Sunday, July 3, 2011

Recipe: A Couple of Summer Salads

When was the last time you went to your local farmers market? Do you know if there's one in your area?
Sally and I took a little trip down to our local farmers market and came home with some fabulous ingredients for the perfect summer lunch!

As previously mentioned, we live in the sweltering desert.  Summer meals are a little different, generally lighter, and often cold. Our farmers market trip inspired two salads that became part of a delicious lunch. Add to them a batch of Sally's delicious homemade chipotle baba ganoush (pronounced "ga-noosh"; recipe to come in a future post) with pitas or chips and you have a FABULOUS meal!

We decided to share our summer salad variations, and would love to hear about your great summer variations and meal ideas!

Ok, this salad is a version of caprese, and for those purists out there perhaps we shouldn't even call it caprese! However,  in my mind the basics of a caprese can be altered to suit your needs at the moment.
If you are looking for the wonderful traditional style caprese I suggest following Pioneer Woman's recipe.

We came up with this take on caprese as we stood in front of a table of the most beautiful array of heirloom tomatoes! We had already decided to get some cheese curd, and the tomatoes seemed like the perfect pairing.  A word to the wise - don't go to the farmers market hungry, you will spend much, much more...
Don't you just LOVE fresh local ingredients?!
We sure do!
Sally and I were smitten with a gorgeous array of fresh picked tomatoes.
Just look at those colors!

I don't know if this picture adequately reflects the beauty of this colorful bowl of deliciousness!
The little yellow pear tomatoes came from Sally's backyard.

The other ingredients:

Ok, this is where we left the traditional - fresh local cheese curd. Yes, I know it's not mozzarella, but trust me on this one - it is delicious and goes perfectly with the other ingredients! We also used some great basalmic vinegar from Trader Joe's, organic olive oil from Costco, and fresh basil from Sally's kitchen window herb garden (I definitely need to get one of those!!!). Not pictured - salt & pepper (VERY important), we used fresh ground pink himalayan salt and fresh ground black pepper. YUM!
We decided to cut the tomatoes into chunks because of the various sizes and combine everything in the bowl, then drizzle on the basalmic, and olive oil. The salt & pepper were added to our liking and that's it! Enjoy!

Tips: 1. Use LOTS of fresh basil.  2. If you don't like this salad "juicy" remove the seeds and lightly squeeze the tomatoes before chopping.  3. Try this with jalapeno cheese curd (definitely not traditional, but so tasty!)  4. This is excellent with fresh bread - you can go with a crusty loaf, or stick with homemade whole wheat.

Salad 2: Sally's masterpiece of culinary delight:

The farmers market also has a line of fresh pestos and sauces that Sally has been telling me about for weeks. Her favorite? Sun dried tomato pesto.  She wasn't kidding - this stuff is divine!  She boiled up some multi-colored veggie pasta, stirred in some of the sun dried tomato pesto, added diced cucumber, red bell pepper, tomatoes, some of the jalapeno cheese curd (yes, we are definitely cheese people!), and a bit of her homemade asian dressing. Delicious! I want some right now!!  :)

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