My fickle friend, the summer wind

I don't like summer.

There. I said it.

Sure, I like the sun. Of course I love all the great produce. I'm all about the beach reads. But is summer my preferred season? Absolutely not.

This wasn't always the case: when we lived in Oregon and Washington I lived for summer. Then we moved to Arizona. Seems like a weird place for a gal who dislikes summer, right? Not really. It's only 3 months of the whole year that you're totally miserable and the rest of the year is incredible. Not to mention that summer brings entire weekends spent in the pool and monsoons that shake your house and thrill you to your fingertips. No, I really liked summers in Arizona.

The Northeast did me in. That's because I can honestly say I never experienced autumn until I moved here. It seems to me the world is really alive - with color, with flavor, with texture. My reading tastes change and I open up my cozier books - a good example of this was when I read Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse. It came out in August 2007, and I was reading it on the train in summer, reading all about the rain in Oregon. It was moody and atmospheric...just not the kind of book for a summer day. I got about 20 pages in and realized I needed to wait until November, at which point I read it and swooned. Among other books, right now I'm re-reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. It's a horrible summer read (for me, anyway), but I am reading it in anticipation for the cooler weather to come soon.

Most importantly, though, I loathe summer here in New York because I don't cook. My kitchen isn't air-conditioned and it gets no airflow through its window. I made paninis for lunch yesterday and I was a sweating lunatic by the time it got to the table, the heat in my kitchen driving me to the brink. I'm all about the no-cook, no-heat, no-effort meals in the summer. Last night I made Berry, Goat Cheese, and Pistachio Salad (Bon Appètit, 2007) for dinner. It had phenomenal flavor...but I also felt dissatisfied by it because I didn't do anything other than assemble parts. That's what it comes down to: I'm tired of assembling parts. I want to cook, to create!

Tonight, the same lack-of-drama ensued. I made Patricia Wells' Cucumber, Spring Onion, and Goat Cheese Salad Le Cinq-Mars. It was fresh, crisp, and lovely. But for heaven's sake, I wanted to COOK. I loved it, I did. But is summer over yet? What's a gal got to do to roast some root vegetables???
Cucumber, Spring Onion, and Goat Cheese Salad Le Cinq-Mars

Adapted from Vegetable Harvest by Patricia Wells (William Morrow, 2007)

1 cucumber, scrubbed and trimmed
3 scallions, trimmed and peeled
Several tablespoons Creamy Lemon-Chive Dressing
2 thick slices of bucheron (you can also use 1 goat cheese crottin and split lengthwise in two)

1. Score the skin of the cucumber all along the vegetable, using a fork or (in my case) this zester. This just makes it pretty. Cut the cucumber lengthwise in half. With a grapefruit spoon or (again, in my case) this deseeder. Discard the seeds. Cut each half into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place in medium bowl.

2. Cut the onions crosswise into very thin slices. Separate into rings and drop into the bowl. Add just enough dressing to lightly coat the cucumbers and onions.

3. Arrange the salad on individual salad plates. Place a slice of goat cheese on top of each salad.

Some notes: I served this salad with slices of ciabatta bread and dipping oil. Additionally, I made the full amount of dressing, which is way too much for this salad. But I thought I'd use it for another salad this week. So feel free to halve the dressing recipe.

Eat, drink, and dream about my wool sweaters, waiting to keep me cozy and warm!

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