My swollen fingers and the humming cicadas tell me summer has officially arrived. As I perch here on our screen porch lazily nursing some tea, iced of course, I can't help but give in to the rousing heat that seems to envelop my perspiring body like a hot crepe. A slow rumble of thunder is off in the distance and slowly the shadows of the wooden beams above me begin to fade. I notice the chipmunks scurry to take cover. The neighboring feline, disgruntled that her afternoon nap has been interrupted, slowly rises from her place of rest and trots off to dryer ground.
Quickly the day dims and I start to wonder if I had, by accident, dozed off for an hour or two. But no, it has only been a few minutes since I was last sipping my tea, allowing the sun to beat on my hot skin. I peer through the screen and see pillows of ashy, gray clouds rolling, pouring over each other as if in a race to see who could make the most mischief. The idle trees begin to dance, a slow waltz of sorts keeping time with the vibrating wind sweeping through their branches. I watch the blue jays and mockingbirds make haste to their nests while a squirrel fixedly struggles with a nut, which undoubtedly will mean nothing to him in a few minutes.
Pit......pat. Pit......pat. Pit. Pat. Pit. Pat. Pit. Pat. As if God pulled the levees himself the skies open up and a gully of warm summer rain pounds the dry earth instantly nourishing its roots and furry inhabitants. Caught off guard, the lone squirrel, unable to let go of his treasured morsel, shoves the semi-cracked nut in his mouth and races to the nearest tree to find shelter under its waxy, umbrella-like leaves.
I close my eyes and with slightly parted lips I taste the cool, forgiving breeze that accompanies the storm. No heat of the day can squelch my ardent appreciation of a summer thunderstorm. And just like most joys of this life the storm is quickly over and already the creatures of the trees begin to emerge and carry on their daily foraging. The ground, once cracked with dehydration is now spongey and soft. The leaves, once shriveled and parched are unfurled, each frond happily dancing with the breeze.
Empty glass in hand I slowly rise, taking in the remaining rolls of thunder, straining to hear the last pitter pats of rain. I feel refreshed, as if I too was just showered. What a lovely way to commence the week indeed! I wish you a happy, restful and restoring weekend!
On days like mentioned above, I absolutely have no interst in spending my time over a hot stove. I much prefer a snack intending to satiate and cool off my over-heated body. This particular dish is nothing fancy, no frills or adornments. Just a simple medly of summer flavors, perfect as an appetizer or side dish.
For this dish the eggplant is raw. Graffiti eggplants are smaller and have a much softer exterior, similar to that of a cucumber. They make lovely "chips" and can be layered with all sorts of spreads. Enjoy!
Graffiti Eggplant with White Bean, Lemon & Basil Spread
- 2-3 graffiti eggplant, washed and sliced thin
- 2 cups dried white beans, soaked for overnight, drained and rinsed (or one 15ounce can)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- handful of basil leaves
- salt and pepper
- zest from 1 lemon
- chopped basil for garnish.
Cook white beans in boiling water for about 30 minutes or until tender (not mushy!). Drain and cool. Place in a blender or food processor along with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, basil and lemon zest. Add more olive oil and/or lemon juice to make the consitancy more creamy. Add salt and peper to taste.
Place a slice of the eggplant on a plate and slather with bean spread. Repeat four or five times depending on how tall you want your stack. Sprinkled with salt and peper, drizzle with some olive oil and top with some extra topped basil.
For a heartier dish add some fresh shavings of pecorino or parmesan...yummy!