a summer salad of arugula, cherries, and chèvre

July 12, 2016
summer salad of arugula, cherries and chèvre

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how fortunate I am living this sweet, simple, happy life here in Kingston. I love this place. The shabby-chic-ness of it. The history. The old stone buildings. The massive waterways. The proximity to other places – Montreal, Ottawa, the Adirondacks – and yes, Toronto. And better yet, how fast I can leave everything behind and be in the middle of nowhere.

 

kingstonharbour3

fall 2014

Kingston - Aug 2014
I love how livable it is. How I can bicycle to my branch library which just happens to be housed in one of those magnificent old limestone buildings. And then, on the way home, how I can drop into my local grocery store, park my bike in the racks, and buy a kale plant in the pop-up garden centre. I ride home along paths hemmed with wildflowers, passing the community gardens as I go. I love my walking trail, my friends and family here, my small but adorable house, and my garden full of herbs and rhubarb and garlic and arugula. And most of all, I love that my two lovely daughters, live within minutes of me. Did I mention them? Huge big loves of my life…

Laura and Elly

I didn’t really know how my life would enfold. I didn’t have much of a plan. I got married as an undergraduate and after we finished university we moved to Australia and then went back and forth for a very long time. We arrived in Australia with one baby and came back to Canada with a second. Then we moved our little family twice more across the Pacific Ocean and twice more back to Canada. I was busy working, being a mother, travelling, moving.

I had vague dreams of being a writer. I still have those dreams. And they still seem far too lofty. We moved so often that it was hard to imagine a forever home, or any kind of pattern to my life, let alone a life so perfect. So picturesque. Of course, I fell in love with all kinds of places along the way – bits of Yorkshire; all of France; New Zealand; Whidbey Island, Washington; Ashburton, Australia; Tasmania; the Sunshine Coast of Queensland; Crescent Beach in Vancouver; Salt Spring Island – I could definitely have lived there but for the small matter of earning an income. But Kingston is the first place that I’ve lived that feels so perfectly suited to me. Such a happy fit. I wish everyone could live like this – could be so lucky.

I’ll have to read this again come winter, when I might be slightly less than deliriously happy bordering on cranky. But for now – I am that happy and I am that thankful. And in my kitchen, I’m serving up summer. This recipe is adapted from one in Molly Wizenberg’s beautiful book, A Homemade Life. Thank you Molly – for your book and your blog, Orangette. And for this recipe too. I like the combination of slightly bitter arugula with the sweet cherries. I cut the arugula straight from my garden. And right now while cherries are in season – I’m eating as many as I can.

This salad is substantial enough to serve solo for lunch or dinner. And if you feel like tampering with it – there are endless variations – add nuts, switch out the cherries with nectarines or grapes. Use feta instead of chèvre or blue cheese. Add chopped cooked bacon… etc.

A summer salad of cherries, arugula, and chèvre

  • half a baguette – day old is perfect
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • flaked sea salt to taste
  • a cup or two of ripe Bing or other dark cherries, at room temperature, washed and halved
  • a ripe avocado
  • 4-6 cups of arugula, washed and dried
  • 1/4 each cup crumbled chevre and blue cheese (or all chèvre or feta..)
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Rip, do not cut, the 1/2 baguette into bite-sized chunks. Toss the bread in olive oil. Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned and toss the bread so that the browned sides are up. Turn the oven off and let the bread sit in the oven for another 5-6 minutes until browned and crisped.ripped croutons
  2. While the bread is crisping up, cut and pit the cherries and peel and slice the avocado. In a small bowl take about half the cherries and crush gently with a fork to release the juices.
  3. Place the cubed bread (warm is fine) in a large bowl and toss with the arugula. Add the cherries and avocado.
  4. Mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup and pour over salad. Toss gently. Top with cheese and serve.

 

 

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22 Comments

  • Reply Stacey Bender July 13, 2016 at 2:37 am

    Cheers to a happy life! It is wonderful to embrace who you are where you are and how things ended up. In the grand scheme of, well, life (and the world) I am pretty darn content too. I’ll eat to that!

