The first thing I noticed when we landed in Paris this past July was the roughly 30 degree drop in temperature. I'm not complaining, I would much rather spend my days picnicking outdoors in the nice, breezy, 70-ish (Fahrenheit) degree weather than trapped in an air conditioned room all day to keep from having a heat stroke. What I do miss though, is being able to go outside with my shorts, tank top and flip flops without having to bring a "just in case it gets cold" jacket. I miss feeling the heat of the sun nearly toast me to a crisp as I lay out in my bathing suit (yes, being raised in Florida, you actually like that feeling). I miss being able to wear flip flops all year round (which I couldn't even do in Atlanta), and not even knowing where to buy a parka.
I've had my couple of days in Veulettes where I could tan by the pool and only start to shiver when a cloud passed in front of the sun, but it doesn't compare to the summers in the Sunshine State.
As we get nearer to winter, my long sleeved shirts and jeans seem to be making more frequent trips through the laundry. I'll have to have my dad bring me all my "real" winter clothes when he comes to visit next month. To the back of the closet you go, flip flops... *tear*.
Since fall is right around the corner, I wanted to squeeze every last bit out of summer as I could. We got some sun in Veulettes (especially Daphné... poor girl!) while picnicking on the beach, and today being the official "Last Day of Summer" I wanted to make an especially summery tartine.
I got the inspiration for this tartine from a new book I bought, Tartinez Gourmand with Éric Kayser. I've been buying french cookbooks in an attempt to help improve my French, but unfortunately, that means I can only hold a conversation if it has to do with food... Ha. I'll learn one day. His recipe was a simple croissant tartine, with cucumber, garlic and feta. I kicked mine up a bit with some lemon juice, red onion and mint. The bright, citrus marinated cucumber cuts nicely through the creamy feta and buttery croissant. The red onion gives it a spicy bite, and the mint finishes with a fresh burst that will make you wish that summer would never end.
So here is my ode to the last day of summer...
Cucumber, Feta, and Mint Croissant Tartines
Adapted from Tartinez Gourmand with Éric Kayser
1/2 of an english cucumber
1 cup of cubed or crumbled feta
1/2 of a red onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
juice of half of a lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
3-4 sprigs of fresh mint
salt and pepper, to taste
In a bowl, whisk together the minced garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slice the cucumber into thin slices, about 1/8 of an inch thick. You can use a mandoline to slice them if you have one; otherwise, you can slice them by hand with a sharp knife, and don't worry if they are not perfect. Place the sliced cucumber into the garlic, lemon juice and olive oil marinade and mix to coat the cucumber.
Slice the croissants in half, as if you were going to make a sandwich out of them. In a toaster oven, or regular oven, toast the croissants cut side up, until they just start to turn brown (should only take 2-4 minutes).
Cut feta into 1/2 inch cubes, if not already cubed. Alternatively, you can use crumbled feta.
Top the toasted croissants with the cucumber slices and sprinkle some minced red onion over the cucumber. Top that with feta, freshly cracked black pepper and a few leaves of fresh mint. Serves 3.