September: Zucchini on toast

September: Zucchini on toast

With my favorite season breezing in, I’m finding myself at the Union Square Greenmarket more and more. The colors alone are so uplifting that I couldn’t resist buying some bright pink, red, and orange celosias for my desk. The hashtag-inclined might call that a bit of #cubicleambiance.

Vibrant fuzzy flowers aside, I also picked up a couple of ingredients for my monthly foray into The Larder. If you couldn’t tell by now, I’ve been leaning toward the easier recipes in the book. I like to think this is less a result of hesitation than of an honest preference for simple ingredient-driven meals.

Last night’s dinner celebrated one of Jon’s favorite vegetables, the zucchini. You can read more about the recipe on Deb in Hawaii’s blog, Kahakai Kitchen. The heavenliness you’re looking at in this picture is toast with lightly fried thin slices of zucchini over a dressing of goat cheese, olive oil, lemon zest, and shredded basil.

I spent the end of my summer luxuriating with Bee Wilson’s kitchen history, Consider the Fork. With fascinating chapters on the development of everything from our use of fire and ice to our kitchen utensils and gadgetry to our kitchens themselves, it really made me think about the history behind every meal we make. Sure, this recipe is pretty elementary compared to Slater’s tarts and pastries and “mirabelle feasts” (his words, not mine) but there’s an undercurrent of cultural and personal history that makes this little meal special somehow.

Our habañero plants reaching for the sun. Always learning and growing.

There’s a relationship and a sense of experience I’m developing with my kitchen. I laugh as I recall my mother once exclaiming “My baby knows how to chiffonade!” as I slice thin shreds of basil. I choose to slice the zucchini thinly with a knife instead of a peeler and have the intuition to know which knife I prefer and how thin is dangerously thin. I trust my reflexes to tell me how quickly to jump back from the stove after dropping a slice of zucchini in a pan of hot olive oil. I have practiced the dance of rushing my step-ladder to the panicking smoke alarm when I’ve forgotten to open the kitchen window.

Zucchini on toast may not seem that exciting, but it will never be made exactly the same as it was this one night in this one kitchen for these two hungry people. Every meal is a memory.