The Last (and First) Days of Summer by Lauren
Sun. Warmth. Shining. Summer. This weekend was glorious. At the end of September. Amsterdam, if only you were like this all the time. I would love you more, I really would.
I remember visiting Syracuse University as a Senior in High School. It was one of those spring orientations. It was about 60 degrees and sunny and honestly the whole school must have been outside on the quad. Wearing shorts. Playing Frisbee. Hanging about. I thought how amazing that everyone is outside enjoying themselves, having the time of their lives . What a great fun place to be.
But it wasn’t. It was just deception. Everybody out and about wearing shorts and playing in the quad because THIS IS THE BEST IT’S GOING TO GET. The rest of the year is snowy and cold and you see no sun. So any hint of sun or warmth and everyone is soaking it up.
So this weekend in Amsterdam my friend Brian was visiting. Perfect weather and leave it to Amsterdam to make a great impression. This weekend was DIVINE. The best weather we’ve had since April. I even wore short sleeves. And a skirt. I smiled. A lot.
We planned a boat ride and a BBQ with my friends Karen and Herman who have a great house in Zeeburg, because lord knows this is not going to last forever. Actually I’m just thankful it happened at all. To prepare for the BBQ we went to Nieuwmarkt on Saturday, the organic food market. Now I love Noordermarkt just as much as the next gal, but I gotta say, Nieuwmarkt is a hell of a lot less crowded and you don’t have to fight everyone to buy some produce. I am really becoming a fan as they’ve got some great speciality stands with fresh bread, a butcher and a purveyor of olive oils. I walked away with all sorts of fun stuff you can only get if you go to a farmers market in Amsterdam, none of that Albert Heijn crap: Corn on the Cob, Curly Kale, Swiss Chard, Romanesco, thick Asparagus and Avocados.
Unfortunately the boat broke down after literally going around the corner from Karen and Herman’s house, and Herman had to paddle us to shore and take apart the engine to try to fix it. But his efforts were to no avail and although the boat ride was cut short, it just lengthened the time to eat and drink and soak up the sun on their incredible roof deck.
For the BBQ I made two salads (both from the Whole Foods app). A twist on the Kale Salad Hilary and I love to make and a Tangy Chickpea Salad. Both great room temp salads, a perfect accompaniment to the meat fest of chicken, pork and burgers.
Perfect weather for a perfect day. Amsterdam sun, please I beg you, don’t go, just stay around for a while. And next summer maybe we could get more than a weekend of nice weather?
Tangy Bean Salad with Carrots and Green Onions
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari
1 teaspoon mustard, preferably German
1 tablespoon sesame tahini
3 tablespoons water
2 1/2 cups cooked and drained no-salt-added garbanzo or cannellini beans
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
Whisk together vinegar, tamari, mustard, tahini and water in a medium bowl. Add beans, green onions, carrots and parsley, toss to combine and set aside at room temperature to let marinate for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Kale, Carrot and Avocado Salad
1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and finely chopped
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Use your hands or the back of a large spoon to thoroughly mash avocado into kale. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving to allow kale to soften.