It’s summer again. Last summer, we were both unemployed and living in our hometowns, making money from freelance and Craigslist gigs. Fast forward through a long winter and a bit of a dramatic spring and we somehow ended up where I'm writing from now -- the backyard of a rented house in the Hamptons. When we envisioned this summer, we thought we'd be wandering around the country already. But then this happened -- through some combination of dumb luck and steadfastness, we ended up working as a private chef team in the Hamptons for the summer.
So here we are. It's a beautiful morning and we're drinking hot coffee in the backyard of our beautiful house that's way bigger than necessary. After five big dinner parties, we finally have a day off out here and it's hard to believe that the summer is coming to an end already. It's been a lot of busy days, long lines and bad traffic. Hot days and humid nights. Torrential downpours. Bad jokes. Cooking fancy meals and eating shitty ones (every day we eat the same breakfast burritos from a store in Sag Harbor, half in the morning while chugging iced coffee and driving, and the other half five hours later, cold and soggy from the fridge, in one hand while we stir polenta with the other). It's pretty comical and weirdly stressful but also a lot of fun. There's a lot to hate about the Hamptons. Sometimes it feels like a foreign utopia that we're in but not quite a part of. But it's also beautiful, quaint and lush, and it's hard to ignore that we're living in the lap of luxury.
We have a pool that we sometimes drink rosé in, a beach not far away, a short drive from Montauk and seafood stands with lobster and steamers and wide sunsets (and mosquitos). The farms out here are incredible and everywhere. The corn, the tomatoes, the berries, the cucumbers, the stone fruits -- everything tastes like the sun this time of year.
And that's where this came from -- a breakfast salad born from a few tomatoes from the market, an almost but not quite overripe peach, a head of baby celery a farmer gave us, and this marinated goat/sheep feta cheese we're obsessed with from this cheese store in Sag Harbor.
Peach, Tomato + Celery Salad
handful celery leaves
2-3 heirloom tomatoes
1/4 cup creamy feta or goat cheese
pinch of basil +/or fresh oregano, torn or thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced
Place a small sauté pan over high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. When the oil is nearly smoking, add the celery leaves, stirring occasionally until soft and blistered. Set aside.
Cut the peaches and tomatoes into large chunks and toss lightly in a bowl with olive oil, salt and lemon juice.
Add the celery leaves and crumble the cheese on top. Finish with fresh herbs, more salt to taste, and black pepper.