“I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in food….”
Hey, it’s Friday! Here is my weekend roundup. Things to cook, read, visit and enjoy this weekend.
Gather Weekly’s Weekend Roundup!
Make thisSunny day tomato dressing ! If you do nothing else this weekend. MAKE THIS DRESSING! Your weekend will be complete, seriously. I’m not kidding. Make a double batch. Slather it on grilled bread- with or without burrata-add it to quinoa or pasta or eat it straight from the jar. Use slicer tomatoes, not cherry tomatoes. I’ve made it with both types, having the tomato flesh exposed to the marinade is key. And whatever you do, once you’ve eaten all the tomatoes, do not discard the marinade. Toss it into salad, into a bloody Mary or drizzle it on scrambled eggs.
Visit Cornerstone Sonoma. Its somewhat recent collaboration with Sunset Magazine has revitalized this Wine Country gem . There is live music, an ice cream cart in the Sunset Test Kitchen and plenty of wine and food options. All ages will appreciate the gardens, download their app for a self-guided tour or book a docent lead tour. Admission is FREE!
It happens most every time I buy a bunch of herbs. I use one tablespoon for a recipe and then the rest is placed in my vegetable bin only to find itself being pushed further and further back until, one day, I notice a not so pleasant odor and discover a slimy, dark mass and wonder how long it’s been there. Sound familiar? Here are my 10 tips for using those herbs so they won’t end up in your compost bin.
It sounds super fancy but it’s really just butter with add-ins. Take a stick of softened butter and add herbs. Re-form using plastic wrap or parchment. Place in refrigerator to harden if you plan to use soon, in the freezer if not. Once firm it can be sliced and added to many dishes or placed on top of a steak, think blue cheese and shallot butter. Having a log of garlic and Italian parsley butter to slather on bread for garlic bread is a last minute wonder, or try one of my favorites. Start with one stick of unsalted butter, add one heaping tablespoon of chopped dill, one heaping tablespoon of minced shallot, a teaspoon of lemon zest, an 1/8 of a teaspoon kosher salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Pulse in a small food processor or mix by hand.
Each week I fight the urge to buy more than I need at the farmers’ market. Summer seems to be the most difficult season to curb this impulse. The array of colors, varieties and abundance are all too attractive to resist.
Colorful Peppers at Front Porch Farm
I avoid buying tomatoes about 7 months of the year, but when July arrives and farmers’ stalls are brimming with juicy colorful tomatoes, I look for ways to not only enjoy them everyday but to preserve them without the laborious and time-consuming canning method.
This week I purchased a 20lb box of dry-farmed early girl tomatoes from Tomatero Farm. The box cost $42.00 or $2.10/lb. UPDATE: As tomato yields increase prices drop. I found a 20 pound box for $20.00 at Front Porch Farm. Most vendors that grow tomatoes will sell you a box without pre-order. If you think that you’ll be buying a box that day, I recommend getting to the market as early as possible. However, it never hurts to place an order prior to your visit for larger quantities. If you shop weekly then speak to a farmer about picking up a box the following week. Or, many of the farms have websites with contact information.
Fruit is at its peak of ripeness, this means that the berries you bought when they first arrived at the market a month or two ago could last several days. Now, however they are too juicy to last as long. Peak season berries contain a lot of moisture, its very worst enemy because it creates mold. I find the only way to avoid losing berries to mold is to purchase less more often. Or, you could try this method.
Remember those amazing golden raspberries I posted a while back? Well, there is a new kid in town, black raspberries. I ate an entire pint looking for the perfect description, I need another pint.
Although some look as if they have mold, they do not. It’s the natural fuzz of the fruit. They taste like candy, but not super sweet. The nutritional value of these fruits is off the charts, trust me. The season of golden and black raspberries is a bit shorter than that of the red variety. If you’re lucky to find them, buy them, eat them, freeze them, enjoy them.
What is The SLOW Report? As a faithful farmers market shopper I was eager to read Carlo Petrini’s Slow Food Revolution in 2006. While the book lacks the salacious page-turning material of a summer poolside read, it does detail the history of how the SLOW FOOD movement was born. I’ve embraced the slow food way of life and have put my own spin on what SLOW food means to me, Seasonal, Local Organic Weekly, here is this weeks report.
It’s feeling like a whole lotta summer here in Northern California. The market is alive with people and the offerings are diverse and plentiful. The first tomatoes, corn and figs were mostly gone by 11 AM. If you are looking to grab the first taste of summer get to your local market early!
In California, produce arrives earlier than other parts of the country. If you live outside of California, chances are you’ll be finding the same soon. Asparagus and artichokes are on their way out so enjoy them while you can. Here is what I’m finding at the market now.
Aprils, Plums and Lemon Verbena (such an amazing fragrance!) from Full Belly Farm, Albion Strawberries from Tomatero Farm and Berries (boysenberries blackberries, red and golden raspberries) from Ortiz Farm