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notes from a small house

August 10, 2010

The haze has finally lifted, I think. For some time, I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts, not unlike this fellow:


The temperature in dc mercifully dropped from 100+, and I wrapped up some necessary, very time-consuming evils. In fact, not only do I now have an internship at a fairly wonderful design firm, I also started a second part-time job a week ago. Friends, I am a cheesemonger! Yes, a couple of days a week, I monger all things aged-milk related, at this fine establishment in Del Ray, which I plan to share more about in future posts. Isn’t monger just a swell word, too? I love that I now can refer to myself as someone who mongers, and, for the first time ever, gets to earn a (relatively wee) living doing the two things she loves the most: designing + eating. Hurrah to that.

I’ve also come to this realization: I would very much like to be a better contributor to this site. I’m going to attempt a different approach, because my problem is thus: I get flustered if I don’t have the perfect story, or recipe, or photo, and then I don’t write, and then I get more flustered because this space gets lonely, and it’s just a devilish, silly cycle all ’round. I’m not going to worry anymore about that. If I don’t have an epic tale to tell, I won’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t chat, does it?

For instance: have you ever whacked into a fleshy watermelon, sliced it up, sprayed it in lime juice, and showered it in a nice sprinkle of salt? Well, you should definitely try that. The sour tang of the lime nudges the summer lovely flavor of the melon up just a notch or two, and makes it rather hard to stop eating. The same combination also works splendidly on melon, and most especially on mango (not too ripe, mind you), with the pleasantly stinging addition of a little chili powder. In fact, so powerful was my craving for this particular fruit salad, that I ended up slicing into a whole mango in the communal kitchen in my office, eliciting more than a few sideways glances from my coworkers. It makes for an ideal summer lunch, really. A little sweet, a little zippy, no need for a stove, and virtuous to boot.

Another favorite fruit salad, of sorts, also makes good use of a ripe watermelon. Find a nice heavy one, preferably from the farmer’s market. Next, procure the following: a tangy, creamy hunk of nicely aged feta,  a few sprigs of fresh mint (from the army growing outside your back door), a lush fruity olive oil, and your pepper mill. Chunk up the watermelon and pry out the seeds. The minor annoyance of dealing with a seedy watermelon is worth it, in my book, as the seedless ones tend to not be as flavorful, and a wimpy, pallid watermelon just will not do here.

Anyway. Chuck the chunks into your favorite salad bowl, and follow suit with some nubs of the feta. You don’t want to drown the watermelon in feta, but the joy of this salad comes from the wonderful contrast between the sweet melon and the salty cheese, so don’t be shy. Next, drizzle a healthy stream of olive oil over the whole thing, along with a grating of black pepper. Toss and tumble it all together, and finally, chop (or rip) up a handful of mint over the deliciousness you have just created. Enjoy, preferably outside, with a bitingly hoppy IPA and hopefully not too many mosquitoes. Although autumn may be my favorite season, as long as this salad makes a regular appearance at my table, I’m happy to sweat through a couple more weeks.

Happy summer, all, and see you soon.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Daphne permalink
    August 11, 2010 10:49 am

    Whoopie! Yahoo! Glad you’re back. And with just the thing I’ve been looking for, pining for, needing help with – an oven free, heat free, delectable summer salad. Yum, and as I write there’s a Mrs. Cardinal sitting on my baby weeping cherry outside my home office window. She’s beckoning me to leave my desk and venture outside…duty calls, alas. Anyway, I WILL take a break at some point, run out, purchase the melon and feta, and mint since there definitely isn’t any growing out my back door. Thanks for the inspiration. Glad you are posting again. The more you write, the more things you’ll find to write about…its a devilishly UNsilly cycle!

  2. August 13, 2010 2:37 pm

    This sounds delicious. I can just taste the combination of sweet, tart and spicy all in one mouthful. Perfect! And congratulations on the internship and job!

  3. August 19, 2010 7:43 pm

    oh, yes, definitely the salt on the watermelon! i’m going to try your suggestion of lime next.

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