I grew up in a small town. When I was in high school, I think most of my social activities out with friends included some conversation along the lines of “There’s nothing to do in this town, I’m so freaking tired of the same old same old!” Wow how short sighted we were back then, because now whenever I return to my old stomping grounds, all I see is beauty. Afterall, this was literally my backyard!
And just down the street a ways are the most gorgeous parks, and orchards…
So much beautiful nature, how did I not recognize it while I had so much opportunity to enjoy it??
“Nothing to do,” I said? Ha and one of my favorite activities was to hike around and be outdoors!
Gah, the silly thoughts we have when we are young, and hindsight is always 20/20 they say. That much is true at least. And every time I go back to my hometown I realize over and over again how gorgeous a place we really did grow up in.
I’m trying not to make that mistake twice. It’s a big reason why I got involved in photography – learning to recognize beauty for what it is, that is one of the most important parts of photography to me. Because of my experience learning how to use my camera, I’ve been learning how to see light. I see sunlight filtering in through my parents’ kitchen while my dad makes lemonade for my sister’s family and friends as she celebrates her wedding, and I can mentally see the magic and the moment that must be preserved:
And learning how to recognize beauty in simple things around me like a tall forest edge as seen through my camera has made me understand life a little bit more, and allowed me to extend that appreciation to so many other facets of life.
I see how even on a cloudy dreary day threatening to rain at any moment, light caresses my sister and her now husband as they share a quiet moment together in front of the trees talking to their reflections on the water:
And I realize why this has become my passion. Because I love how light articulates a story in the same way words set a scene on a page, and I love finding ways to use that light to express my own interpretations of beauty. And I don’t have to travel the world to find what means the most in life, all I have to do is go right back home to where I began. To see the people I love and care for, and participate in their lives and moments that will be cherished years from now. Because those moments, those memories, those relationships, that’s what really matters.
The simple pleasures matter too – ones like seeing an orchard full of ripe apples for the picking on a clear Autumn day – they are a gateway to some of the most complex sets of emotions, tying memories and experiences together. Those simple pleasures and beauties are the ones we most likely take for granted, and are often some of the most valuable.
And I love cooking for the same reasons – because cooking is often the start of those memories, and cooking results in the ultimate simple pleasure – an ephemeral moment of taste, whose only preservation is by cooking it again, incorporating into that taste new memories that continuously build upon the last.
And sometimes, simplicity is the beauty. Like with these crostini.
I love making crostini because you can put whatever you feel like on them, and pretty much do whatever you want. And they’re awesome if you are gluten free, because toasting bread forgives the wrongs of many a badly botched gluten free bread. For this version I used baguette, a rare chance I have to enjoy warm fresh out of the oven glutenicious baguette.
But we’ll make these with gluten free baguettes when I’m sharing with my husband (since he is the gluten-intolerant one). Or slice up some of our favorite gluten free rolls. Heck even gluten free sandwich bread, it doesn’t really matter what type of gluten free bread you use, I’ve yet to find one that didn’t do well served this way.
For this version I spread on my favorite pepper crusted chevre, added some cherry tomato slices and basil and popped them in the toaster oven (it’s too hot for the real oven). A few minutes later, my crostini were ready.
Crostini are little bites of flavorful simplicity – and in that, they too are beautiful. Don’t take that beauty for granted. Enjoy every minute of it while you can, whether it’s an amazing once in a lifetime event celebrating one of the most important days of your sister’s life, or just a momentary pop of crunchy chevre and tomato flavor in your mouth
Also submitted to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays
Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 15 min
- slices of your favorite bread, gluten free if need be
- your favorite chevre (mine has lots of black pepper)
- cherry tomatoes, sliced
- fresh basil
- good quality extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste if desired
1. On to the bread slices, spread your favorite chevre. Top with a slice of cherry tomato and a leaf of basil.
2. Bake at 375F until everything browns nicely and the smells start wafting through the room
3. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with olive oil, adding salt & pepper if desired.