Raw Zucchini and Sun Gold Salad

August 26, 2011



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Zucchini persists, a happy constant.

Life is changing a lot–unlike my friends in Texas, who have endured nearly three months of 100+ temperatures, I can feel the fall moving into North Country. It starts with a subtle gust of cooler wind, whirling at my feet. I hear a few more crows cry, and the smell in the air changes a little. It’s not electric yet, but that’s coming. We still have warm, golden afternoons. The wildflowers and hay are high, the leathery day lilies just beginning to wrinkle. The next few months are my favorite time of year, especially in this part of the world. Home.

Moving is difficult. I haven’t written about it: there were so many emotions, and I didn’t know what to say. Christopher and I spent four years making a home, building our own village, and then suddenly–albeit at our own discretion–the place and the people faded in the rearview mirror. We packed up our books, our rugs, our bed. Our belongings were skillfully arranged on the truck like Tetris bricks, set to be carried along thousands of miles of highway.


We drove through Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania then up to New York and Connecticut. The moving van lagged behind, picking up other homes en route. I lay in bed at night in motels with florescent lights shining through grey curtains, itching from stiff sheets. My belly ached and my head spun from too many sweets at Cracker Barrel. I thought about our home… where we lived after we got married, where we collected books and made meals and memories. It unnerved me to think of our things in boxes, rumbling along some unknown highway. We couldn’t get more than an estimate on what day the movers would arrive. They said, “We’ll call when we’re close.”

My parents live in Connecticut, and we stayed with them, waiting for the call. In the meantime, I grounded myself in the kitchen. I love what the land offers in late-summer. Eggplants, squash, tomatoes, maize and fruits became ratatouille, corn salad, blueberry crumbles, peach pies. Still, there were monarchs in my stomach. For over a week, my whole life was up in the air, (or out on the road) and I had no idea what it would be like where I landed.

Well, it’s quite nice here. Our house is small and cozy. Right now I want to stay forever, although that, too could evolve. I’ll miss these summer squash as the September breezes blow in and clear the fields for something new. But I can’t wait for the apples.

Raw Zucchini and Sun Gold Salad

Serves 2 as a side-dish or stater

Slice 1 medium zucchini and 1 medium summer squash into matchsticks.

Cut 1 c Sun Gold or cherry tomatoes into halves.

Make a vinaigrette (reserve extra) and coat zucchini, squash and tomaotes generously, letting them marinate at least 15 minutes.

Toast 1/3 c pine nuts.

Pit and chop 1/2 c black olives.

Chop 2 oz feta into small blocks or crumbles.

Chop 1 large bunch of herbs (I like parsley or basil).

Wash, dry and chop 6 c of greens (optional).

Just before serving, toss greens in enough vinaigrette to coat. Lay zucchini and tomato mixture on top.

Add cheese and olives and sprinkle herbs to garnish.

Add pine nuts last, preserving their crunch.

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