The other day on my way to the dog park, I saw a sign for an estate sale in bright orange paint on a bright yellow poster. Now, seeing as every four houses on a saturday in Portland is either having a garage sale or an estate sale, I normally wouldn’t detour too far out of my way for one unless I was truly on the hunt. But this sign, for some reason, called to me. I turned a sharp right on the next street, found a parking spot and went inside. Among piles and piles of needless stuff, I almost immediately spotted and couldn’t take my eyes off of a cast iron grill pan that was sitting quietly in the corner of the kitchen. I couldn’t leave without it, and I knew I had to have it. Instantly we were bonded. It may sound silly, but it almost felt to me as if it had spent its entire existence at this house so that it would be sold, for eight dollars, to me.
Serendipity. It’s not just a horribly cheesy movie. It’s also pretty much how I try to live my life. Opportunities present themselves, sometimes in the form of a job or experience opportunity, sometimes in new and old friends and acquaintances, and sometimes in bright yellow signs with orange paint. I make an effort to leave space and time in my life for spontaneity, and for the most part I am rewarded. I’ve also learned to let the things go which do not bring positivity into my life without necessarily being prepared to replace it. Usually, in this case I am rewarded too.
It’s not easy moving to a new place without having any sort of concrete plans or a solid friend base. I have my boyfriend, who’s not only a boyfriend but a true friend above all else. We have an amazing puppy. We both have at least one job that fulfills us, that makes us happy and has rewarded us in some way. We are meeting some great people. We’ve already encountered bumps in the road, impediments that force us to make difficult decisions and sometimes ones with unforeseeable outcomes. But in making time for the good stuff, and in weeding out the bad, we are making it happen. Slowly, things are coming together.
I received some great news today, and consequently spent the morning tearfully overjoyed and hugging my puppy. Yes, good things are brewing on the home front. Sorry to leave you in suspense, but it’s too early to divulge…and no, I’m not pregnant. Just wanted to clear that one up.
So instead, I’ll just leave you with this recipe for garden greens with grilled peaches and figs. There’s really nothing serendipitous about it, except for the fact that I used my amazing new-ish cast iron grill pan and it met- nay surpassed- my expectations.
Garden Greens with Grilled Peaches and Figs
- Juicy peaches
- An assortment of garden greens. Mostly arugula and spinach.
- Some kind of crumbly cheese. I used homemade farmer’s cheese from my Portland Culinary Workshop class)
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
Start by gathering your greens. Farmer’s Market, Trader Joe’s, New Seasons, your neighbor’s garden. Don’t matta. Just pick up a bunch and make sure they’re organic and healthy looking. None of that supermarket iceburg crap.
Chop the peaches into slices, half the figs and place on a sizzling hot griddle pan with maybe a drizzle of olive oil. Allow to grill for a few minutes on each side, using tongs to flip, until the fruit is softened and has some grill marks on both sides.
Meanwhile, shell some pistachios. Use a knife to smush and crack them into smaller pieces (as you would a garlic clove to remove the peel) and throw them in a small pan on low to medium heat for a few minutes to bring out a roasted nutty flavor. Watch carefully so as not to burn, as nuts can and will burn quickly if you don’t keep an eye on them. Remove from heat, allow to cool.
Assemble the salad. Throw the greens into a bowl, sprinkle the pistachio, grilled fruit, and some goat cheese, farmer’s cheese, or feta. Or maybe even blue cheese if you have that on hand instead. Drizzle generously with a mix of olive oil, salt, pepper, and the juice of half a lemon. Take a moment to appreciate the simple beauty of the dish.