The Summer Day

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean –
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

- “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver, from New and Selected Poems

Here is what I’m doing with my wild and precious day today: spending as much time as I can with the girls.  My youngest is home from a month as Leader-in-Training at camp; my oldest has a few days off before returning to camp for the rest of the summer as a counsellor. As they get older, our time together is more precious than ever, and I intend to make the most of it.

What are you doing with your wild and precious day?

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad with Goat Cheese and Toasted Walnuts
(adapted from Fresh, Fast and Green by Suzie Middleton)

1 recipe quick-roasted beet slices (see below)
2 Tbsp orange juice
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
kosher salt
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups mache or Boston lettuce, torn into small pieces
1 orange, peeled, cut into quarters, and then cut crosswise into 1/2” thick slices
2 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (optional)

Arrange four salad plates on the counter.  Combine the orange juice, lemon zest, thyme, balsamic vinegar, garlic and a pinch of salt in a bowl and stir well.  Transfer 2 tsp of the dressing to a small bowl.  To this small bowl, add the olive oil and a pinch of salt.  Toss the lettuce with this mixture.  Combine the roasted beets with the remaining dressing.

Lightly scoop a quarter of the lettuce with your hands and put it on a salad plate.  Add a quarter of the orange slices and a quarter of the beet slices on top.  Sprinkle a little salt over each salad.  Crumble the goat cheese and sprinkle evenly over the salads, then do the same with the walnuts.  Serve right away.

Quick-Roasted Beet Slices

8 to 10 ounces golden beets (4 or 5 small, or 3 medium), trimmed, scrubbed but not peeled, and very thinly sliced (1/8” to 3/16”)
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.  Line a large sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper.

Put the beet slices in a mixing bowl and toss thoroughly with the olive oil.  Arrange the slices, evenly spaced, on the sheet pan (it’s okay if they touch).  Sprinkle with thyme and salt.

Roast until the beets are tender and glistening, 16 to 18 minutes.  The smallest slices will be black around the edges.  Let cool for a few minutes before serving.


Valerie Gamine said...

Love Mary Oliver - delicious little poem, even though grasshoppers scare me. :D
I'm crushing on this salad too!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

I've been enjoying having Nick home from college this will be strange to have him leave us again in just a few weeks. Your salad sounds incredible...I'm going to have to roast some beet slices...such a novel idea!

Bonnie said...

I love it all, the poem, the salad and that you are spending time with your girls. Enjoy, time slips away before we know it.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I adore beets of all shapes and colours.

Vicki Bensinger said...

I love beets but prefer the golden beets since IMO they're sweeter. Your salad sounds like the perfect blend of flavors. Beets and goat cheese are my favorite. Nice salad!

Kayte said...

It is a beautiful day here as well...such a gift! Love this recipe, am marking it for SOON, VERY VERY SOON. I could live on salads alone, seriously. I copy every salad recipe I see at least once. lol

Paula Montenegro said...

How interesting that the poem only focuses on a day, not your whole life or big dreams, I love that! The small things. The salad is so original Beth!

Kitchen Riffs said...

Great poem! Great salad, too - I love beets in anything, but they're so great in salads, particularly when roasted. Really good stuff - thanks so much.

Cindy said...

Yummy looking dish! I just finished spending a week with our oldest grandchild. We are now off to Chicago to see her younger brother get baptized. We are Mormons--batism is a big thing--we couldn't miss it. Life is good. Children grow fast, relish every moment--this i know.

Natalie Aguirre said...

So true that the time slips away. That's why I'm enjoying all the time driving my daughter around this summer. Thanks for the great recipe. I'm still thinking about the blueberry one.

Barbara said...

Savor every moment with your children, Beth. They grow up so fast.
I love the poem AND the beet salad.

nancy at good food matters said...

beautiful salad, beautiful poem!

Today, I am heading out to spend the day in the country--savor the fresh air and work in a good friend's garden.

Unknown said...

I love Fast, Fresh and Green! I haven't tried this recipe but now it's on my 'to try' list! Children do grow up fast and you're right to enjoy your time with them while you can ;)

Juliana said...

What a beautiful salad Beth, The golden beets with orange looks delicious especially with the goat cheese...indeed a very summery dish.
Hope you have a great week ahead :D

Anonymous said...

golden beets,orange,walnuts and goat cheese...all four things we love to eat added to this salad...what is not to love...yumm :-)

Kari said...

I love that poem - and the sentiments it conveys. It sounds like you're taking full advantage of your girls' company :-) I also love the look of this dish!

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Beth, what a lovely poem and wonderful summer salad - the colors are oustanding and the recipe sounds amazingly delicious - to my great disamy, I cannot ever find yellow beets around here. Enjoy the wonderful time with both your daughters!

Unknown said...


I took my kids to Color Me Mine today. They have pottery there and you paint it. It's a lot of fun and it keeps the kids (and me busy for a few hours). It's our special us time together.

Angie's Recipes said...

Going to farmer market tomorrow and I need to get some golden beets! Your summer salad looks divine, Beth.

grace said...

beets, grr! i want so badly to like them but so far, i've never eaten a preparation i found particularly tasty.

Joanne said...

I'm really really trying to like beets! This salad is just so pretty!

Chocolate Shavings said...

The roasted beets looks delicious !

Vi said...

I love roasted beets! I didn't know you could roast then until last year when we grew more than we needed in the garden and I needed new ways to cook them. Love that sweet summer poem.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Oh, my. I do love Mary Oliver. Such an amazing poet.

The salad looks wonderful, too. I really need to get fancy with salad. I usually just do the same stuff each time. This one would be good, though!

Daniela Grimburg said...

Just discovered your blog when blog hopping.
Great recipe and pics.
Will be back for sure!

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