the fleeting summer and a recipe: balsamic roasted summer vegetables

I have the post-vacation blues this week. I expected to be in a bit of a funk for a day or so, but it’s sticking around a bit longer than it should.

Is this what I get for having such a restful, carefree vacation?

We spent last week in Rosemary Beach, a gorgeous beach town in Florida’s panhandle. Some good friends of ours, with children around the same ages of Madeline and Oliver, came with us on the trip and shared the house with us. The house was huge,  three stories, and only a three minute walk to the beach and a two minute walk to the pool.  I brought my laptop but I let it sit, powered off and unopened, and eventually it became piled high with random articles of clothing. I finished one book and read another two books during the more relaxed moments of the trip. It rained many of the days, but that just gave me more time to read. I made sandcastles with my son, and I watched my daughter play on her boogie board until her shoulders were browned. I spent hours over cups of coffee – or glasses of wine or mojitos or sangria – deep in conversation with my dear friend. I didn’t exercise once, unless you count climbing the three sets of wooden stairs up and over the sand dunes each day.

It was a good week.

It’s hard to come back to my daily routine and responsibilities after such a blissful week away. I anticipated perhaps a day of getting adjusted, but not this. I don’t think it’s just post-vacation melancholy. It feels like something more.

I can feel summer dissipating.

The heat is still here. It’s not going anywhere until October, or maybe late September if we’re really lucky. It’s the sense of summer freedom that is disappearing, slipping away like a handful of sugary, white beach sand through my fingers. The fact that school starts in less than 3 weeks is a harsh reminder that the end of summer is near. Back-to-school supplies are in the stores and the meet-the-teacher date has been set. I had to order my daughter’s new school uniforms this week.

I love fall, I really do. It’s my favorite season. But I haven’t had enough summer yet.

I need more time.

Yield: Serves 6-8.

Balsamic Roasted Summer Vegetables


2 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2-3 large yellow crookneck squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss vegetables with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Spread out on even layer on a large baking sheet and sprinkle vegetables with a generous pinch or 2 of salt and 2-3 grinds of fresh ground black pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring at least once during roasting.

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13 Responses to “the fleeting summer and a recipe: balsamic roasted summer vegetables”

  1. 1
    Kiran @ — August 5, 2011 @ 1:33 am

    These looks so delish! I love summer produce. It has so much flavor that requires simple prep and minimal ingredients to enjoy. Glad you had quality time with the family 🙂

  2. 2
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — August 5, 2011 @ 1:50 am

    MJ this is a dish that I make often myself – I love it! What a beautiful post too, your writing is so evokative 🙂 And don’t we all need more time… Sigh.

  3. 3

    I know how you feel; seems I’ve had some of that same almost melancholy feeling and it’s hard to put your finger on it. The strange thing for me is that even with my kids grown, that season of school starting still impacts my mindset about the end of the summer season.

    I’ll often do much the same as you’ve done but use a grill basket outside; sometimes there is just nothing better than summer fresh produce prepared as simply as possible. Looks beautiful too!

  4. 4
    chinmayie @ love food eat — August 5, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

    It sounds like you had a great vacation! It is hard to get back to reality after such a dreamy week 😉
    This recipe looks delicious! with so many gorgeous colorful vegetables that looks like heaven!

  5. 5
    sweetsugarbelle — August 5, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

    I don’t love summer but I have the same feeling. The only consolation is that it will be soup weather. And next year I will plant a garden. Im looking forward to that. I love roasted veggies. Lookinforward to tying this one!

  6. 6
    Heidi @ Food Doodles — August 5, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

    Ah, I know what you mean about summer! I’m looking forward to fall flavors but I need some more summer! Your roasted veggies look great – I love roasting veggies when I have a lot to use up. And they’re so yummy 🙂

  7. 7
    Paula — August 6, 2011 @ 1:12 pm

    Your vegetables look amazing! I certainly understand what you are talking about regarding summer. Your vacation sounded so peaceful and relaxing. Seems of late that the only time I have to really get into a book is sadly, reserved for vacation times. I think what I took away from this post the most was that we all need to take mini vacations away from our computers and indulge ourselves with the luxury of other things in life that give us so much peace and pleasure.

    • 7.1
      Merry-Jennifer — August 7, 2011 @ 11:57 am

      You are SO right, Paula. I find that if I have little mini-breaks through the year, I’m a much happier woman.

  8. 8
    Lucy — August 8, 2011 @ 11:36 am

    Your vacation sounds so wonderful and relaxing. There is nothing like getting away with friends and family. I spent part of the weekend in the mountains with some girlfriends, and we started laughing because we all kept pulling out our phones and one was on her laptop. Then we noticed her tshirt which had one word on the front: Unplugged.

    So hard to do!

  9. 9
    Di — August 8, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

    The older I get the more I find that August brings an irrepressible sadness with it. The sun is repositioning, the days are getting shorter and the time we make for ourselves and those closest to us seems harder to find. I don’t think we like to be reminded that winter is coming; like children we try to hold onto spring and summer. I think perhaps the seasons represent a metoaphor for our lives. I suppose we should try our best to savor the moments we have today and look forward to our tomorrows! Your balsamic roasted vegetables and one of those mojitos are two things that will definitely brighten my tomorrow (or perhaps even my tonight!)

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  11. 10
    Katelyn — June 24, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

    I just want you to know I’ve made this once a week, every week all summer (in New Orleans summer started somewhere between 6 weeks and 2 months ago). It’s such a great way to use fresh, local ingredients and I just wanted you to know I’ve enjoyed your recipe!

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