Roasted Cherry Tomato Salad for Lunch

September 24, 2015

I spent all day in the kitchen today, cooking, taking photographs, making notes. Washing cookie dough or olive oil or fruit juice off my hands again and again so that I could type out thoughts on the computer or scribble things in my notebooks, then I’d go back to slicing, kneading and tinkering as I do.

It was wonderful. I don’t remember the last time that I had the time to piddle on projects this way, but I’ve really missed such time.

I can really only work like this when I know that the only interruptions will be self-imposed. It’s a comfort knowing that I’m the only thing in the way of my exploring. Sometimes I’ll play ambient music to keep me company, other times I hum. Or tell myself stories. (I ought to be more embarrassed to admit that than I am…maybe?) The truth is that I don’t really mind spending time alone. In fact, I find that I really need it to….be me. I find a great deal of satisfaction and relief in taking the time to let my mind spin, and do even the simplest tasks deliberately. Mindfully. I’m always spinning through the world, and you’d think that I crave that, right? But what I really crave is the stillness just to watch myself move.

As you may have gathered from my tone, my work, and the somewhat frantic nature that I’ve been leaping/riding/eating all over the place lately, I’m going through some big stuff. It’s messy and internal, and lovely and outward all at the same time. None of the things that I’m experiencing are new. In fact, in essence they probably aren’t that different from whatever you’re going through now, or that which your best friend/neighbor/teammate/sister is going through. But these things are new to me.

For a while now, I’ve been riding this crazy roller coaster — sometimes by choice, other times against my will. It’s the type of ride that whips you around corners so you slam into the side walls of your coaster car; the kind that loops you upside down, then drops you off of a cliff so that you come up out of your seat, and feel the leg and chest harness holding you from splatting on the ground below. When people ask how I am recently, I’ve told them about this feeling, maybe even smiling and laughing a bit. I think they think I’m crazy. I’m not — we all know what it’s like to ride that ‘coaster. Some of us are just more comfortable with telling the world that we’d like to stop-the-ride-please-and-is-there-space-on-the-teacups? Because those somehow seem more enjoyable just now.

Up Close and Personal Tomatoes

What you need to know is that I’m well. I’m inspired…and almost frightened and overwhelmed with the possibilities that will await when the roller coaster comes to a stop in the station. (If, that is, it ever really does?) I’ve watched myself go from a place where I was merely reacting to each turn to a place where I’m now looking ahead to where the coaster is going next. To what drop/twist/flip will come up, closing my eyes in anticipation. Trying to breathe through the curves, and between own my own squeals of glee/fear/discomfort.

Someplace between todays’ cooking/shooting/note-taking/documenting/scribbling, I whipped up this Roasted Cherry Tomato Salad for lunch. It only took a minute to come together and while I hadn’t originally intended to share it with you here it seems like just the thing that you’ll want to know about because it’s just a few ingredients, it’s the type of thing that you could whip up in moments without much consideration, and is just the perfect thing to enjoy in this moment as summer slips away and slows into glorious fall. It’s straightforward. Simple. So good. Just like this bit of time that I spent today. This was basically everything I had in the refrigerator, and don’t you just love when things stop swirling and you realize that what you have on hand is exactly enough?

A couple of quick notes here: use the freshest, ripest tomatoes you can find. If you don’t like feta, you could add in any other fresh cheese here and for the breadcrumbs, I suggest whatever day-old loaf you might have on hand toasted and crumbled but wouldn’t suggest going so crazy as to put store bought breadcrumbs on top of your salad. Crumbled up crackers would do; just something for extra crunch.

On another important note, in the coming weeks, you’ll watch this web space disappear for a bit (with a lovely little coming soon curtain posted over it!) and when it returns it will be everything that it is now and MORE. I can’t wait to see it, and can’t wait for you to see it either. A shiny new start.

While the site is away you can watch me here. Keep watching Skratch Labs for a new, improved and amazing version of this. And know that all is right in the world, even when you’re looking at it from upside down in a roller coaster. : ) – xo L

Roasted Cherry Tomato Salad for Lunch
  1. 1- 2 pints of fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes
  2. 1-2 ripe plums, sliced
  3. a good glug of olive oil
  4. 2-3 Tablespoons of capers, drained
  5. 1 shallot, diced
  6. 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  7. a small handful of chopped chives
  8. sea salt and pepper to taste
  9. 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese
  10. zest and juice of one lemon
  11. 1 cup of day-old breadcrumbs, lightly toasted
  12. crushed red chili flakes (optional)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Place all of the tomatoes in an 11x13 inch pan with the diced shallot. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt + pepper and pop into the oven for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and the juices are boiling. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside.
  2. Pop the walnuts onto a cookie sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes, until fragrant and golden brown. Remove them from the pan and let cool before chopping coarsely.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, walnuts, capers, crumbled feta, bread crumbs and chives. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil and season to taste with salt, pepper lemon juice, zest and chili flakes. Enjoy on its own, or on a great piece of toast!

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