This summer has been nothing but mixed emotions. Presented with really great work opportunities that have led me to travel more, work with brands I love and respect, style the cover issue for a magazine, and teach in this beautiful space for this innovative company. It also has been a summer full of sadness, losing a family member, witnessing others deal with sickness, and on top of it all, dealing with the guilt that comes with being a mother.
When June came, I had this plan. We would swim almost every day. Go to the park. Work in the garden. BBQ every night. Spend the quality time together that I so desperately was craving during the year. Because to me, when I look back at summers growing up thats what they were. With hours of time on your hands, even being bored most days trying to find something to do. That is what I wanted, that is what I thought summer was and should be. And really, that probably is what summer is like for a 10 year old. But as an adult, a full time working mom, that was a high expectation to set, and left me feeling overwhelmed that my children did not receive that type of a summer.
Now we did swim, a lot actually. Hudson went from barely putting his feet in the water to swimming to the bottom to find the rings. Lola got moved up 2 levels from where we first started. We traveled, we BBQ'd (as much as we could in a 100 degree summer), and we worked in the garden which is now over filling with tomatoes, peppers and kale. But I wanted more.
School now starts next week and the weird thing is, I'm really ready for it. This summer was great, and really hard. And the expectations that I put on myself have left me feeling drowned in guilt. I'm ready for a fresh start. Realizing I cannot do it all. But I'm doing ok!
With this summer being busier then expected, we often times turned to this panzanella for dinners and lunches. Taking whatever we had fresh in the kitchen at the time, and adapting it with different bases from dijon mustard, to sage maple syrup, and often times the simplicity of balsamic vinegar. Sometimes, even adding more flavoring to the bread, with a little garlic and herbs like thyme or oregano. This one is filled with heirloom tomatoes, both big and small. Peaches, basil, dried salami, day old bread, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh mozzarella. Topped with extra freshly ground pepper and flaky salt. Crunchy, sweet, salty, vinegary, and eaten right out of the pan.
Peach Tomato Panzanella
1 loaf of day old crusty bread, torn into cubes
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 peaches, cut into wedges and thinly sliced (skin can stay on or be removed)
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 pint of small tomatoes, halved, sliced, cut into wedges (do a mix of cuts)
1/2 cup dry salami, sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 ounces of fresh mozzarella, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cup basil, loosely packed, quickly chopped
flaky sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss together the bread cubes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper. Lay them out evenly and place in the oven until crisp, about 7-10 minutes. Remove the bread cubes from the oven and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, toss together the peaches, large tomatoes cut into wedges, the smaller tomatoes, salami, basil and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Once the bread has cooled, toss together (on the baking sheet or in the large bowl), the bread with the tomato peach mixture. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss together thoroughly, allowing the bread to absorb the juices. Top with fresh mozzarella, a little more basil and a pinch of flaky salt.
NOTE: great additions would be, red onion, capers, greek olives, or replace with peaches with plums