A quarter of beef arrived last week, one hundred four pounds of pured pastured young cow. To celebrate we grilled a couple of strip steaks with a salt and pepper crust, and, well, holy goodness. It was so deluxe that we swore never to eat out again. The leftovers I claimed for the next day’s lunch. Steak salad, I thought happily, as we wrapped what was left and cleaned the kitchen.

The following day, I began to construct my salad from the usual garden snow peas, carrots, and greens. But even with the luscious steak it seemed so … usual. So I chopped in some homegrown Thai basil. I liked the Asian drift and whisked up a peppery vinaigrette with rice vinegar, salad oil, and just a hint of sesame oil, then tossed in a sliced peach for sweetness. It was the perfect metaphor for summer — light yet nourishing, and gone so quickly.