Well met, my dear friends. I could say, "I've missed you," but that wouldn't be true, precisely: each of you dwell with me in some inner reflective space, perhaps more than you realize. If I don't know you but you've done me the favor and honor of dropping by for a read, it might be fair to say I dwell on you more than perhaps I myself realize. So then, I do miss you, whether or not you're a regular presence. AND I have this confession to make: all the things I meant to write about as winter drew to a close remain unwritten. I've been caught up in Work and Stuff, (go ahead say it you've been cheating with The Twitter oh all RIGHT, it's TRUE, everyone knows about me and The Twitter so now shut UP!) and, you know, important stuff like Gardening.
It's true enough that my gardening is lazily focused on tomatoes and could be said to be rather one-dimensional. I have a few desultory marigolds functioning largely as splashes of color, masquerading as useful bug deterrents. Basil is a fortunate and wholly accidental side effect of tossing some seeds near the dirt. Rosemary is a coveted triumph which apparently only occurs in the gardens of others. (Ahem. Some of these "others" are dear friends, from whose gardens I have fruitlessly or bootlessly stolen bits of rosemary. Do not tell them. And don't worry; they won't find out when they visit my garden. The evidence seldom remains.) Still, as the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day, and these are those beautifully golden, rather too hot, lengthening summer days where the best may come before the end of any of them.
So brace up, everyone. Truly, you can be the same lazy gardener I am and still manage to put this together. Back in the day, Jayne and I used to make these at the office during summer tomato season, using a small toaster oven, with affectionate support from fans like Mr. Ming's mother. We drew crowds from far and wide. When our small toaster over betrayed us by belching just a bit of smoke we even drew unwelcome crowds from the management offices, but we didn't like them much, anyway so that was all right.
It was this easy and it still is today, as long as you have those all-important fresh garden tomatoes. Toast two slices of interesting bread. This may be sourdough or sunflower or Kalamata olive bread, but whatever your poison you must toast it lightly on both sides. Lightly spread one side of each slice with a good quality mayonnaise. (You can skip this step if you must.) Cover each slice of bread with slices of fresh tomato. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper (and if you've a bit of fresh basil you have only slightly stolen from a neighboring garden, now's the time). Top each slice of bread with a solid slice (or a good amount of grated) Cheese. You. Love. This can be a stout Vermont white cheddar or grated Emmenthaler or - really - any cheese you like. Put both slices under a hot broiler and remove when the cheese has melted or browned or bubbled or looks just the way you like it.
If you have fresh figs, put them on the plate or follow an alternate plan and add whatever lovely fruit you can. Add a glass of pinot grigio or cold fresh water and you've captured summer's flavors in your own kitchen and your own house and maybe even in your own garden. Just like that.