Summer Calls

This day finds me inside a covered porch with the sounds of song birds and summer insects calling to one another. My youngest son is away, moving in his own time. Watching  your child become their own person is such a remarkable thing. Along with his growth, a return to myself. A person who once was solitary, forever changed by the bearing of two future men. 

This day I recognize the woman I was before. Now forever changed by my children, more than time. Children that allow me to see my family, no matter how far away they may be. A gesture brings me my mother, a look my sister, and when I see my eldest out of the corner of my eye, it is as if my brother were next to me. They made me, softer and stronger than I never imagined I could be. Silk and steel.

Each day this week my youngest and I are in households with three generations of women. It is a privilege to witness bodies of a line move in their own time, independent yet coordinated. The passing of knowledge, the ritual of learning. From parent to child, from child to parent. A back and forth, a give and take.

I long for the time my mother, my siblings, and all of ours will come together in the same place at the same time. Within that, written, I also find great contentment, for we are all happy and fortunate in our different locales. Through unprecedented live time communication, we remain connected. Means available to keep those with wanderlust grounded and connected.

This day, mine are in Paypin d'Aigues on the Grand Luberon, and in the future-time of Seoul, South Korea. I am in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. Yet with these words, it is as if they were just on the other side of the glass in the door to the porch where I sit. If I give pause, I can hear their voices in laughter on the other side. 

This day I give to you the recipes for two very tasty nibbles, the appetizers in 4 July: Joy and Friendship. Both pair well with a rosé Provençial.    

Cucumber slices with Lemon-Dill Yoghurt Cheese

2 Cucumbers: Cut on an angle in thin slices.

2 c Whole Milk Yoghurt

Bunch of Fresh Dill

1/2 tsp Lemon Juice

Fine Ground Red Salt

Celtic Sea Salt

1/4 Red Onion: Halved, sliced very thin

Useful item: Mandolin, Couer à la Crème mold

Line a colander with cheesecloth. Place yoghurt in colander and allow to drain, lightly covered, for at least two hours.

Mix Fresh Dill and lemon juice into yoghurt. Add salt to taste.

Arrange cucumbers on a platter, sprinkle lightly with the fine salt and fresh ground pepper. Place yoghurt mixture on each cucumber slice.

Finish with a sprinkle of lemon juice, cracked pepper, sea salt, fresh dill, lemon zest, and one or two slices of red onion. 

Baked Lemon-Potato Crisps with Lemon-Tarragon Sour Cream

1.5 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes: Cut into thin slices

1/4 c Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 c Olive Oil

1/2 tsp Coarse Salt

1/2 tsp Cracked Black Pepper

Bunch of Fresh Tarragon

1/2 tsp Lemon Juice

1.5 c Sour Cream

Salt and Pepper

Useful items: Mandolin, Pizza Stone

Note: Use oiled baking sheets in place of pizza stone.

Place sliced potatoes in a large bowl of water, and soak for 1-2 hours. Change water halfway through. Rise potatoes and pat dry. Place in a large mixing bowl.

Mix together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over potatoes, and coat well.

Mix tarragon and lemon juice into sour cream.

Set racks at top third and bottom third positions in oven. Place pizza stone on bottom rack. Set oven at 425. When up to temp, remove pizza stone from oven and place potatoes in single layer on stone. Cook on bottom rack for 10 minutes. Remove stone from oven and flip potatoes. Place on top rack and cook until edges have crisped, 8-10 minutes.

Place potato rounds on racks to cool.

Repeat until all potatoes are cooked.

Place potato crisps on platters and top with lemon-tarragon sour cream. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, tarragon and lemon zest.