Fresh lime or lemon juice to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Line a large platter with the watercress and arrange over it alternating slices of avocado, mango, and onion. Drizzle with the oil and juice (whisked together if you choose), and season with salt and pepper.
Makes 4 Servings
What I’ve Got Growing So Far…