One of the best feelings in the world is when you get to see someone for the first time after a very long time. When Kyle and I first started dating, he had just graduated high school (I was a sophomore) and he was attending college three hours away. He would drive down to visit almost every other weekend, and those times were a complete emotional roller coaster; looking forward all week to seeing him, being so happy, and then having to say goodbye after only two days. But as they say, Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and we did end up getting married, so I guess it wasn't too bad a thing after all.
I experienced one of these good feelings this past Sunday when one of my best childhood friends, Rachel, happened to be in Austin with her husband and we got lunch together with my family. It was the weirdest thing--I hadn't seen her since I was around 8 or 9 years old! We were next door neighbors when we lived in Dallas and used to do everything together; go swimming and shopping, choreograph dances to a Britney Spears song, and one time even sold lemonade on our street corner, where absolutely no one drives by (it was still fun though!). Seeing her again reminded me of all these memories I had forgotten about, and it was so great seeing someone after such a long time. We both agreed it felt like nothing had changed.
I'm not really a mushy friendship person at all, but it was one of those moments that made me reflect on life and how fast it goes and how sometimes people are only apart of your life for a short time, so make it special!
Heirloom tomato season is one of my favorite seasons of the year. I love when August rolls around and I start seeing them at the store or at the farmer's market. The prettiest ones I ever saw were at Grand Central Market in NYC, and ever since then I have been hooked. When trying to think of how to use heirloom tomatoes, I really wanted to make them shine. The best way of eating them is simply with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh sea salt, and pepper. But if you're feeling fancy try pairing them with flavorful za'atar and labneh for an appetizer or snack that is perfectly light and summer-y. If you can't find labneh, feel free to try out a plain Greek yogurt instead.
Za'atar Roasted Tomatoes and Labneh Crostini
- 8 slices good quality bread
- 3-4 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbl. Zesty Z*
- 1/2 cup labneh
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tbl. chopped parsley
Directions: Preheat oven to 450F and cover a large sheet pan with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss sliced tomatoes with Zesty Z and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place on sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until tomatoes begin to caramelize. Set aside to cool.
Reduce oven heat to 350F. Prepare another large sheet pan and line with parchment paper. Brush both sides of the sliced bread with the rest of the olive oil, and arrange on sheet pan. Bake for 10 minutes, flipping halfway, until edges are golden brown.
Smear a dollop of labneh on each crostini, and top with 2-3 slices of tomato. Drizzle with more Zesty Z, and top with parsley. Serve!
*If you don't have Zesty Z, try mixing za'atar with equal parts olive oil!