The laziness washes over me after weeks, maybe months, of intense social happenings and work obligations. There is a quiet now. People are taking vacations deeper into the mountains and to far-away places so the neighborhoods are hushed and still. The afternoon heat makes a siesta in the hammock so appealing that I grab a novel and climb, as gracefully as possible, onto our striped double-wide hanging from two grand Ponderosas, doing my best not to flip over and fall off the opposite side.
Once I am steady and reclining in the center, I take in the scent of pine that wafts passed my face. I hear the breeze moving its way through the tall trees long before I feel the warm caress of nature’s breath drift across me. The gentle wind keeps the hammock swaying back and forth, cradling me under the shaded canopy of the forest. I close my eyes, inhale deeply and then let out a long exhale, releasing any residual stress. Ah, summertime.
Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. ~ Sam Keen
Lazy days such as these deserve sustenance that is equally as beautiful and relaxed. The slightly peppery flavor of the rocket or arugula leaf is a delicious contrast to the sweet earthy taste of roasted beets and the lovely floral notes of the figs. A nice strong Stilton cheese and crunch of walnuts round out this pretty Roasted Beet & Fig Salad with Stilton, which is the perfect dish for a summer afternoon or evening meal.
|Roasted Beet & Fig Salad with Stilton and a Blackberry Vinaigrette|
- ¾ Olive oil
- ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 loose cup blackberries, plus extra to garnish
- 5 ounces baby arugula leaves, washed and dried (about 1 cup per person)
- 12 small beets, assorted colors, washed and dried (2 beets per person)
- 3 Figs (1/2 fig per person)
- ½ cup walnuts pieces
- 5 - 6 ounce wedge of Stilton cheese
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Roast the beets by wrapping them in foil (wrap the lighter beets in a separate packets than the dark so the colors don’t bleed onto each other).
- Place the wrapped beets into a 425 degree oven for 30 – 45 minutes, until they are tender (I use my toaster oven for this).
- Remove beets from oven, and allow to cool.
- Run the beets under cold water and slip off the skins, using a small paring knife to remove the tough bits, if necessary.
- While the beets are roasting, place the vinegar and blackberries in a bowl and mash the berries thoroughly using the back of a fork or potato masher.
- Strain the mixture through a fine wire sieve.
- Press all of the liquid out into a large cup or small mixing bowl.
- Add the olive oil and honey to the vinegar mixture and give it a good whisk.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Place approximately 1 cup of greens on the center of each plate.
- Arrange 4 of the quartered beets around the greens, using two different colors of beets if you have them.
- Then place 2 of the quartered figs and a few blackberries on each plate.
- Cut small pieces of the Stilton off the wedge and scatter chunks of the cheese over the greens and you may even want to place a small wedge of the cheese on the side of the salad.
- Sprinkle the walnuts over the salad and drizzle with the dressing.