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske July 18, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Stacey – so good to see you – thank you! Yes, it is good to be content with your lot in life. Not feasible every single day but I’m working on it and it seems you are too. Dogs help! 🙂 xo

  • Reply chef mimi July 13, 2016 at 8:01 am

    You indeed have lived a beautiful life! I love this post, but I always love your posts! And I’m always reminded that you’re not 30! You still look so young in your photo! Maybe that’s just your happiness showing through. I have two daughters as well. They’re now 30 and almost 33. Lots of fun – as well as millions of grey hairs! Your salad is gorgeous. I love all the ingredients.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske July 18, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks Mimi – I think you have a pretty fantastic life too. And funny about my photograph… probably the best one I’ll ever have taken! Taken by a friend who owns a beautiful spa in Kingston. She did my hair and makeup and then played with a lot of lighting. Took about 200 photographs to get one that I loved. (And she did all this for free – a SAINT!). As for me – sure it all goes downhill from here! 😉
      Looking forward to catching up on what you’re up to in the kitchen. Happy summer! xo

  • Reply Amanda | What's Cooking July 13, 2016 at 8:18 am

    Great recipe! So interesting to learn a little more about you. It seems like you are overwhelmed with gratitude. I know that summer feeling when you finally feel like things align as they should. Great rescue and perfectly reflective of the season. You are a writer!!! You have a book! Add long as you write you’ll be a writer! Be well dear Lindy!

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske July 18, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Hi Amanda – always SO lovely to hear from you. I hope you’re enjoying a fantastic summer too. I’m on the road at the moment and will catch up thoroughly with all your kitchen activities soon. Did I tell you I made your oatmeal pancakes – they were fantastic. I have about ten of your recipes printed off and stuck on the side of my refrigerator! ❤

  • Reply Elly July 13, 2016 at 10:00 am

    <3 <3 <3 Love this post mum!

  • Reply Johanne Lamarche July 13, 2016 at 11:01 am

    I loved reading your musings about where life has taken you Lindy. We are nearing a crossroads in ours and feel daunted with not knowing where we want to go next. I will let life guide us wherever that may be! We were even looking at Kingston condos a few months back. LOL. Reading your luscious cherry. salad recipe from Timmins where I am visiting family.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske July 13, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Johanne – so lovely to hear from you. Please move to Kingston!!! It is honestly a wonderful place to live. Cost of living is reasonable and there are so many recreational opportunities and great things happening in the arts. And great food and people. Amazing that you were looking here!! Heading this weekend to Northern Ontario to visit family – won’t be as far as Timmins but close. Happy, safe travels! xo

  • Reply managingmyanxietyblog July 14, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Those croutons look so delectable! I can’t wait to have a bit of extra time to catch up on all the yummy things you are posting… I liked your line about winter crankiness – I keep craving winter comfort food – sausage casserole, overnight salmon casserole, crock-pot goodies… but yes, much easier to have a positive outlook when we are not painfully cold running from the car to the house.

    Love you always! xo

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske July 18, 2016 at 1:47 pm

      Yes, you only get one season a year to complain about and I pick winter! 😉
      ❤❤❤

  • Reply apuginthekitchen July 14, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Sounds like an idyllic life Lindy a wonderful place to live. Your salad is fresh and beautiful. Lovely post.

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske July 18, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Suzanne – thank you. I think your life in Brooklyn sounds and looks pretty fabulous too. Hope all is well. I’m on the road but back again soon and will get caught up on what you’re up to in your fabulous kitchen! xo

  • Reply stephanieannwarner July 15, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Greetings from the west coast. What a beautiful post! I love the bit about bicycling to the local library in a historic building! Have a happy summer!

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske July 18, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Hi Stephanie – thank you. I bet you’d love this gorgeous old library in an old limestone, too, if you lived here! All the best – and happy summer to you as well.

  • Reply Anonymous July 17, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Yes, your happiness showing through, beautiful blog Lindy!🌹🌹

  • Reply Tasty Eats Ronit Penso August 2, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    This is such a lovely post and I love everything about the salad – so fresh and full of flavors.

    It’s odd I don’t seem get notification of new posts on your blog. I need to check what’s going on! 🙂

    • Reply Lindy Mechefske August 9, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks for letting me know that Ronit. Ever since I switched from WordPress.com to WordPress.org – I’ve had nothing but problems. I lost over 2,000 followers and can’t seem to get things working properly at all. So frustrating. I paid for for hosting and site development but honestly – I’m thinking of just going back to WordPress where everything seemed to work without any serious issues. Live and learn. Bigger is not always better, is it?!

      • Reply Tasty Eats Ronit Penso August 9, 2016 at 9:53 pm

        I’m very sorry to hear. I had no idea this seemingly simple switch can cause so much frustrations.
        I hope you’ll be able to solve the problems. Good luck! 🙂

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