I’ve never liked the lamentations that often accompany Labor Day, all bemoaning the end of the summer. First of all, summer is not over; September 20th marks the beginning of fall. And it’s not as if the weather immediately resets itself to autumn mode, either–the mere act of going into my closet Sunday morning to contemplate sweaters was causing me to break out in a sweat. Just because coffee shops are champing at the bit to push their pumpkin pie spice lattes doesn’t mean it’s time to put away the sandals. You can try to pry those off my feet, but I don’t think you’d be successful.
Besides: this is the best time of year to enjoy the best of what summer has to offer. Making your way down to the Union Square Greenmarket via subway comes with the best reward: the overwhelming aroma of peak-time tomatoes and herbs enveloping your senses as you emerge from the subway station. Even if you can’t make it to that particular market, you are afforded a similar sensation as you shop for tomatoes in your local supermarket, because if they don’t smell amazing now, they likely never will.
(I realize with the previous statement that I am showing my proximity-to-Jersey-tomatoes-privilege, but they are seriously the best tomatoes ever so I apologize for nothing.)
So it could come as no surprise that my favorite gazpacho was part of our Sunday menu when friends came ’round to partake in the local beaches and dinner. We spent most of the afternoon at Cummings Park and its lovely beach, and I knew this would work as a refreshing appetizer after some bread and aged Manchego. The big question, to be honest, was if we had enough chicken to satiate the four of us–the original recipe in the Barcelona cookbook calls for two whole chickens, but M winged it a bit with one and some chicken thighs we had sitting in the freezer from a prior sale.
In the end, our friends insisting on picking up a fruit-laden cheesecake from Fairway was the perfect decision–we all got a little of everything without falling into food comas.