Despite it being his birthday month, Michael hates the month of August. He’s also not that much of a fan of his birthday, come to think of it—the last few years we’ve gone down to Keen’s in Midtown so he could avail himself of a giant steak, but even that isn’t appealing to his senses this year. I have plans to take him to Momofuku this year, as we’ve never been but we are completely obsessed with Momofuku. I want to make sure it’s fully in the spirit of Treat Yo Self Day and we spend the day frequenting as many of his favorite places as possible.
It needs to be a good one, too, as this particular August had an..interesting beginning but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the bright spots here and there. We were able to celebrate a friend’s milestone birthday down at his new home in Maryland and had a mini-reunion of sorts with so many of our friends from the New Haven years which was a real treat. I also haven’t been south of Delaware for years, so it was a lot of fun to see places like Baltimore for the first time in so long—the last reason that brought me to that particular area was when I was scoping out colleges and Loyola was on my shortlist.
The other bright spot, as silly as it sounds, has been the fact that heirloom tomatoes have been on sale at Fairway all month. Organic heirloom tomatoes, I should add. Every week I’ve ventured over to the organic section to pick up a few for weekend salads, and every purchase has yielded delicious results. Whether it’s the tomato-cucumber salad from Hawksmoor at Home or a lunchtime arrangement with peaches, basil, and burrata, I haven’ had to fret much over eating enough lycopene. Taking a cue from Ina Garten I also made a fresh pasta sauce by marinating some chopped heirloom tomatoes in olive oil, mint, and garlic and then stirred it into fedelini with some fresh mozzarella. The leftovers I had the following week were excellent, as each day it smelled like a margherita pizza was cooking in the work microwave.
I’m not quite done with them, as I think this weekend I’ll have to try some spaghetti all’amatriciana, and Rachel Khoo has a fresh bolognese sauce that left me utterly intrigued when I saw her make it a few weeks ago on her BBC/Cooking Channel show. I’d also add in wanting to make copious amounts of pa amb tomaquet, but given that we’re off to Spain in a few weeks, I’ll hold off as we’ll be able to get the real thing soon enough.
Of all of the salads I’ve made this summer, the aforementioned tomato-peach-burrata concoction might be my absolute favorite because it should only be enjoyed during this time of year when both peaches and tomatoes are approaching their peaks. This came about when I wanted to make myself a nice lunch on a Friday afternoon, and I was inspired by a salad a friend had posted on Instagram. It’s not difficult at all to assemble and makes for a very leisurely meal, best paired with a nice glass of wine and maybe an episode of House of Cards or two. The burrata adds just the right amount of heft as well as creaminess to the whole affair, and so it’s really easy to justify buying a whole ball of it.
If you’re able to get your hands on some delicious tomatoes of your own, definitely make this salad—perhaps it might not be immediately obvious as a Treat Yo Self kind of indulgence, but trust me—you won’t be disappointed.
Tomato, Peach, Basil and Burrata Salad
Makes one salad
- Small handful of baby arugula
- 1 heirloom tomato, sliced into wedges
- 1 ripe peach, sliced into wedges
- 1-2 stalks basil (I used opal basil), leaves removed and kept whole
- ¼ ball burrata, broken into chunks
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt
Place arugula on the salad plate, and then add the peaches and tomatoes—arrange as desired. Scatter basil leaves over peaches and tomatoes, then top with chunks of burrata cheese. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the salad, and then finish with sea salt and serve immediately.