Friends, it's been a beautiful summer, hasn't it? I hope your days are filled with blue skies, berries and (heaven help us) low-humidity. I've missed this space and hearing what you've all been up to, and of course what you're eating.
A few weeks ago I confessed to a group of girl friends that I'd hardly eaten any summer-y foods – garden tomatoes, okra, blackberries, the like. A slew of travel, work, and moving (albeit just a few miles down the road) left me with more Chipotle burritos than trips to the farmer's market, and I can't help but feel like I've missed out.
Sustenance aside, one of the most important things I feasted on this summer was a book called Real Love for Real Life, a million-dollar recommendation from Meagan.
In the thick of one of the busiest seasons in recent memory, I savored every page of this book as it pays tribute to the slow, inefficient and necessary work of caring for people -- vocationally and in the margins of our daily lives.
"The state of being frantic, overextended, and distracted drives people away rather than drawing them in and inviting them to the refuge of your company. No one is comfortable coming to someone when they feel like an interruption. The fear of interrupting feeds into the isolating trends of our culture where no one wants to be a bother to anyone else...
God invites us to resist the tangled webs of busyness that imprison us and make it impossible to respond in love to the people around us. If we want our lives to reflect the truth that people matter, we must live intentionally toward that end. If we really believe that people are important and that caring for each other is at the heart of our call to follow Jesus, we must thoughtfully and intentionally offer people something more." - Andi Ashworth, Real Love for Real Life
Shot through the heart, right? I don't quite know how to free myself from the "tangled webs of busyness," but I do know that the most magnetic and soul-enriching people in my own life are those who never seem strapped for time in the presence of others.
Andi Ashworth put words to a truth I've sensed but never articulated about the unhurried gentleness of so many of my favorite people.
So in hopes of shaking the world's virtues of packed schedules and speed, I'm making a concerted effort to not let the "b" word (busy) come out of my mouth so quickly and so often when asked how I'm doing. Instead of unintentionally communicating lack-of-time and unwillingness to participate in the lives of those around me, I want to communicate a life open to the needs of my neighbors, an ear for unhurried listening, and a schedule full of time for thoughtful care.
All this has very little to do with toasted corn and peach salad other than the never-ceasing personal lesson that small things matter. People, meals, conversations. It's vastly important to have enough margin in our lives and hearts to say yes, show up and think about how to care for the people around us.
If you've had a summer with more trips to Chipotle than to the farmers market, you are in good company. Let's forget the "b" word for a while, invite some friends over, and make some toasted corn + peach salad.
sweet corn + peach salad
Serves 4-6 as a side. I love a good non-lettuce based salad, so when I saw toasted corn salads in this months's Cook's Illustrated, my wheels started spinning. Like all salads, this is a little-of-this, little-of-that recipe. Adjust the seasonings and mix-ins to suite your tastes! I think bacon would be a welcome addition, if you are so inclined :)
What you'll need:
5 ears of fresh, sweet corn
3 tablespoons canola oil (or other high-heat friendly oil)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 small red onion, finely diced
generous handful of fresh basil, chopped
1 avocado, cubed
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt + pepper to taste
Heat oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, in a non-stick or cast iron skillet. Working in batches, add corn and a scant sprinkling of salt in an even layer, and let it toast untouched for 3-4 minutes until it begins to pop. Stir, then let sit for another 3-4 minutes. Continue in batches until all your corn is toasty and charred in some spots.
Toss all the ingredients together except for goat cheese and avocado. Allow to cool in the fridge for at least an hour, then stir in crumbled goat cheese and avocado before serving. (Even the faintest warm salad melt your goat cheese into a creamy dressing situation. Not the worst problem, but crumbles are wonderful. And of course, avocado will brown so leave that out until the very end too).