This Is Just To Say

It has been hot as balls around here, which will not be news to you if you live on the East Coast. While outside, though hot, there has been a breeze and thus in the shade it is not too too bad, inside without air conditioning is a wretched sauna of hatred, trickling sweat, and fetid stench. Also, the other night a skunk got spooked right outside the front door and sprayed all over a corner of the house, so with no rain in sight for weeks the air is seductively perfumed with a sulfurous reek redolent of nothing so much as a smoldering corpse wrapped in plastic that you forgot about in the trunk of your ’79 Chevy in the Nevada desert while you attended Burning Man. Good times.

Dinners in this tropical torpor would be challenging but for the garden. It contains more food than we know what to do with, and offers infinite inspiration all year round, especially when the idea of applying fire to food seems about as appealing as removing one’s upper lip with a wire brush. “Hey, why not just have a salad?” it said. I listened.

Also, too, currants! White and pink ones, just rounding the corner into ripeness, suggested a fine affinity with duck, which happened to exist in the freezer. And such herbs and greens, each with their own complex coordinates on the bright/bitter/spicy/sweet/savory matrix, as to make one positively reel in a vortex of verdant vertigo.


A duck breast, scored and seared, then rested, then sliced, comprised the protein. Puntarelle, wild arugula, Thai basil, fennel, shiso, parsley, and scallions made up the greens. The vinaigrette consisted of olive oil, sumac vinegar, fish sauce, ginger, green garlic, green coriander, maple syrup, and sriracha, all ground together in the suribachi until smoothish. I tossed the greens in the vinaigrette. I sliced a jalapeño and put a round on each piece of duck, then dribbled the duck juices from the resting plate and the last of the vinaigrette over everything. Threw some currants at it. And we ate.

It was delicious

so sweet

and so cold

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  1. July 17

    That looks fabulous. And cold.

    And for the record, “hot as balls” is one of my favorite colloquialisms. Really, this heat wave has been quite pleasant, as opposed to our earlier heat wave. That was hot as BALLZ.

  2. Carla B.
    July 18

    …so cold…and so pretty, too. “Hot as balls” does have a wonderful ring to it, but isn’t the fact that sperm require a LOWER temperature to thrive the reason that men have to tote these things around outside their bodies?

  3. Rachel
    July 21

    The first time I truly realized that I had perhaps been spending too much time with my male friends was when working outside one day in a delightful Florida summer heatwave. I stood up, wiped my brow, and said “Damn! I’m sweating my balls off over here!” The looks on the faces of the people around me were simultaneously amused, confused, and horrified.

  4. Peter
    July 21

    That’s awesome. I’m delighted to provide a forum where intelligent, worldly women can talk about balls.

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