[Redwoods, August 2009.]
The end of summer is always sort of a difficult time — oh sure, I know there is a month yet until the fall equinox, and if we’re very lucky Northern California will be blessed with its usual spate of hot, sunny weather that could stretch all the way into October. I know this. I know. But still there’s that sort of wistful, final-days ache around the heart that is not so easily mediated by iced coffee or going to bed early.
But there are redwood forests and pine forests, too, and weekends in the mountains with wine and cheese that help to distract a bit. There are tomatoes — gorgeous, glorious tomatoes bursting with red ripeness that I eat over the sink so the juice doesn’t run down my arms and onto the floor — and fat bunches of spinach fairly begging to be pureed into vegetable soups. There are picnics and kisses from sweet dogs and old books re-read that become new again. There are days yet to be spent at the beach, or along the back roads of Sonoma County where the blackberries are spilling over fences and apples are nearly ready on what remains of the orchards there.
And there are eggs, both for breakfast and for dinner. Somehow it helps to bridge the gap.
I don’t know what it is: maybe I’ve been lacking in protein consumption (all that cheese I’ve been eating surely has done something, though?), but lately I’ve been wishing for eggs a lot — softly scrambled through and through in a bit of butter, organic and as fresh as possible, please, from my farmers’ market. I’m tucking in feta or cheddar, wilting in spinach or shredded chard, and lacing them liberally with oregano or basil. I can’t get enough.
The other night I made the eggs pictured above, scrambled quickly with feta, spinach, and an heirloom tomato. I piled them atop a piece of wheat toast and read Gourmet, sighing at the feeling in the air: summer, gone too soon (or nearly). I thought about how next time I might like to saute some leeks until soft before adding the eggs, and that helped a little. Then I spooned on some tahini sauce which helped even more.
Another thing I find I can’t quite get enough of is this tahini sauce/dressing I make for salads and couscous alike. It’s fragrant and tart with lemon and just salty enough to satisfy even me. The nutty sesame seed flavor is one of my very favorites; I first tried it on eggs this spring in Rochester, when Lena and I cooed at the baby and sat long at the breakfast table drinking strong coffee and eating cookies. It might sound strange to put tahini sauce on your scrambled (or fried) eggs, but please believe me that it’s absolutely delicious. In short, to use my favorite French cliche, tahini adds a certain je ne sais quoi and dresses up even the most basic permutation of egg you could think of.
So then: fall, I might not be completely ready for you but c’mon and do your worst. My fridge is stocked with delicious vegetables to eat and I will visit my friendly egg seller on Saturday morning to replenish my stores. If the sun shines more desperately in these waning days of August I will find even more excuses to be outside. And I will remember that this next season brings sweet apples and tart, brussels sprouts, pretty pumpkins, and a self-imposed challenge to learn how to poach an egg once and for all.
Summer will be back before I know it; in the meantime I have my little comforts. I hope you do, too.
Tahini sauce for eggs, or whatever else
1/4 cup tahini
3 Tb. lemon juice
2-5 Tb. warm water
1 Tb. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Whisk all ingredients except the water together until smooth. Add the water one tablespoon at a time until the sauce is pourable but not too thin.