When the dog days of summer begin, you can’t help but lie back and accept a slower pace of life. Even during my late evening walks along the pier, ice cream cone in hand, I can still feel the heat causing a slight sweat at the nape of my neck. However lethargic and indolent I may feel, I’m still grateful. I’m grateful that the California sun brings plenty of harvest for me to fill my plate with.
The first time I ordered a cup of coffee at a French cafe, I simply asked for “un café.” The waiter promptly brought out a tiny cup, the size of a shot glass, filled with some very black looking coffee. I smiled and pretended like I wasn’t a tourist who was seeing the smallest cup of coffee she’d ever seen in her life. One sip was all it took to finish the coffee and keep me awake and alert for the rest of the day. I realized the coffee was really just some strong espresso, and that the tiny cup it was served in was customary for an order of un café. I later learned that if you wanted a milder version of coffee served in an actual mug, you needed to ask for un café Americain. Most French people don’t understand why Americans drink a watered down version of coffee, as they prefer the taste of espresso. I’ve come to understand their point of view and often side with them, especially when it comes to something like these espresso chocolate cupcakes. These cupcakes prove that espresso can be quite delicious!
In the summertime, I enjoy fuss-free meals more than ever. The California breeze is a little warmer and the pace of life just a little slower. I feel out of place spending too much time in the kitchen when there’s so much to enjoy outside. My usual preference for cabernet sauvignon is gradually replaced with chilled brut, while leafy greens get nudged aside in favor of gorgeous melons. This prosciutto melon salad, in particular, is a summertime favorite.