I am sure that I’m not alone in being thrilled that the tomatoes are starting to make their appearances at the Farmers Market this summer. I’ve heard many people rave about tomato sandwiches and fresh salsa and how there’s nothing like a freshly-picked, sun-ripened tomato. I can’t say that I disagree!
However, my favorite quick recipes for enjoying fresh summer tomatoes usually involve garlic, basil, olive oil, and other Italian flavors. That’s probably no surprise as my recipes do tend to have an Italian influence running through them! Caprese Salad is by far the simplest presentation that I use regularly since it only requires slicing, arranging, and dressing. What I love about that is that it really allows the tomato to shine – and shine it does.
2 to 3 medium sized tomatoes (choose a variety of heirloom tomatoes for varied colors on the plate!)
1-2 balls of fresh mozzarella
handful of fresh basil
Salt & Pepper
Slice the tomatoes and the fresh mozzarella a little thicker than a quarter of an inch. Arrange tomatoes slices on a serving platter. Top each tomato slice with a slice of the cheese. Place a fresh basil leaf on each slice of cheese. (Alternately, you can cut the basil into ribbons and sprinkle it over the top.) Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.
Another option for enjoying this delicious combination is to place it on a bed of fresh spinach. Alternately, you could cube the tomatoes and mozzarella and toss them with mixed greens, dressing the salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Stacked between bread slices, it makes a great sandwich too!
One of the things that I think is really wonderful about the East Nashville Farmers Market is that not having cash on hand is never a problem! The lovely folks of Delvin Farms have organized an option for those who wish to use a credit card, a debit card, or even an EBT card – even for vendors who don’t take cards themselves.
Here’s how it works!
EBT – SNAP Tokens (snapfreshnashville.org) can be purchased in $1 increments. These are good for the following:
Any food item to be prepared/eaten at home
Food-producing seeds and seedlings
They cannot be used for Hot foods/food to be eaten on site or non-food items, and NO CHANGE will be given.
Debit/Credit – Tokens can be purchased in $5 increments. These are good for the following:
Change given (cash change only)
All tokens are available for purchase at the information tent in the center of the market (near the music tent). Please note that the charge will list as Delvin Farms on your billing statement.
For those of you who didn’t grow up in an Italian family, the frittata is the Italian take on an omelet. Maybe it’s familiarity, but to me, it’s the easier version. For one thing, there’s no flipping or folding involved. The best thing to me, however, is that it’s a handy recipe for using a variety of fresh produce. With the appearance of zucchini and yellow squash today in the Delvin Farms CSA share, it seems like a good time to get the frittata recipe out for a quick and fresh breakfast (or breakfast for dinner)!
You can use whatever combination of veggies (and meats) floats your boat. I like to add at least one, if not two, cheeses. I’m thrilled that eggs are available at our Farmer’s Market, and I really do think that they taste worlds better than the regular supermarket ones. In the recipe below, I like to use cheeses from Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese and Noble Springs Dairy. I love the way that the tomato basil cheddar melts and the tang that is added by the goat cheese.
1/4 c milk
1 Tb olive oil
1 small zucchini and 1 small yellow squash (about a cup when diced)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and milk until well combined. Set aside.
Chop and prepare all vegetables. Place a 10 inch (oven safe) skillet on a medium low heat. Pour in the olive oil. Add garlic and green onions and sauté until soft and fragrant. Add zucchini, squash, and spinach. Stir frequently until squash is soft and spinach wilted. Pour in eggs and scatter the cheddar. As eggs begin to cook, scrape the bottom gently toward the center of the skillet with a rubber spatula, making sure that the veggies stay even distributed as you move the cooked egg from the edges of the pan and allow more egg to cook. Once the egg is about half cooked and still very soft, drop dollops of the goat cheese onto the top and slip the skillet into the oven to finish the cooking. Let bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned, cheese is melted, and the top is firm. Let cool slightly, slice, and serve. Serves 4.
You can adjust this recipe as you please – use more or less cheese, add in some bacon, leave out the spinach, add mushrooms or tomatoes – anything goes!
With the last of the strawberries of the season, I wanted to share a favorite combination that I discovered several years ago. It sounded strange to me at first, but balsamic vinegar and strawberries play together really well!
Roasting the strawberries brings out a deeper flavor from the fruit, and the balsamic adds a complexity that is delightful. I don’t think this recipe is technically a compote, but it comes close. It’s great on ice cream and lovely on toast. I’m sure you could find other ways to use it as well. I’d love to hear about them!
Roasted Balsamic Strawberries
2 cups straberries
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 Tb sugar
Hull the strawberries, and remove the green tops. Slice the strawberries into halves or quarters. In a bowl, combine the strawberries, sugar, and balsamic vinegar. Stir to ensure even distribution. Spread the mixture on a lined cookie sheet. Put the berries into a pre-heated, 400 degree oven. Roast for 20 minutes, checking to be sure they don’t burn. Stir once midway through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm berries over ice cream!